Northland: Four of the best northern highlights

By Gill South

If the Far North is on your list of places to go, here are a few suggestions to add a bit more excitement to your break, including dolphins, spirits and the deep blue sea.

The Hole in the Rock is always a popular attraction. Photo / Chris McLennan
The Hole in the Rock is always a popular attraction. Photo / Chris McLennan

1. Carino Sailing and Dolphin Adventures - Ph (09) 4028040

This small, family-run, business has been operating since 1995 and these people know and love their dolphins. The day-long sailing adventure includes the chance to swim with dolphins, an island stop-over on a beautiful unspoiled beach, safe, easy snorkelling and pleasant island walking. There is also the option of a barbecue lunch. Departing from Russell or Paihia, this is a day trip you'll remember forever.

2. Bay of Islands Overnight Cruise - Ph 0800 653 339

Experience the wonders and joys of the Bay of Islands, with an overnight cruise on Ipipiri, the largest cruising ship permanently based in New Zealand.

Do as much or as little as you like while on board, try snorkelling or kayaking in the crystal clear waters, relaxing with a cool drink as the sun sets. You accommodation for the night is one of 30 ocean-view cabins all with ensuites. The overnight cruise includes a buffet dinner and a country breakfast. A wonderful rest for the weary.

3. Legend Charters - Ph (09) 403 7520

Hamish Faire is said to be one of the finest fishing charter operators in Northland. His vessel, Legend, is a 10-metre Wavecrusher Sportfisher with 12 rod holders, two live bait tanks, and all the electronic mod cons and gear a happy angler could hope for. Plus the boat's really comfortable with bathroom facilities, galley kitchen and saloon. Hamish grew up in Russell, loves diving and fishing and knows the area better than most so, if you if you want to dive for crays, catch a kingi or simply be on the sea, Hamish is your man. This is the next best thing to owning your own boat.

4. Visit Cape Reinga

What the heck, you've travelled a fair old way already, why not make the trek to Cape Reinga to see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean? 100km north of Kaitaia, Reinga is Maori for underworld and, according to legend, is the place the spirits depart the land of the living and return to their ancestral home of Hawaiki. This spot is wild, rugged and magnificently scenic, from the sweet little lighthouse, to the roiling sea; it's no surprise Cape Reinga made it on to the AA's 101 must-do sights in New Zealand.

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