Our Trip to Northland & Coromandel, New Zealand


Next in our itinerary for our New Zealand trip in the North Island is Paihia and a day trip to Far North, Cape Reinga. This is the place where you will experience the unique side of New Zealand.

Paihia in the Bay of Islands is one quaint seaside village that attracts lots of tourists and locals. This is the hub for all New Zealand tours and cruises in the region. We spend two days here and it is nice just driving around in our hired car while enjoying the pristine beaches and clear blue waters in the North Island.

What is memorable for us in the Northland was our day trip (12 hours!) to the Far North, Cape Reinga on a 4×4 wheeler which was converted from a military truck! My husband and myself agree that this is the best of natural New Zealand in the North Island.

dune rider excursion

Besides the Kauri Forests, the highlights of our New Zealand trip in the North Island are the Te Paki sand dunes and the long flat stretch beautiful coastline of Ninety Mile Beach of the North Island. This is a ‘must-do’ and ‘must-see’ if you get a chance to visit the Bay of Islands and the Far North.


The sand-boarding experience at the Te Paki sand dunes is something we enjoyed thoroughly. I must warn you that it is an aerobic activity! One word of caution: private cars are not allowed on 90mile beach unless you plan to get a tow truck to your rescue!


Speaking of beaches, Coromandel, North Island has lots to offer. Compared to the Northland, the coastline in Coromandel is more rustic and remote, complemented with the rugged forests. This is the rugged coast of the North Island. Due to time factor for our New Zealand holidays, we only managed to visit Hahei and Hot Water Beach.


If you are in this area, please don’t miss the gorgeous Cathedral Cove. We could only catch a glimpse of it as it is challenging taking the full trail with Clayton on our backs!

cathedral cove walk

Cathedral Cove is easily accessible by walkway from Hahei. Bring a bottle of water with you if you are doing the walk. You do need few days to see and do more here in the Coromandel if time permits for your New Zealand holiday. In my opinion, it is more local, less touristy, more untouched.

And yes – your trip to Hahei is not complete if you haven’t experience the hot spring pool at The Hot Water Beach.

hot-water beach at hahei

Alex is having fun in his hot spring pool!

The Hot Water Beach is a natural hot water spa two hours either side of low tide. You can dig your own spot and soak yourself in the hot spring pool.


You may want to check out the low tide times with the reception of your stay or any tourist information centre in the area.


If you are looking for a nice place to eat, look no further. The Hot Wave Café, situated a few minutes walk to Hot Water Beach serves nice lunches. You even get live entertainment on Sundays. It’s a popular place with the locals.

There are probably more dining options in Whitianga, especially along the beachfront. To get here from Hahei, the quickest way is to board a ferry which only takes 10 minutes. It’s a lot further if you drive.

We had a very nice dinner at The Fireplace, a great waterfront restaurant with a cosy courtyard, fresh seafood, unique selections of wood-fired pizzas and most of all, friendly service.

So you can see how we truly enjoyed Northland and Coromandel during the short time in the North Island during our holiday in New Zealand. Read our later posts for more reports of our New Zealand trip.

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