New Zealand’s North Island

A beach on the Bay of Islands
Piha Beach

The best places to visit in the North Island

Welcome to New Zealand’s North Island: a sunny land of geysers, vineyards and volcanoes, home to the lively cities of Wellington and Auckland, and perhaps your greatest chance of encountering a hobbit. With world-class museums, art deco architecture and caves that glitter with glow worms, there’s plenty to see and do, either as a North Island only holiday or in combination with New Zealand’s South Island. To help you plan, we’ve listed our favourite North Island holiday stops below.

If you're planning a holiday in North Island, talk to a Travel Expert today on 0800 707 6010.

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Geothermal pool in Rotorua Rotorua

Rotorua

Rotorua

Geothermal wonderland
You’ll more than likely smell Rotorua before you see it, because here, there’s a distinct whiff of sulphur in the air. The characteristic eggy aroma comes from Rotorua’s many mud baths and hot springs, as well as the geysers that dramatically spurt jets of water 20 plus metres into the sky. Come to marvel at the earth’s powers and explore the lakeside bike trails and walking tracks.
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Kayak on Lake Taupo Lake Taupo

Taupo

Taupo

Adventure capital
On the shores of the lake of the same name, Taupo’s tranquil setting lends itself well to chilled-out kayaking trips to waterfalls, forest mountain-biking excursions and relaxing lakeside strolls among the mountain scenery. It’s also the place to come to inject a dash of adrenaline into your holiday, with action-packed adventures including skydiving, jet boating and bungee jumping.
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Wellington Cable Car, View over looking Wellington, CJ - Best of North Island Wellington

Wellington

Wellington

Capital city
Hilly, rocky Wellington looks like it’s been taken straight from a postcard, with rugged shorelines and lovely Victorian architecture adding to its charms. It’s got a thriving arts scene and some great craft breweries, plus it’s home to New Zealand’s finest museum, the outstanding Te Papa. Stay at least two nights, or longer for day trips to nearby Lord of the Rings filming locations.
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Bay of Islands beach Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Beaches, kayaking & dolphins
A collection of almost 150 islets dotted among glittering turquoise waters, the beautiful Bay of Islands are filled with natural wonders and stunning scenery. See it all on the must-do Hole in the Rock Cruise, where you’ll also see the iconic Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island. And don’t forget to keep a look out for wild dolphins splashing in the waves.

Top New Zealand North Island Journeys

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Round the World Expert Kaye Waapu

If you’re visiting the Bay of Islands, I recommend adding a day trip up to Cape Reinga. It’s where you can see the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet, and one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.

- Kaye Waapu, Expert
Steph Eagell standing infront of Hobbiton
Our Expert @stepheagell looking for Hobbits in Hobbiton. The charming Lord of the Rings movie set is in the Waikato region on the North Island #expertfinds #waikato #lotr #newzealand #hobbiton