BUG New Zealand travel guidebook
Travel safely with World Nomads travel insurance
Buy your New Zealand SIM card before you travel and save on mobile phone costs
BUG New Zealand travel guidebook


BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Northland > The far north > Kaitaia


Kaitaia, the largest town in the Far North region, has a bad reputation among travellers and it’s hard to say much to dispel that impression. It is simply a dreary and depressed-looking town, not the kind of place that pops into your head when you’re sitting in class or at work daydreaming about your holiday in New Zealand.

That said, it does make a good spot to arrange travel up to Cape Reinga. You’ll definitely pay less and spend less time on the bus if you start your journey here rather than in Paihia. The town itself has both a strong Maori and Dalmatian presence, the latter reflecting the days of Kaitaia’s gum-digging boom. If you’re interested to learn more about the local history, Kaitaia is home to the Far North Regional Museum.

If you’re making the drive yourself up north, Kaitaia make sure to fuel up, hit the ATM, and get supplies here.

Practical information

Far North i-SITE Visitor Centre

Jaycee Park, South Road, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 0879

Coming & going

InterCity (tel (09) 623 1503) coaches stop at the visitor information centre in Jaycee Park.

Hostel accommodation

Hike & Bike Hostel

160 Commerce Street, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 1840

Main Street Lodge

235 Commerce Street, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 1275

Pirates Backpackers (Kaitaia Hotel)

25 Commerce Street, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 0360

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

Far North Regional Museum

This small museum features displays relating to local history. These include the de Surville anchor, which was left in New Zealand in 1769, earlier than any other item of European origin. The other main attraction at this museum is a replica of the ancient Kaitaia carving.

6 South Road, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 1403

Cape Reinga tours

Most travellers visit Kaitaia to organise a tour to Cape Reinga. The best way to experience the cape is to drive along Ninety Mile Beach, however rental car companies prohibit this and people frequently get their cars stuck in the sand. If you don’t have a 4WD and experience driving in sandy conditions, it’s best to leave the driving to a tour company. Some of these trips also have departures from the Bay of Islands, however leaving from Kaitaia means that you can sleep in an extra couple of hours.

Cape Reinga Adventures

Cape Reinga Adventures runs short kayaking trips plus longer tours that are a good option for outdoorsy people. Activities include fishing, kayaking and sand boarding.

Tel (09) 409 8445
Website www.capereingaadventures.co.nz
3 hour kayak to Cape Reinga $95; half day harbour kayak trip $85; full day harbour kayak trip $125


The Dune-Rider runs trips to Cape Reinga in custom-built 4WD coaches, which include a drive on Ninety Mile Beach and boogie boarding on the sand dunes. These trips depart from Paihia, but picking the tour up at the Big River Café in Awanui, near Kaitaia, is a better option if you don’t want to wake up too early.

Big River Café, Awanui
Tel (09) 402 8681 or 0800 494 868
Website www.dunerider.co.nz
One-day tour $65-110 from Awanui, $110 from Paihia/Kerikeri
Pick up 7.15am from Paihia, 7.50am from Kerikeri, 10am from Awanui (near Kaitaia)

Harrisons Cape Runner

Harrisons Cape Runner operates daily trips between Kaitaia and Cape Reinga that include a drive along Ninety Mile Beach and tobogganing on sand dunes.

123 North Road, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 1033
Website www.ahipara.co.nz/caperunner
One-day tour $45

Sand Safaris

Sand Safaris run trips between Kaitaia and Cape Reinga that feature a drive along the Ninety Mile Beach and through the Te Paki quicksand stream.

221 Commerce Street, Kaitaia
Tel (09) 408 1778 or 0800 869 090
Website www.sandsafaris.co.nz
One-day trip $65
Departs Kaitaia 9am

Follow us:

Follow us on Twitter Like BUG on Facebook