After missing out on Anzac weekend and the Easter holidays, Northlanders will finally have the opportunity to hit the road as Queen's Birthday brings us the first long weekend since the domestic travel ban has been lifted.
And Northland tourism operators are excited to open their doors to adventurous Kiwis yearning for a change of scenery after being stuck at home for weeks.
For those who want to breathe some fresh air and move those tired muscles from sitting at home all day, Department of Conservation encourages travellers to venture out on some of the many walks through Northland's beautiful nature.
DoC spokesperson Abigail Monteith said all walks have now reopened:
"Northland has many special conservation areas – including historical places like Ruapekapeka, marine like Poor Knights and walks to suit all ages and abilities – we would encourage people to make the most of the long weekend by safely looking at nature-based activities in Northland.
"Campgrounds in Northland are open and the capacity we are taking increased [on Friday] in line with the Covid-19 information from the Government. Some campgrounds have availability," Monteith said.
"If the weather is wet, we have great nature-based indoor activities on the DoC website as well."
With all the fun to be had outside, the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) issued a warning as Kiwis enjoy their first weekend outside.
Historically, Queen's Birthday weekend sees a spike in tramping accidents. Three times as many search and rescues and injuries happen compared to a normal weekend. Some can be attributed to more people going out but that is not the only contributing factor.
"Over a long weekend we see changes in participation patterns, people explore new places, they go a little further or a little harder, it's seen as an opportunity to extend yourself and tick off that more challenging trip," MSC's Mike Daisley said.
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"We've been cooped up inside for nearly two months, a lot has changed in that time, winter is here, the days are shorter, and our fitness levels may have suffered."
Daisley urged those going on trips to add extra time into their planning and preparation.
"If you're going to a new area, or trying something different - perhaps a longer trip or your first overnighter, allow extra time to plan things out. Pack an extra warm layer, ensure you've shared your trip plans, check the weather forecast and understand what that'll mean to you; all those things you should normally be doing but may be a little rusty on seeing as we've been out of the hills for so long."
There is some good news for people without cars or those you can't be bothered driving; InterCity is sending buses out on the road again.
Services are limited and seating capacity reduced, but the connection between Auckland, Whangārei, Paihia and Kerikeri is running again.
Lesley Ashcroft, Whangārei District Council customer service manager, said bus services are hugely important to Whangārei.
"We see people from the community using the bus regularly; students who commute to Auckland, generally people who don't have a car, but also many tourists."
Ashcroft said several customers had come into Te Manawa/The Hub asking when the buses would run again.
She was hoping that under alert level 1 the bus service would go back to its normal capacity.
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Meanwhile, tourist operators and hospitality providers have signalled their reopening – some at full, some at limited capacity – under the current Covid-19 regulations and welcome domestic travellers to enjoy their services.
The Kauri Museum at the west coast village of Matakohe is the biggest indoor attraction in the region with the largest collection of kauri gum in the world.
General manager Tracey Wedge said gum polisher Thelma Nash was in residence and people could watch her at work. Wedge also pointed at their collection of Māori taonga collected by Andrew Rintoul in the late 19th and early 20th.
Further north along the west coast, Hokianga i-Site recommends the local eateries, one of its many local walks, fishing along the harbour site or the Saturday market in Opononi.
On the remote Karikari Peninsula, Carrington Estate is back in full swing offering accommodation, golfing, wine tasting, swimming and more.
Receptionist Tracey Waters said it felt good to be back in business and the books for June looked good so far.
Far North tourism operators Harrisons Cape Runners can finally offer their Cape Reinga tours in their Kiwi engineered, four-wheel-drive buses again.
Owner Cheryl Harrison said they were running several parallel businesses, but it was good to take people out again and show them the true Far North. She would miss having the weekends off as they are back to working seven days a week.
She said they had many "hard-case drivers who have plenty of stories to tell" while taking visitors along 90 Mile Beach to the very top of Northland.
Meanwhile, mountain bikers are expected to flock to the Bay of Islands this weekend when Waitangi Mountain Bike Park opens its longest trail yet, the 3.2km Ngaawarinui/The Big Easy. The gently undulating grade 2 loop has an all-weather surface and some simple challenges ideal for riders still getting to grips with the sport.
One of Kerikeri's most popular weekend attractions, the Old Packhouse Market on Kerikeri Rd, is reopening today but with a limit of 100 customers at any one time.
Owner Judy Hyland expected about 40 stalls today, with plenty of food choices in particular, and 30 on Sunday.
Ōhaeawai musician Jane Tane is performing today and Kerikeri trio NostalJam will bring their unique jazz-blues sound to Sunday's market. The market runs until 1.30pm today and 9-1.30pm on Sunday.
Chief executive of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Greg McManus, said all museums, attractions and cultural performances were operating again.
"The highlight at the moment would be our new museum, Te Rau Aroha, which opened this year and not many people would have seen yet. It's a nice time to visit too because it's nice and quiet without all the international tourists."
Further south in Kaipara, the Mangawhai Tavern had a busy couple of weeks since they started firing up their lunch and evening kitchen stoves again, and their reopened the bar last week.
General manager Justin Howse said the tavern was known for its modern food pub and selection of craft beers and was glad to welcome locals and people outside the region alike.
He said the tavern as well as had no problems with adjusting to the Covid-19 regulations since its reopening, the only they were missing out on at the moment was music gigs.
Howse also pointed out that besides the tavern, Mangawhai had many exceptional eateries that are worth a visit.
For those who need some movement after a filling meal in town, the Mangawhai Activity Zone offers plenty to do with a large skatepark, playground, flying fox, sports fields, and bike tracks.
And the Saturday market where locals sell an array of foods from artisan cheese and olive oils, to craft and sweets, is operating again.