Waitangi is the birthplace of New Zealand. It’s where the Treaty of Waitangi, the nation’s founding document, was signed in 1840. Waitangi is also the site of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which you can visit in this region.
The region is rich in Māori culture. Northland is where Kupe, the Māori explorer, first arrived on a canoe 800 years ago and discovered the country. On the southern shores of Doubtless Bay at Tāipa, you can observe the Kupe memorial, which commemorates the location thought to be the first place he landed in New Zealand. Today, about 30% of the population are Māori.
Beside its historical significance, Northland is known for its varied and stunning scenery, which includes diverse coastlines, beaches, rolling hills, and kauri forests. Northland is warm and humid, sometimes referred to as ‘the winterless North’.
To Northland’s west is the aquamarine Tasman Sea, and east is the shimmering Pacific Ocean. Northland’s beautiful natural landscapes feature waterfalls, estuaries, rivers, lakes, and forests. The Waipoua Forest on the region’s northwest coast holds the biggest and best preserved remains of the ancient kauri forests. Tāne Mahuta, New Zealand’s largest known tree lives in this forest, just south of the Hokianga Harbour.
On Northland’s west coastline, you’ll see rugged, unsoiled coastline, and sand dunes. On the west coast, there are many shipwreck sites just waiting to be explored by adventurous divers. On the east coast, you’ll find sheltered bays, peninsulas, and harbours. Both coastlines have long sandy beaches, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
Surrounded by so much inviting water, it’s no wonder Northland is beloved place to go swimming, diving, surfing, sailing, boating, and fishing. In the Bay of Islands on the region’s east coast you can watch the playful dolphins that flock to the bay’s warm and sheltered coastal waters.
Northland Regional Council makes sure water-lovers know where they can swim. They monitor a total of 60 swimming spots in this region, including 46 coastal beaches, 3 lakes, and 11 rivers.
The spectacular Whangarei Falls are one of the best-loved landmarks in Whangarei. The base of the falls is known as a healing area and was once used for washing the wounded and dead. Many native birds and animals live in the area, and some of the kauri trees here are over 500 years old.
From its rich Māori history and culture to its bounteous opportunities to enjoy the water, there’s a lot to celebrate about Northland, one of New Zealand’s most breathtaking regions.
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