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.