Northland's Twin Coast Discovery Touring Route is going to be even easier for visitors and locals alike to traverse this summer with the launch of a new free app.

Visitors to Northland can explore some historic gems on the Twin Coast route by downloading Heritage New Zealand's free Path to Nationhood app for Apple and Android devices.

The Twin Coast Discovery Tour - one of the Path to Nationhood's suite of six tours - takes visitors to historic points of interest on the touring route, telling some of the fascinating stories from New Zealand's early history before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"The Twin Coast Discovery Touring Route enables people to explore some of the most historic parts of New Zealand - including the Hokianga, the Bay of Islands and the Far North - while listening to a range of fascinating stories associated with some of the most interesting people and places of our pre-Treaty history," Heritage New Zealand's Northland manager, Bill Edwards, said.


"We're talking stories about mana, kidnappings, shootings, rough justice, mistaken identity, high politics, missionaries, and even New Zealand's first dairy farmer - and the great thing is they're all on the Twin Coast Discovery Touring Route."

As well as big moments in our history - like the signing of He Whakaputanga (the Declaration of Independence) and the 1831 letter to King William IV signed by 13 rangatira - the tours also tell stories of lesser known people and events.

"The tours are a really great collection of remarkable stories that cleverly convey a sense of wild frontier, which was the reality of life in New Zealand at that time," Mr Edwards said.

"They make this incredible period of our history come alive, and tell these stories in an engaging and accessible way. Many of the stories centre around some of our Heritage Destinations in Northland, so people can actually visit places where many of these people lived, and events took place."

Written and researched by former Heritage New Zealand Northland staff member Stuart Park, with Professor Manuka Henare and his team at the University of Auckland School of Business providing a Maori cultural and historical perspective, the tours incorporate audio using actors like Tui Ruwhiu and Michael Hurst, as well as sound effects that bring the stories to life.

"The Twin Coast Discovery Touring Route is a wonderful roadway in its own right, incorporating some truly stunning Northland scenery," said Bill.

"The app tours provide that additional bit of 'seasoning' that can help transform a pleasant road trip into an engaging and memorable encounter with New Zealand's earliest historic places."

-For a free download of the Path to Nationhood suite of Northland tours (for Android and Apple devices) visit or search for Heritage Trails through your online app store.