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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

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
#2
Te Mata Peak

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. While it’s easy to drive to the summit, many visitors choose to hike on the network of forested trails, all of which are well maintained and marked with colorful signs.Enjoy the scent of towering Redwoods and fresh mountain air, before emerging onto the windswept peak that’s steeped in Maori legend. Guided cultural tours of the mountain explain a bit of its past, and offer insight on the history, people, and beauty of North Island's Hawke’s Bay.More
#3
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
#4
Te Puia

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
#5
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
#6
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
#7
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
#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
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
#10
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

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

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 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.
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
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.
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 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-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-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
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.
star-4
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!
star-4
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.
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
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.
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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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