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Things to do in North Island

Things to do in  North Island

Welcome to North Island

Home to crystal-clear lakes, volcanic islands, bubbling mud pools, empty beaches, dense forests, and vibrant cities, New Zealand’s beautiful North Island offers something for everyone. Shop 'til you drop in the chic boutiques of Auckland or Wellington, sample award-winning wines among the vineyards of Martinborough, or experience the rugged coastal beauty of the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula—one of New Zealand’s most isolated regions. Using Auckland as a base, you can take in top attractions such as the otherworldly Waitomo Caves, where bright green glowworms hang in cavernous subterranean tunnels. For an altogether different outdoor experience, Rotorua’s steaming geothermal landscapes and the Bay of Islands’ peaceful coves are all within easy reach. The fertile valleys of Waiheke Island offer relaxing food, wine, and art tours; and you can delve into New Zealand’s open wilderness among the mighty Waitakere Ranges. For fans of Frodo, Bilbo, and their respective adventures, “The Lord of the Rings”–themed tours help you fulfill any Tolkien fantasies by visiting the rolling hillsides of Matamata, used as a Middle-earth filming location in the trilogy.

Top 10 attractions in North Island

#1
Mt. Tarawera

Mt. Tarawera

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Mt. Tarawera’s claim to fame is its historic 1866 eruption that destroyed the recognizable Pink and White Terraces. Today, it's the center of a geothermal wonderland and a compelling attraction in its own right—take a guided tour to the mountain’s peak, or visit the many valleys and lakes carved out and altered by the 19th-century eruption.More
#2
Zealandia Ecosanctuary

Zealandia Ecosanctuary

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Zealandia Ecosanctuary is a unique wildlife conservation park in Karori, just minutes from central Wellington. A premier eco-attraction, the fully fenced urban project has restored much of the flora and fauna that once surrounded the city. Forest and wetlands provide habitat for more than 40 native bird species, amphibians, and reptiles.More
#3
Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

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Just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island has great beaches, some of New Zealand’s best boutique wineries, a number of art galleries, scenic walking trails, and acres of olive groves, making it the ideal getaway. The island’s calm waters—perfect for watersports like snorkeling, sea kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding—and the relaxed bohemian atmosphere in Oneroa Village draw a steady stream of visitors year-round.More
#4
Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

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Measuring more than 33 feet (10 meters) high, these mammoth Maori sculptures were chiseled into the rocks on the edge of Lake Taupo in the late 1970s. Created by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, the carvings depict Ngatoroirangi, who is said to have guided the Te Arawa tribes from their Polynesian homeland to New Zealand.More
#5
Auckland Harbour Bridge

Auckland Harbour Bridge

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The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a landmark site on the city’s skyline. The 8-lane engineering marvel connects downtown Auckland with North Shore suburbs. Visitors can experience the bridge and the stunning views of the Waitemata Harbour from several vantage points: while driving over it, climbing it, or jumping off it.More
#6
Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

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Marked by a squat lighthouse and a gnarled 800-year-old pohutukawa tree, Cape Reinga is the northernmost point of New Zealand that’s open to the public, and the site where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea come together. The area is popular for its coastal views, which you can enjoy from a series of windswept nature walks.More
#7
Weta Workshop

Weta Workshop

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From fantastical costumes and prosthetics to large-scale props and weaponry, 3D models, and animatronics, New Zealand’s Weta Workshop is a one-stop-shop for movie special effects. Most famous for their Academy Award-winning work on theLord of the Rings films, the studio has also worked on films includingGodzilla,Avatar, andSpiderman.More
#8
Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotorua

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The Rotorua area boasts dozens of lakes, but Lake Rotorua is larger, deeper, and older than its neighbors. Geologists believe that Rotorua, the second-largest lake on the North Island, dates back more than 200,000 years, while most of the region’s other waterways were created by the Tarawera eruption of 1886.More
#9
Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

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Located on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (better known simply as Te Papa) holds massive collections of New Zealand art and artifacts. Hear stories from local communities, see some of the best contemporary Aotearoa art, and entertain your kids while teaching them about the world at the museum’s Discovery Centres.More
#10
Mission Estate Winery

Mission Estate Winery

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New Zealand produces some of the world’s most renowned, award-winning wines, and Mission Estate Winery on the outskirts of Napier is where it all began. Founded in 1851, Mission Estate was started by missionaries who journeyed from France with little more than a dream and a couple of vines. Now, nearly two centuries later, Mission Estate continues to operate as one of New Zealand’s best wineries, and is a staple on any shore excursion or wine tasting tour of Napier.Head down the tree lined driveway toward the old fashioned estate and its fountain, and you'll immediately fall for the history and regal charm of the area. Step outside on the hilltop veranda for a view of the vineyard landscapes leading back to Napier’s downtown or to sip in the sun protected by the shade of one of the winery's big, white outdoor umbrellas.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Wellington

How to Spend 2 Days in Wellington

Top Hot Springs in Rotorua

Top Hot Springs in Rotorua

Recent reviews from experiences in North Island

star-5
Great Tour at a Great Value!
HarmanDhali, Aug 2019
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
We got to see a huge part of the North Island, all in one day!
star-5
Fran and a Rick were amazing guides...
James J, Sep 2017
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
If you are in Auckland, you will want to see a lot of the country side.
star-5
We had a wonderful tour, thanks in...
Geoff B, Nov 2015
Private Tour: 8-Day North Island Tour from Auckland Including Rotorua and Wellington
Tom was expert at helping us to see and appreciate the spectacular natural beauty of New Zealnd and we are so glad we were able to travel the country with him.
star-5
A very informative and well...
Christine F, Oct 2011
3-Day Bay of Islands Tour from Auckland
All elements of the tour were excellent value for money and I would highly recommend this tour as a way to see all of the northern part of North Island.
star-5
Amazing experience even for non-Hobbits!
LauMR22, Aug 2019
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland
He looked out for our safety all day and left no questions unanswered, even pointing out specific attractions along the drive that he thought we would each enjoy based on our interests.
star-4
Great tour with a few notes
453jenny, Oct 2018
Afternoon Piha Beach and Rainforest Tour from Auckland
Waterfall was great.
star-5
Nice way to get out of the city, to the...
Robert P, Mar 2017
Auckland Shore Excursion: Small-Group Coast and Rainforest Tour
Then we continued on to Karekare, taking a short hike to a very high cascading waterfall.
star-5
Great trip! Covered a range of...
Alyson S, Sep 2016
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
Covered a range of activities on the North Island, all appealing to different tastes and interests.
star-5
Excellent guide, well informed, it's...
Chi Ho K, Jan 2014
Coast and Rainforest Eco-Tour from Auckland with Lunch
Excellent guide, well informed, it's great to see the other side of the north island
star-5
This was our favorite tour during...
Pete, May 2018
Small-Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Trip from Auckland
We got to see many lambs, green pastures, and views of the rugged coastline.
star-4
If you're a fan of the LoTR films...
Louise A, Aug 2017
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland
The only down point was the weather, but we did go in their winter, so while it was wet and rainy it wasn't cold, and didn't detract from the joy of just being there!
star-5
I have been to Tiritiri Matangi once...
Mums4kids, Mar 2015
Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland with Optional Guided Walk
I have been to Tiritiri Matangi once before and it was wonderful to see how much denser the planting had become and the increase in the number of birds was good to see.
star-5
Wonderful day trip covering a few of...
dlmaddocks, Oct 2017
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
You are then given time to stroll down to see the geyser, mud pools and kiwi exhibit.
star-5
Had a wonderful time on this tour...
gutrakapu, Mar 2018
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
Wish we had an opportunity to see Maori cultural song/dance but we missed the timing.
star-5
Fantastic tour! This was a great way...
Amruta H, Apr 2016
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
This was a great way to see 3 defining sites of the North Island in just 1 day.
star-5
This tour was great because it...
Annabeth G, Aug 2016
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
We only had one full day in New Zealand, so we wanted to see as much as we could.
star-4
This is a great tour for fans of the...
lauriekom, Jan 2017
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
This is a great tour for fans of the Lord of the Rings and those who want to visit New Zealand's version of Yellowstone National Park, Rotorua.
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