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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
Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

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Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films won’t want to miss a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set—the real-life recreation of The Shire, one of the primary settings in those films. Set amid the lush hills of Matamata on New Zealand’s North Island, the purpose-built set features the original hobbit holes, sets, and props from the movies.More
#2
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
#3
Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves

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With dramatic limestone formations, gigantic stalactites and stalagmites, and subterranean river, New Zealand's Waitomo Caves hold adventure at every turn. This network of underground caverns is one of the best places in New Zealand to spot glowworms, and the glittering creatures provide a magical backdrop to the caves' natural wonders.More
#4
Huka Falls

Huka Falls

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Just outside of Taupo, Huka Falls is one of the most visited natural attractions on New Zealand’s North Island. Waikato River’s largest falls are fed by Australasia’s biggest freshwater lake, Lake Taupo. Explore the footbridge for a bird’s-eye view of the falls or walk along the Huka Falls Trail, which follows the river.More
#5
Sculptureum

Sculptureum

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Opened in 2017 in Matakana, north of Auckland, Sculptureum is a sculpture garden, art gallery, restaurant, and vineyard in one. The many animal sculptures in the gardens delight kids, while six indoor galleries display glass work and abstract art interesting to adults, making Sculptureum a popular day-trip destination for all.More
#6
Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

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Cathedral Cove—with its stunning and distinctive beach, caves, and rock formations—is the source of some of the most famous images of New Zealand. The beach, which is located on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, boasts white sand, clear waters, and great views. Visit to enjoy activities like kayaking and boating.More
#7
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
#8
Paihia

Paihia

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Paihia is a regular stop for cruise ships visiting New Zealand—and it’s not difficult to see why. This charming port town and eponymous scenic harbor nestled in the Bay of Islands is the home base for many of the region’s tour operators. It’s also a great place to stay as you explore the Northland region.More
#9
Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa

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Treat yourself to a day at the luxurious, award-winning Polynesian Spa in the North Island town of Rotorua, known for its bubbling mud pools and spurting geysers. With more than 20 pools fed by natural springs, the spa offers a menu of treatments designed to address various health and wellness needs.More
#10
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

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

Top activities in North Island

Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo
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Maori Rock Carvings Eco Sailing Taupo
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Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise
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Maori Rock Carvings Scenic Cruise

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Recent reviews from experiences in North Island

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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!
Lauren_R, 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
Jenny_H, 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...
chiho_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
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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!
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This was our favorite tour during...
PeterJoseph_E, May 2018
Small-Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Trip from Auckland
We got to see many lambs, green pastures, and views of the rugged coastline.
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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.
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Had a wonderful time on this tour...
Abhijit_K, 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
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.
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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...
Laurie_K, 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.
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.
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