Northland is New Zealand's farthest north region, stretching from Auckland to Cape Reinga's lighthouse. The area is a sporting person's paradise, unspoilt, dramatic, beautiful and washed by reasonably warm Pacific waters on the east side and the Tasman Sea on the west. The Bay of Islands is a 16 km (10 miles) inlet on the east coast that offers excellent protection against storms and high seas, making it one of New Zealand's prime marine sports centres, well, apart from surfing.
Getting used to a kite on a Bay of Islands beach.
Popular sporting activities in Northland range from kayaking (very protected waters and lots of interesting coves), kite surfing (steady winds and soft sand to cushion mistakes), walking, chartered sailing on yachts, motor cruisers and dinghies, scuba diving and snorkelling (no dangerous predators), sports fishing and in summertime just plain old swimming (with dolphins if you're lucky).
Rental kayaks with camping gear included.
Dolphin cruising in the Bay of Islands.
Russell, one of the Bay of Islands' leading tourist destinations.
Combining a calm charm with a safe harbour, Russell also sports a colourful history ranging from from fighting with Maori residents in the 19thC, European convicts and a downhill period during which it became known as the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific.