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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

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.More
#2

Te Mata Peak

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The one notable exception to the vineyards and plains surrounding Hastings, craggy Te Mata Peak rises 1,300 feet (396 meters) above sea level and offers sensational views. Set just south of Napier and Hastings, Te Mata Peak is renowned for its sweeping, 360 degree views, which stretch from the coastline out to the farms that ring the towns of Hawke’s Bay.More
#3

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

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The unique art and handicrafts produced by New Zealand’s Maori population are among the country’s most vibrant and celebrated art works. There are few better examples of the Maori Rock carvings at Mine Bay. One of the most striking attractions of Lake Taupo, the immense carvings adorn the cliff faces of the bay, towering over 10 meters high. Although the designs appear like the remains of an ancient Maori settlement, they were in fact carved by artist Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell in the 1970s, taking three summers to complete. The dramatic works are some of the largest rock art of their kind in the world, depicting Ngatoroirangi – the Maori visionary who guided the Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa tribes to Lake Taupo over a thousand years before. Flanking Ngatoroirangi are two smaller carvings depicting the south wind and a mermaid, and utilizing traditional Maori stone-carving techniques.More
#4

Te Puia

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When you first catch a glimpse of Pohutu Geyser thundering up from the Earth and crane your neck skywards at a column of water that’s nearly 100 feet high, you begin to understand why this place has drawn visitors for literally hundreds of years. Only five minutes from central Rotorua, Te Puia is a geothermal and cultural attraction in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. When compared to Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, Te Puia is closer to the geysers and also offers an impressive center of Maori arts and crafts. Tour the bubbling, geothermal landscape with a native Maori guide, and then retreat to the national weaving and carving schools to watch Maori students re-create the traditional arts of their ancestors. For a look at furry kiwi birds, there is a small, dark kiwi enclosure that houses the national bird, and for arguably the best evening in Rotorua, return at night to experience Te Po—a traditional ceremony and hangi feast of eating, dancing and lore.More
#5

Port of Tauranga

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#6

Hobbiton Movie Set

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#7

Auckland Harbour Bridge

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The magnificent Auckland Harbour Bridge is an eight-lane motorway bridge that spans Waitmata harbor between St Mary's Bay in Auckland and Northcote Point on the North Shore. The bridge is 3,348 feet (1,020 meters) long and 15 stories high. Although it is an imposing sight from land, one of the most exciting tourist attractions for visitors to Auckland is to get up close and personal with a bridge climb or bungy. The climb involves clamoring up the steel struts to the top of the bridge where you will see spectacular views of Auckland, known as the “City of Sails.” Bungying sees thrill-seekers falling 147 feet (45 meters) to touch the waters of Waitmata Harbor.More
#8

Zealandia Ecosanctuary

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Just 10 minutes from central Wellington, the unique Zealandia wildlife sanctuary and conservation park is one of New Zealand’s premier eco attractions, restoring the flora and fauna that once surrounded the city. The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary’s restored forest and wetlands provide a habitat for more than 30 native bird species, as well as frogs, lizards and cute green geckos. View the exhibition tracing the development of New Zealand’s natural history, take a guided walking tour through the predator-proof, 225-hectare (550-acre) sanctuary, then refuel at the park’s cafe overlooking the lake.More
#9

Lake Rotorua

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Although the Rotorua area is speckled with dozens of lakes, Lake Rotorua is a different entity, detached from its neighboring lakes. Larger, deeper and much, much older, geologists believe it dates back over 200,000 years. Some of Rotorua’s other lakes were created by the Tarawera eruption of 1886, but Lake Rotorua is the original waterway to grace this section of the North Island. Unlike the ocean, the waters of the green-hued lake are colored by sulfur and minerals, and the 920-foot elevation makes it a little cooler to the touch. It is the second largest lake on the North Island, is surrounded by a geothermal playground and offers a variety of activities for travelers. Take a cruise through the Ohau Channel, which connects with Lake Rotoiti, or go fly fishing where the waters connect and try to reel in a big one. Slide into the seat of a kayak and silently paddle the lakeshore, or strap on a helmet and go hurtling over falls while rafting on a nearby tributary.More
#10

Paihia

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The resort town of Paihia services the villages and islands of the Bay of Islands. Boasting the area’s best accommodation and restaurants, Paihia Harbour is the ideal place to base yourself while you explore this lovely part of New Zealand. Hire a kayak to paddle out to the islands, follow the rivers winding in from the bay, or take a walk through kauri forest to lookouts over the water. To walk from Paihia to neighboring Waitangi is a pleasant 40 minutes one way.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

Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland

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Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland

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Hobbiton Movie Set Small Group Tour from Auckland

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Hobbiton Movie Set Small Group Tour from Auckland

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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 great time. Everything...
David K, May 2015
5-Day Bay of Islands Rotorua Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton Tour from Auckland
We were able to see a lot of the best of the North Island over a limited duration.
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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.
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Great Package. I could not have...
Leonard L, Dec. 2014
2 Day Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton Movie Set and Rotorua Tour from Auckland
Everyone was nice and the connections between attractions and vehicles were well organized.
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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.
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Amazing experience even for non-Hobbits!
LauMR22, Aug. 2019
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves 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.
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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.
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Great tour with a few notes
453jenny, Oct. 2018
Afternoon Piha Beach and Rainforest Tour from Auckland
Waterfall was great.
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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.
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Brett was a phenomenal tour guide who...
Robert H, Sep. 2018
Full-Day Wild West Coast Photo and Discovery Tour including Lunch from Auckland
Getting away to the west coast of the north island is a must do, and this tour goes to some incredible sights including secluded beaches, waterfalls, and deep forests like no other.
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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
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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.
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This is a semi-independent tour. The...
Jenny, Jun. 2018
5-Day Bay of Islands Rotorua Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton Tour from Auckland
I had called before the trip to let them know that I wanted to see the itinerary a bit before the 1 week mark and they complied by sending it two weeks prior.
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If you're a fan of the LoTR films...
Louise A, Aug. 2017
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves 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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Great for those with limited time in...
Kerrie, Mar. 2016
2 Day Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton Movie Set and Rotorua Tour from Auckland
All activities are quality attractions.
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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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Our family thoroughly enjoyed this...
Bernadette C, Jan. 2017
5-Day Bay of Islands Rotorua Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton Tour from Auckland
Our family thoroughly enjoyed this action packed holiday and especially recommend it to those who have a limited time to see highlights of the North Island.
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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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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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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