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The North Island’s Northland is, unsurprisingly, the most northerly bit of New Zealand. It’s also the bit with some of the best weather, and some of the best beaches. There are plenty of pristine and perfectly empty beaches here, but also plenty which have been well developed to cater to families on holidays or people who’re looking for some watery thrills and spills. The best places to stay in Northland range from family beach resorts to remote lodges in the lushly green and beautiful interior.
The east coast of Northland has been a popular holiday destination for a long time, but the west coast is just starting to be appreciated. On this side you’ll find the spectacular ancient Tane Mahuta kauri tree forests, lining the conveniently named Kauri Coast. There isn’t a lot here apart from breathtaking coastal scenery and vast trees with trunks measuring eight metres around. The west coast also has the Koutu and Wairere Boulders, a collection of vast basalt boulders, and the sand dunes of Hokianga.
In the far north of Northland you’ll find the beautiful the Bay of Islands, a superb turquoise bay, dotted with around 150 islands, the vast majority of them undeveloped and uninhabited. These protected waters are extremely important historically, being both the first place the M?oris settled, and the first place the British did. There are a number of settlements in or on the bay, but the best places to stay in the Bay of Islands seem to be largely grouped around historic Russell or unspoiled and beach-y Paihia.
There are plenty of nice townships and little ports along both coasts, but the centres are small, and they’re more for refuelling and passing through. Though there are lots of interesting little museums and interesting local histories to uncover as well as spectacular scenery to be admired.
As with any popular beach destinations, the best places to stay in Northland can get exceptionally busy during the peak holiday periods, so get organised and book early.
For a remote escape
- The Wai Hou Oma Lodge is a luxury lodge set in seven acres of gardens and orchards, just minutes from the Kai Iwi Lakes, a haven for watersports enthusiasts. There are four separate lodges, each sleeping up to six people, and with kitchen and dining facilities. But breakfast is included and you can also have your meals prepared onsite for you.
- The Paradise View Coastal Lodge & Retreat has just two options for accommodation, the luxurious lodge itself, which sleeps up to six and the Keeper’s Cottage, which sleeps just two. There’s also full kitchen and dining facilities and an in-house chef to make sure all your meals are special There’s also a spa and outdoor saltwater pool.
- At the very top of Northland is the Huntaway Lodge, a luxurious lodge with views of the Pacific, and an outdoor spa and landscaped gardens. There’s an eco-element to the accommodation with ethically sourced food and local, organic toiletries etc..
- The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs offers sheer luxury throughout, gourmet dining, three private beaches, championship golf course, day spa and panoramic views. Come here for a special treat!
Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Northland or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Alternatively you can widen your seach by checking out all our North Island recommendations.
Best Hotels in Northland
Wai Hou Oma Lodge 5 rooms from $115Dargaville, Northland
Luxury lodge set in 7 acres of gardens and orchards only minutes from water sport haven Kai Iwi Lakes. Four separate lodges sleeping up to 6 people, with kitchen and dining facilities. Breakfast included, and additional meals prepared with fresh produce such as vegetables grown on site.Great walks - 25 minutes to Ripiro Beach, NZs longest beachSights nearby - Matakohe Museum, Waipoua ForestLocal markets - Good for local colour.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Huntaway Lodge from $262Northland
Contemporary, bright, comfortable luxury Lodge with Pacific Ocean views to the Cavalli Islands. Food ethically sourced, seasonal and local, organic toiletries and commitment to sustainable practices. With outdoor spa pool and landscaped gardens. Great for a country escape.Views - Out to Pacific Ocean as far as Cavalli IslandsBirdwatching - Including native owl and tuiSwimming Pool - Outdoor infinity spa poolGreat walks - Good for walkers.
Paradise View Coastal Lodge & Retreat from $952Northland
Luxury Lodge sleeping six people and separate Keeper's Cottage sleeping two, with full kitchen, dining and laundry facilities. In house chef prepares tailored menus using fresh ingredients grown on five acre property. With spa and outdoor salt water pool. Perfect for families and groups.Birdwatching - Species in area include dotterel, variable oystercatcher, reef heron and grey heronsGreat walks - Waipu Heritage Trail, Robert Hastie WalkwayOutstanding location - In Brynderwyn Hills overlooking Bream BaySwimming Pool - Salt water, ecologically friendly
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs 23 rooms from $1138Northland
Country manor turned luxury hotel with spacious suites, walk in wardrobes, fireplaces and panoramic Pacific Ocean views. Pampering day spa in native Totara forest, tennis courts, infinity pool, private beaches and championship golf course. Ideal for a romantic getaway and local exploring.Views - 180 degree views of Pacific Ocean including Cape Brett and offshore Cavalli IslandsSpa - Day spa set in native Totara forestOn the beach - Three private beachesGreat walks - Guided nature walksRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith