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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 15 attractions in North Island

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

Auckland Domain

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Enjoy the peace and tranquility of forests, gullies, and green spaces in Auckland Domain, a 185-acre (75-hectare) escape from the frantic Queen Street crowds. Get lost on a nature walk, admire the tropical plants at the Wintergarden, and marvel at the history on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.More

Te Puia

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Te Puia, located in the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley at the edge of Rotorua features Pohutu Geyser and is home to the impressive New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Visitors can tour the bubbling mud pools with a local Maori guide and choose from among myriad activities.More

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

Wellington Cable Car

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Operating since 1902, the Wellington Cable Car is one of the city’s most famous sights. The ride, from the central business district to the city’s tranquil botanic garden, offers a stunning light show inside the tunnels as well as gorgeous vistas of Mount Victoria and Wellington Harbour as you reach the top.More

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

Piha Beach

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A short drive west of Auckland is Piha Beach, one of the West Coast’s most popular getaways. A small coastal village sandwiched between the Waitakere Ranges and the Tasman Sea, Piha Beach is much loved by surfers and fisherfolk alike, but it’s also a great place for everyone to explore nature, both on the coast and in the hills.More

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

Auckland War Memorial Museum

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The Auckland War Memorial Museum, one of New Zealand’s finest, displays thousands of items—including Maori and Pacific Island collections—reflecting the country’s history, culture, and nature. A dedicated children’s area allows kids to touch animals, fossils, and bugs. Visiting Auckland Museum is a must when spending time in New Zealand’s largest city.More

Parnell

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Parnell, Auckland’s oldest suburb, is full of high-quality restaurants, cafes, galleries, and boutique shops, especially jewelers. There are also many noncommercial sites to explore, such as parks, churches, and other buildings. A visit to Parnell is essential for understanding Auckland’s unique, stylish character.More

Mt. Victoria Lookout

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Looming out of the land at the end of Courtenay Place, Mt. Victoria is deeply embedded in the life of Wellington’s central city. Standing at more than 640 feet (195 meters) at its highest point, the Mt. Victoria Lookout offers 360-degree views of Wellington stretching out past the scenic harbor.More

One Tree Hill

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A significant Maori settlement in 18th-century New Zealand and named for a long-dead pohutukawa tree that stood alone at the top of the hill, One Tree Hill is a massive public park that sits on the edge of central Auckland. From the summit, take in gorgeous panoramic views of Auckland and stroll around its green volcanic grounds.More

Auckland Sky Tower

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A dizzying 1,076 feet (328 meters) high, the Auckland Sky Tower is not only New Zealand’s highest building but also the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The tower offers unbeatable views of Auckland’s skyline, with its distinctive spire visible from all corners of the city.More

Kumeu Wine Country

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New Zealand is known for its crisp whites and bold reds and there is no better way to sample its flavors than by taking a trip through Kumeu Wine Country. The scenic vineyards of this world-class wine destination are home to quiet cafes, small breweries, five-star restaurants, and, of course, some of the best wine-makers in the country.More

Waitemata Harbour

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Waitemata Harbour is the real name for what is often just called Auckland Harbour. It means “sparkling waters” in the Maori language, which is a very fitting name. Numerous islands dot the harbor, and a day spent on the water, with city views in the background, is a memorable way to tour Auckland.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

Gannet Safaris Overland tour to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony
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Mitai Maori Village Cultural Experience in Rotorua
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Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland
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Hobbiton & Waitomo Small Group Tour - EX Auckland
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Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland
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Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
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Cultural Experience & Seasonal Māori Cuisine at Te Pā Tū
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Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise
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Waitomo Caves & Rotorua Small Group Tour including Te Puia from Auckland
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Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour
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Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour

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Hobbiton™ Movie Set 2-Hour Walking Tour from Shires Rest
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Afternoon Piha Beach and Rainforest Tour from Auckland
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Rotorua Rafting - Kaituna River White Water Rafting
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Auckland Harbour Sailboat Cruise Including Three Course Dinner
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*Popular Cruise Ship Tour* Bay of Islands and Glow Worm Caves Small-Group Tour
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in North Island

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Great thermal springs, so impressive and a must see!
Christopher_L, Oct 2022
Rotorua Highlights Small Group Tour with Optional Extra Activities from Auckland
Well worth a visit, the thermal springs are fantastic and so unique to other sightseeing in the North island.
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An Adventurous Spring Day In The North Island
lolitapiayoung, Sep 2022
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
It’s a beautiful spring day!
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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!
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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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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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A long trip but with a great variety...
Laura M, Dec 2010
Hobbiton Day Tour from Rotorua with lunch at Hobbiton
A long trip but with a great variety of things to do on the programme and at the right timing.
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For a lone traveller was a safe, easy...
Cleo, Sep 2009
Hobbiton Day Tour from Rotorua with lunch at Hobbiton
For a lone traveller was a safe, easy way to see many things the north island has to offer.
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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.
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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.
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Great tour with a few notes
Jenny_H, 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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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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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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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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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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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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Worth Every penny! We went on...
Erika L, Oct 2016
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Caves Full Day Tour departing Auckland
And the Waitomo caves were indescribable, something you have to see in your life time!
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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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great tours but long day. we flew...
michele_m, May 2016
Hobbiton Day Tour from Rotorua with lunch at Hobbiton
it was hot inside so i went out and geyser was starting, everyone inside missed that and it was awesome to see it start instead of the tourist participation dance.
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All about North Island

Currency
New Zealand Dollar (NZ$)
Time Zone
NZDT (UTC +12)
Country Code
+64
Language(s)
English
Frequently Asked Questions
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