Getting to Northland
Auckland is the main international gateway for travel to Northland. Connecting services from Auckland to Northland are available on regular scheduled flights or by charter operators.
Air New Zealand has regular domestic flights into Whangarei, Kerikeri (Bay of Islands) and Kaitaia; Salt Air connects to Auckland via the city’s North Shore and there are charter operators who can bring you here from anywhere in New Zealand by helicopter or fixed wing aircraft.
Regular Scheduled Flights
Air New Zealand's regular daily flights are available with Air New Zealand Link. For Reservations call 09 357 3000.
Salt Air Bay of Islands offer scheduled services from Auckland's North Shore to Whangarei and Kerikeri. The fare includes private shuttle transfer to and from the Auckland CBD (Britomart Centre) in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Special fares are available each way on all flights with carry-on luggage only.
• Salt Air Bay of Islands
Enquiries ph 09 402 8338
• Mountain Air
Enquiries ph 09 256 7025
• Skylink Air Charter Specialists
Enquiries ph 09 275 5885
• Skywork Helicopters Ltd
Enquiries ph 09 422 7018
There are so many interesting little townships and spectacular coastal vistas to while away the journey – so if you’re driving to Northland remember to allow plenty of time.
In total Northland has 6500kms of roads and yes, we drive on the left. State Highway 1 is the main artery through the region but for those of you with more time the slower paced Twin Coast Discovery Highway is Northland's scenic touring route. At about 800km long the touring route starts and finishes in Auckland and gives you access to all the region has to offer by way of a scenic, relaxing drive. Additional tourist drives join the Highway to extend the scenic journey through Northland. One initiative for travellers to the Northland region is 'On the road recycling'
We’ve put together some approximate driving times and distances along the Twin Coast Discovery Highway to help you plan your trip. Don’t forget there’s plenty to see and experience along the way so allow extra time to stop and take it all in. It pays to allow some time for peak traffic periods getting in and out of Auckland during the busy holiday season and on the weekends. The Northern Gateway Toll Road can cut 15 minutes from your journey to the Northland region but you’ll need to organise payment of the toll – you have 3 days after your trip or you can pay in advance. And if you feel you need a break from driving call in at one of the 11 road side stops for a free coffee hosted by the Northland Road Safety Association and Coffee Brake.
Driving Times (courtesy Google maps)
Twin Coast Discovery Highway Time Distance in km/miles
Auckland to Wellsford via SH1 1 hour 77km/48miles
Wellsford to Waipu via Mangawhai 1 hour 53km/33miles
Wellsford to Matakohe 45 min 54km/34miles
Matakohe to Dargaville 40 min 44km/27miles
Dargaville to Waipoua Forest 45 min 57km/35miles
Tane Mahuta to Omapere 25 min 24km/15miles
Omapere to Rawene 25 min 24km/15miles
Rawene to Kohukohu (by Hokianga vehicle ferry) 15 min Ferry
Kohukohu to Kaitaia via Mangamuka Bridge and SH1 1 hour 62km/38miles
Kaitaia to Mangonui 35 min 37km/24miles
Mangonui to Kerikeri 50 min 60km/38miles
Kerikeri to Paihia 25 min 25km/15miles
Paihia to Whangarei direct 1 hour 70km/44miles
Paihia to Whangarei via Hikurangi & Tutukaka Coastal route 2 hours 118km/73miles
Whangarei to Wellsford (via Waipu and Mangawhai) 1 hour 49 mins 94km/58miles
Alternative Tourist Drives (alternative routes)
Whangarei to Dargaville via SH14 1 hour 58km/36miles
Russell to Whangarei via Oakura coastal route 1 hour 30 min 84km/52miles
Paihia to Omapere via Kaikohe 1 hour 20 min 94km/58miles
Kohukohu to Kaitaia (via Ahipara) 1 hour 15 mins 71km/44miles
Kaikohe to Dargaville via Mangakahia Rd 1 hour 15 mins 81km/50miles
Matauri Bay and Whangaroa coastal loop road 1 hour 37km/23miles
Kaitaia to Cape Reinga ONE WAY 1 hour 45min 111km/70miles
Northern Gateway Toll Road
There is a choice of 3 routes into the Northland region:
• State Highway 17 through Orewa and the Hibiscus Coast.
• State Highway 16 through Helensville.
• The Northern Gateway Toll Road, an extension of State Highway 1, with a one-way toll of $2.20 for cars & motorbikes and $4.40 for heavy vehicles (more than 3.5 tonnes).
The Northern Gateway Toll Road allows easier access, less congestion and reduced travelling times when travelling to the Northland region from Auckland.
The road is mostly four-lane, features clearer sight lines, smoother turns and reduced road gradients, making for a safer drive. The State Highway 1 route between Orewa and Puhoi, is very picturesque but contains winding, narrow sections of road.
There are a variety of ways to pay the toll, one of which is electronic tolling meaning travellers can pay at their convenience rather than interrupting their journey. Tolls can be paid before you travel and can be paid up to 5 days after your trip is taken. Failure to pay on time will result in you receiving a toll payment notice which contains a $4.90 administration charge on top of your tolls.
The following companies provide regular services to and from the Northland region:
• GREAT SIGHTS Reservations ph 09 375 4700
• INTERCITY COACHLINES Reservations ph 09 913 6100
• KIWI EXPERIENCE SERVICES Reservations ph 09 366 9830
• MAGIC TRAVELLERS NETWORK Reservations ph 09 358 5600
• NAKED BUS COMPANY ph 0900 62533
Whether by cruise ship or your own yacht, official Ports of Entry offering NZ Customs and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) services for legal entry into New Zealand via the Northland region are available at Port Opua and the Port of Whangarei.
If you are entering NZ and Northland by sea in your own vessel you can save yourself some time by arranging for Customs and MAF inspectors to meet you on arrival. Contact VHF Frequency 16 to reach Maritime Radio 48 hours prior to arrival.
For passengers on cruise ships, arrangements will be made for you so you can enjoy your time ashore. Be sure to have valid passports and relevant visas as required by NZ Immigration.