Driving from Auckland up to Paihia and Waitangi in Northland, we took frequent breaks along the way to check out some of the sights our guidebook suggested. Here are some of the things to do in Northland, highly recommended road trip stopovers!
Hundertwasser Toilets in Kawakawa
The top 10 things to do in Northland, according to my guidebook, included something I had to read twice to believe it: the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa. Excuse me? Public toilets as a tourist attraction? I mean, a star architect who built grand structures and wonderful living spaces, also built… toilet facilities? I had no idea what to expect due to the lack of pictures in my book, so curiosity had us stop in Kawakawa, and here’s what we saw:
In hindsight I must say it was the most enjoyable, colourful and stylish loo break I have ever had. The only structure ever built by the artist in the Southern hemisphere, the Hundertwasser toilets even feature on New Zealand’s AA list of 101 Kiwi must-sees!
An equally water-rich and picturesque experience can be had nearby at Whangarei Falls. They’re located just 5 km from Whangarei city centre and are easily accessible. From the parking lot, take a walk down the path leading to the foot of the falls to fully appreciate their splendour. It’s like a scene from a film, that’s how beautiful it is. So peaceful.
There are many waterfalls on both South and North islands, but these are my absolute favourite. There are no toilets to be found around though, so if the noise of water gives you the urge to “go somewhere”, you know where to head!
And last but not least, if you’re cruising through Northland and need to stretch your legs for a while, stop in Puketi forest or Waipoua forest. There are plenty of tracks, walks and boardwalks leading through stands of gigantic kauri trees. Depending on where you stop, you’ll have the option of 15 minute boardwalks, hour-long walks or tracks that take a few days to complete.