Charge Up and Explore: An Electric Vehicle Road Trip Guide to Northland NZ
Welcome to Northland, a stunning region in New Zealand. This beautiful and culturally rich area boasts stunning coastlines, white-sand beaches, subtropical forests, and lively towns. Taking an EV road trip through Northland offers the perfect way to experience this awesome region's top attractions while minimising your environmental impact.
This Northland EV road trip guide will cover some of the best stops to make along the way, including the world-famous Hole in the Rock cruise, Russell's historic charm, boutique accommodation options, and remote island explorations. We'll also outline the locations of Northland's EV charging stations so you can easily plan where to repower your vehicle.
Read on for all you need to know to undertake an electrifying and eco-friendly driving itinerary through some of the best that Northland has to offer.
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit Northland is during the warmer months from late spring to early autumn, which falls between March and April. During this time, the temperatures are warmer, and the days are longer making it the perfect time to enjoy those outdoor activities. It's worth noting that Northland is a popular tourist destination, and as such, the peak summer months can be quite busy. If you prefer quieter surroundings, visiting in the early spring season (September) and late autumn (May) might be a better option for you.
The best way to start your Northland EV road trip is to fly into Auckland Airport where you can pick up your electric vehicle. Consider renting from Sixt who offer a range of EVs including the Polestar 2 that we opted for on this trip.
Driving an EV makes road trips in Northland easy and worry-free thanks to the numerous charging stations available along the way. With planning and the use of the Chargenet app, you'll have no issues with range anxiety.
The main routes from Auckland to Paihia, Kerikeri, and Russell have several charging locations conveniently located along the way. Here are some of the charging stations available:
Your EV road trip along the stunning coastal roads and forests of Northland will be smooth, scenic, and sustainable.
Where to stay:
There are different accommodation options to suit every budget and preference in Northland. From the luxury Scenic Hotel in Paihia to a boutique stay at Lodge 9 in Tutukaka to the gorgeous unique eco-friendly Wild Forest Estate. We’d rate this retreat in the top 5 stays in the country if the bush, sound of birds and tranquillity is something you wish.
Camping grounds are also a great option for budget travellers, and one of our favourites that we’d highly recommend is the TOP 10 site in Russell - with cool glamping tents, it’s camping with a little bit of luxury. Another must-visit has to be the Kai Iwi Lakes, a super popular summer camping spot. The basin-type dune lakes are perfect for fishing, swimming and all round relaxing.
Best things to do:
There’s plenty to do in Northland. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous hike, a relaxing beach, a cool little town to explore or a fun activity, this region has you covered.
Easily one of the best lookouts and views in the whole country is from the top of Dukes Nose. Upon reaching the summit of Dukes Nose, you'll be rewarded with panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. The sweeping views and the sparkling waters down below make for some pretty epic photos too! It’s a fairly tough hike and not for the faint hearted so make sure you’re prepared. Promise it’s well worth it though!
Nestled in the beautiful Bay of Islands, Russell is a charming spot that exudes a rich historical and cultural heritage. This adorable wee town offers a tranquil escape and a glimpse into the country's fascinating past. Once known as the "Hell Hole of the Pacific" due to its rowdy reputation during the early European settlement, Russell has transformed into a peaceful haven with its quaint streets, historic buildings, art galleries, and cozy cafes.
One of the town's main attractions is its waterfront, where you can enjoy stunning views of the bay and the surrounding islands. Take a relaxing stroll along the promenade and soak up that fresh sea air.
Hole in the Rock Cruise & Urupukapuka Island
A bucket list experience in Northland you cannot miss is visiting the Hole In The Rock in the Bay of Islands. Head out on a cruise to this epic landmark and we’d highly recommend adding on a stop to the beautiful Urupukapuka Island.
You could spend hours discovering all the stunning beaches and lookout spots on this island. Explore the island on foot via the established walking tracks available. All walks start and finish at Otehei Bay and range from easy 30 minute strolls to more challenging hikes up to 5 hours return. All walks, even the short ones, offer epic views across the islands and endless photo opps! Otehei Bay is also a stunning spot to just relax.
Kerikeri Electric Boats
The Electric Boats in Kerikeri offer a unique and eco-friendly way to explore the stunning area. The electric propulsion system ensures a smooth and environmentally friendly ride, as it produces zero emissions and minimises noise pollution. This sustainable approach allows you to explore the waterways without disturbing the delicate ecosystem or wildlife habitats.
The boats are easy to operate, making them suitable for both experienced boaters and beginners alike. You can enjoy a self-guided tour or opt for a guided excursion.
While you’re in Kerikeri, be sure to stop off at Hones Garden. This restaurant prides itself on using fresh, local ingredients to create a rotating menu full of delicious dishes. With its stunning setting and incredible farm-to-table fare, it’s a must for any foodie visiting the Bay of Islands and you cannot visit without ordering the kumara fries. eams' sculpture.
Nestled in the heart of Northland, in the small town of Kaikohe the Ngawha springs have a long history of being a restorative and healing place to visit. The people of Ngapuhi have attended the natural springs to replenish their wairua (spirit), alleviate the sensation of pain and repair common ailments. It’s a truly wholesome and restorative experience well worth adding to your itinerary.
Tane Mahuta & Kauri Museum
Tāne Mahuta, also called "God of the Forest", is a giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest. Its age is unknown but is estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years. It is the largest living kauri tree known to stand today and a visit to this location is pretty special. The walk to Tāne Mahuta is short and sweet so is a must-do to take in this piece of New Zealand history. To learn more about the history and this incredible region, a visit to the Kauri Museum tells stories of this amazing tree and more from this incredible region.
y Wharf & famous red boat shed. These two features bring 100s of people to town every day and you can see why it’s quite the popular Instagram photo hot spot. The historic red shed is where the people of Glenorchy stored and sorted goods that arrived on steamers.
For a bit of adventure, jump on a jet boat wilderness experience with Dart River Adventures - you’ll explore iconic, untouched landscapes inaccessible by other means in the pristine Dart River Valley.
Being the northernmost point of New Zealand that you can walk to, this incredible spot certainly deserves to be mentioned. At the Cape, the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular swirl of currents. According to Maori oral history, the spirits of deceased Maori leap from this tree into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki. It’s an amazing place to visit, not just for its insane beauty but also for the history and what it means to so many.
No matter where you go, nor what you do, we can guarantee an unforgettable experience as Northland really is something special. So pack that EV and get on the road to one of the most beautiful places in our country.
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