Cape Reinga , Northland - The lighthouse at Cape Reinga marks the extreme North Western point of New Zealand  Destination Northland

Twin Coast Discovery Highway

The Twin Coast Discovery Highway leads you on a circular route through the most beautiful areas of Northland.

Best completed over a number of days, the route begins in Auckland and passes through the Bay of Islands, up to the sub-tropical far north, before heading back down the enchanting west coast.


Heading north from Auckland the route takes you to the popular seaside location of Orewa. The golden sandy beaches and nearby Waiwera thermal reserve have attracted holiday-goers to this location for decades.

Whangarei & Tutukaka

Whangarei is Northland’s major centre. Visit art galleries and working craft studios, enjoy beautiful native bush or head for the ocean. North of Whangarei, walk amongst sub-tropical rainforests teeming with native birdlife or visit Tutukaka - a coastal retreat best known for its proximity to the Poor Knights Islands diving spot.

Bay of Islands

Dive, snorkel, relax or swim with dolphins in the beautiful Bay of Islands. One of the top visitor spots, the Bay of Islands is also rich in history. Visit historic Russell & Waitangi; explore the Stone Store in Kerikeri; stop in Paihia for cafes, art and marine activities.

Kaitaia & Northland

Heading inland from the Bay of Islands you cross over the centre of the far north, through some heavily forested areas, and emerge on the west coast at Kaitaia. At Kaitaia you can head north up Ninety Mile Beach, or turn south to Hokianga and the Kauri Coast.

Hokianga & Waipoua

Magical Hokianga is steeped in Maori tradition. A highlight is Waipoua Forest, home of the tallest Kauri tree in the world – Tane Mahuta. Beautiful Hokianga Harbour is also worth a visit – idyllic, uncrowded and serene, it’s a little slice of heaven.

Kauri Coast

Heading south you encounter the Kauri Coast. The main centre, Dargaville, has great beaches and a fascinating museum recounting the area's milling and Kauri gum-digging heritage. From Dargaville, the highway heads inland again, to rejoin the east-coast route just south of Whangarei.

 Northern Bays of Auckland  © Tourism Auckland


 Stunning Sandy Bay, Tutukaka.  Martin Ward, Poor Knights Divers



 Kerikeri Inlet, Northland  Destination Northland


The Poor Knights Islands - one of the world's great dive spots. Destination Northland



 Hokianga Sand Dunes, Northland, New Zealand.  Destination Northland


 Dargaville, Northland, New Zealand  Tourism Northland


Route Map

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Route Facts

  • Approx. 200kms long
  • Circular route
  • Start: Auckland
  • End: Auckland
  • History, scenery, coastline, nature, culture


Other Touring Routes