North Island

Why Northland is the North Island's Top Destination

By , December 3, 2015

NorthlandEver wondered which would be the best destination to visit and which is the best hotel to book in Northland? Well, we’ve pulled more than 140 million traveller ratings from trivago to discover the top-rated hotels and the top-rated destinations in the region. Kerkeri has nabbed the top spot as our Top Rated Destination and Bellrock Lodge has been named the Top Rated Hotel.



Northland is an area of diverse culture and beauty and so the competition for the top destination was always going to be fierce. The area includes incredible beaches and marine life set alongside vast walking tracks through Kauri tree forests. Northland is also rich in culture and history and the centre of European fusion with Maori culture.

No. 1 Top Destination: Kerikeri

Kerikeri means ‘dig dig’, referring to the fertile farmlands, fruit and wine growing in the region. Kerikeri has ancient Maori roots and a deep history with the early European settlers and there is now a growing campaign to have the area designated an UNESCO world heritage site. The small town is home to New Zealand’s oldest building – Stone Store. The subtropical-themed main street has plenty of al fresco dining as well as bushwalks, including stunning waterfalls and a great variety of verdure wildlife.  In short, the town has something for everyone.

Kauri Park Motel

Justine made us feel so welcome and settled us in quickly. The room we were in was superb, the arrival complimentary drink was very unexpected and appreciated. It is amazing that this hotel is SO in tune with the environment,“ Kushke Family, South Africa.

The Kauri Park Motel is a resort-style motel located amidst two acres of subtropical park lands. All of the rooms include cooking facilities, private terraces and en-suite bathrooms – most with spa baths. In the hotel gardens you’ll find the relaxing pool area, hammocks, and beautifully manicured lawns.

The motel is perfectly located just two minutes from town and five minutes from the airport: ‘if you’ve reached the Makana Chocolate Factory then you’ve gone too far,’- although it surely wouldn’t be a bad detour if you did end up there!

Within a short drive are some of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand and you can also catch the ferry to other parts of the Bay of Islands. A good day trip is to visit Cape Reinga, the most northern tip of New Zealand where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean in a roar of sea salt spray.

What makes the Kauri Park Motel the top rated in the area? The answer lies in the warm welcome from owners Carl and Justine, the complimentary welcome drink, the high standards of the rooms and the hotel’s Eco credentials.

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Kauri Park Motel

No.2.Top Rated Destination: Russell

Russell was the first capital of New Zealand and also one of the first European settlements. Russell can be reached by a short ferry ride from the mainland. Its beautiful beaches and calm bays are a haven for holidaymakers keen to experience the history of the town as well as enjoy its natural landscapes.

Popular activities in Russell include swimming with dolphins, kayaking the untouched coastline, big game fishing, walking through ancient Maori sites and hugging the world’s largest Kauri tree.

*Top Rated Hotel: Bellrock Lodge*

“The room was immaculate and comfortable, the view over the water was terrific, and the hospitality was outstanding.” TravellerMJP, Maryland.

Bell Rock lodge has been named the top hotel in our reputation rankings, for the whole of Northland and even the North Island. Overall, it has come sixth in the entire country – not bad! So what makes Bellrock Lodge so special?

Apart from Peter and Lorraine being outstanding hosts, the rooms are clean and comfortable, the wifi fast and free, the views over the water spectacular – especially when viewed from your own private patio. Finally, amenities like free self-laundry and cooking facilities ensure that your trip remains hassle-free.

Bellrock Lodge is just a five-minute stroll from the restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs on the waterfront. It’s a great place to watch the ferries come and go, or to book yourself on to a sailing trip.

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bell rock lodge

No.3 Top Rated Destination: Paihia

Billed as the ‘Jewel of the Bay of Islands’, Paihia has some of the safest beaches for swimming, fabulous inland walks and a pristine coastline. Paihia is joined top Waitangi by bridge, which has significant historical relevance as the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and where New Zealand became an official British colony. Paihia is a great location to get airborne and explore the surrounding landscapes by taking a helicopter ride, parasailing in the bay or even heading to Action World to learn how to walk a Flying Trapese.

Chalet Romantica

The Chalet Romantica is a real gem. The warm welcome, the beautiful room with the stunning view from the balcony, the pool and hot tub after a long day …. We just felt as if staying with friends.“ Monika, Germany.

The best place to stay as rated by our users is Chalet Romantica. Chalet Romantica is a B&B with beautiful views, subtle romantic touches, warm friendly staff and features such as a pool and hot tub. If that’s not enough to quicken your pulse, it’s rumoured that the breakfast is all that your heart desires and is served in the conservatory with panoramic views over the bay.

There are endless facilities to keep you entertained during your stay, including a library, exercise equipment, an indoor heated swimming pool, kayaks for hire and of course exploring the incredible surrounding landscapes.

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chalet romantica

Champagne on the balcony of Chalet Romantica. Photo by steven_n_maher (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Do you agree with our top rated destinations? Let us know in the comments below!

Lead image by: Robin Ducker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)