It's best to see Northland's many lovely bays, sandy beaches, and worthwhile sights by car. Northland roads are generally just two lanes wide with many one-lane bridges in remote areas. Take care on the narrow—and often unsealed—roads that thread through the region. Don't risk a drive along 90 Mile Beach; the quicksand and tides can leave you stuck, and your rental car insurance won't cover any accidents here. You can easily find a tour company to take you along 90 Mile Beach.
From Auckland, drive up the East Coast on State Highway 1 and return down the West Coast on Highway 12 (or vice versa), but make sure to check out smaller, winding coastal roads with their stunning coastlines and dramatic island views.