Driver Information
New Zealand ItinerariesTravel distance is approximately 71kms (44 miles).
Allow at least 1 hour drive time (not including stops).
Part of the Twin Coast Discovery Highway.

After an enjoyable stay in the resort town of Paihia exploring the Bay of Islands, it’s time to continue the journey and head towards the subtropical city of Whangarei.

Your short travel distance for the day gives you plenty of time to enjoy the delightful scenery and small settlements between Paihia and Whangarei.

Some notable stops along the route to Whangarei include:

Located just before Kawakawa is Waiomio, home to the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and limestone formations. The detour takes approximately 40 minutes and is a great place to discover stalactites, glow worms and Maori history.

Most famous for its public toilets, this is one of the only opportunities you will have for a ‘rest stop’ in toilets designed by the world-renowned artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser! The Bay of Island Vintage Railway travels between Kawakawa and Opua every day and is a lovely journey that takes 45 minutes each way and is worth a detour in your travel plans.

The Hikurangi Historical Museum offers a refreshing break in your drive and provides an insight into the personal lives of miners and their families. Consisting of 4 buildings, the Old Town Board Office building includes a collection of mining and town memorabilia while the Courthouse features wedding, sports, school plus war photos and displays. The jail has photos and clothes of police and fire service and the Wash-House gives you an insight into how washing was done when the copper had to be lit!

Located on SH 1 just north of Hikurangi, the Waro Limestone Scenic Reserve walk takes approximately 20 minutes through a 7.5 hectare reserve. Walk through open grass land around spectacular limestone formations. Interpretation signs explain the formation of the landscape, past threats to the landscape such as a local quarry, and some of the past uses by iwi. Considered one of the most outstanding examples of a limestone landscape in Northland, this is well worth a visit.

Located on the edge of a beautiful harbour, Whangarei has a metropolitan touch thanks to the Quayside Town Basin complex, which is where you can enjoy top restaurants, stylish cafes, art galleries and much more. An over-night stay is advised with a great choice of accommodation and activities to satisfy everyone!

Highly recommended Whangarei tourist attractions include…

WHANGAREI FALLS – Considered one of the most picturesque waterfalls in New Zealand, the falls is a popular place for swimming in the summer or enjoying the many walking tracks amidst the native bush along with sheltered picnic areas.

MOUNT PARIHAKA – For superb panoramic views of Whangarei city and harbour tackle the summit of Mount Parihaka. Towering 242 metres above the city, the summit can be reached by road or for the more enthusiastic, by walkway!

CLAPHAM’S CLOCKS – Welcome to the largest clock collection in the southern hemisphere. With more than 1500 timepieces this is a unique shop to pop into when you are walking around the central Quayside Town Basin.

WHANGAREI MUSEUM & KIWI HOUSE – The Museum Exhibition Centre showcases special collections and exhibitions, including Early settler collections. The Kiwi House transforms day into night so you can view New Zealand’s most famous native bird, the Kiwi. Guided tours available.

THE POOR KNIGHTS ISLANDS MARINE RESERVE – Is one of the most renowned dive locations in New Zealand, in fact, it is considered one of the worlds top dive locations and is a ‘must do’ for any dive enthusiast. Further recreational diving is available on the artificial reefs created off Tutukaka by the sunken frigates Tui and Waikato.

WHANGAREI HEADS – Take a picturesque short drive past bays and beaches of Whangarei Harbour. This is a wonderful area to enjoy a sunshine day while taking part in many types of recreation and water sports. Smugglers Cove is a remote and beautiful white sandy beach fringed with pohutukawa trees – the perfect spot for a picnic.

New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries

Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!

  • 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
  • 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
  • 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
  • 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
  • 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland