The North Island boasts coastlines adorned with both golden and black volcanic sand beaches, as well as geothermal marvels interlaced with verdant native forests. Ensure you include these must-try encounters in your itinerary when travelling through the North Island.
Visit the Waitomo Caves because they offer a unique and unforgettable experience. The caves are famous for their natural beauty, including thousands of glowworms that light up the underground caverns with their luminescence. Visitors can take a boat ride through the caves and witness the magical glowworm display, or go on an adventure tour and explore the caves by abseiling or blackwater rafting. The Waitomo Caves are also steeped in Maori cultural significance, adding to the richness of the experience.
Cape Reinga is a place of significant cultural and natural importance in New Zealand. It is the northernmost point of the country where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, creating a stunning panoramic view. The cape is also deeply steeped in Maori mythology and spirituality, as it is believed to be the place where the spirits of the deceased depart for their journey to the afterlife. Visitors can take a walk along the Te Werahi Beach, visit the iconic lighthouse, or take a guided tour to learn about the cultural and natural history of the area.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is located in the Northland region of the North Island and is known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and picturesque islands. There is a range of water activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing, and you can explore the many secluded coves, bays, and islands that make up the bay. The area is also rich in Maori culture and history, and visitors can learn about the region’s traditions and stories at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds or visit the historic Russell Township, which was the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand. The Bay of Islands is a hub of outdoor recreation, with several hiking and biking trails, such as the Opua to Paihia Coastal Walkway and the Haruru Falls Track, offering stunning scenery and challenging terrain. Additionally, the Bay of Islands is home to several wineries, galleries, and museums, making it a perfect destination for culture and food lovers.
Rotorua is a hub of geothermal activity, Maori culture, and outdoor recreation. The city is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means there are numerous geysers, hot springs, and mud pools in the area. Visitors can explore the geothermal wonders, such as the famous Pohutu geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley or the Champagne Pool in Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Rotorua is also a place of significant cultural importance for the Maori people, and visitors can experience authentic Maori cultural performances, indulge in traditional hangi feasts, and visit the Tamaki Maori Village for an immersive cultural experience. Additionally, Rotorua offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, mountain biking, and water sports in the nearby lakes and forests.
The Coromandel is a beautiful and picturesque destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor activities. The Coromandel is known for its stunning beaches, such as Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, where visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and kayaking. The area is also home to lush forests and hiking trails, including the famous Pinnacles hike, which offers breathtaking views of the Coromandel Peninsula. In addition, the Coromandel has a rich history, and visitors can explore the gold mining towns of Coromandel Town and Thames or learn about the region’s Maori history at the Coromandel Historical Museum. Furthermore, the Coromandel is home to several charming small towns, such as Whitianga and Hahei, where visitors can indulge in local cuisine, arts, and crafts.
Hobbiton is a unique and immersive experience that transports visitors to the magical world of Middle-earth. Hobbiton is a movie set located in Matamata, New Zealand, where the famous Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed. Visitors can explore the meticulously crafted hobbit holes, lush gardens, and the iconic Green Dragon Inn, all while learning about the making of the films from knowledgeable guides. The attention to detail in the set design is truly remarkable, and visitors can feel like they are walking in the footsteps of their favorite characters from the movies. Even if you are not a die-hard fan of the films, the picturesque scenery and charming atmosphere of Hobbiton make it a delightful and unforgettable experience.
The Poor Knights Islands
Take a boat ride out to the Poor Knights Islands because they are a pristine and untouched natural wonder that offer a unique and memorable experience for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. The islands are a marine reserve, located off the coast of Tutukaka in the North Island of New Zealand, and are renowned for their crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and dramatic landscapes. Visitors can indulge in a range of water activities, such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding, to explore the underwater caves, arches, and cliffs, and encounter an array of marine creatures, including dolphins and whales. The islands are also a bird sanctuary and home to various endemic species, making them a great spot for birdwatching and nature photography.
Waiheke Island is a stunning and picturesque destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, art, culture, and gourmet cuisine. Waiheke Island is located in the Hauraki Gulf, just a short ferry ride away from Auckland, and is known for its stunning beaches, rolling vineyards, and scenic hiking trails. Visitors can indulge in a range of activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, wine tasting, and gourmet dining, and soak in the relaxed and laid-back vibe of the island. The island is also a hub of arts and culture, with several galleries and studios showcasing the works of local artists and artisans. Furthermore it is home to several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Waiheke Jazz Festival and the Sculpture on the Gulf exhibition, making it a vibrant and exciting destination.
Taupo is located in the heart of the North Island and is known for its huge lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in New Zealand. Visitors can indulge in a range of water activities, such as swimming, kayaking, fishing, and cruising, or take a scenic flight over the lake to admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Taupo is also a hub of outdoor recreation, with several hiking and biking trails, such as the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the Huka Falls Trail, offering stunning scenery and challenging terrain. Additionally, Taupo is home to several geothermal attractions, such as Orakei Korako Geothermal Park, where visitors can witness the spectacular geysers, mud pools, and hot springs. Furthermore, Taupo has a rich Maori culture, and visitors can learn about the region’s history and traditions at the Maori Carvings at Mine Bay.
Napier because it is a unique and charming city that is known for its stunning Art Deco architecture, world-class wineries, and vibrant cultural scene. Napier is located in the Hawke’s Bay region of the North Island and is a popular destination for history and culture buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and wine lovers. The city was rebuilt in the Art Deco style after a devastating earthquake in 1931, and its streets are now lined with beautifully preserved Art Deco buildings that offer a glimpse into the glamour and sophistication of the era. Visitors can take a guided walking tour or a vintage car ride to explore the city’s architectural gems, and attend the annual Art Deco Festival, which celebrates the city’s unique heritage. Napier is also home to several award-winning wineries, such as Mission Estate and Te Mata Estate, which offer cellar door tastings and gourmet dining experiences. Furthermore there is a thriving arts and cultural scene, with several galleries, museums, and theaters showcasing the works of local and international artists. Visitors can attend live music and theater performances, or participate in workshops and events that celebrate the city’s creativity and diversity.