Kia Ora! New Zealand is a beautiful, picturesque country with so many activities and sites to explore. That’s why we completely understand if you’re feeling overwhelmed about your choices of places to visit. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten must-see spots when visiting New Zealand’s North Island. Famous for its volcanic activity, outstanding national parks, and multicultural cities, there’s bound to be something for every type of traveler.
1. Mount Maunganui Summit Track. Invest in some quality hiking boots to take advantage of the stunning tracks available around the island. The Mount Maunganui summit track will take around 1.5 hours and you need to be in good physical shape, but the views when you reach the top are absolutely breathtaking.
2. Tongariro Alpine Crossing. While you’re in the hiking mood, make sure not to miss the 19.4km hike into the volcanic atmosphere. Tongariro alpine crossing, often referred to as one of New-Zealand’s best day hikes, could have you thinking you’re on a different planet.
3. Orakei Korako geothermal reserve park. Spend a day at arguably the best thermal area left in the whole country. From colourful silica terraces to bubbling mud pools and gushing geysers, take your time strolling across amazing geothermal walkways and soaking up the atmosphere.
4. Mount Manaia Track. Take a walk through the Mount Manaia track for unspoilt views of Bream Bay, Hauraki Gulf to the south, Whangarei Harbour to the west, the Poor Knights Islands, and Northland coast to the north. This is one of the easier tracks and is also suitable for children.
5. Tiritiri Matangi Island. This island is a nature lover’s paradise. Prepare to be serenaded by birdsong throughout your day strolling around this beautiful native forest. Hobbs Beach is a ten minute walk from the wharf and an ideal spot for a picnic or a swim on a warm day.
6. Auckland Botanic Gardens. When in Auckland be sure to visit the Botanic Gardens. They cover 64 hectares and are home to over 10,000 plants from all around the world. Stunning lakes, an on-site café, free parking, and an edible garden are some of the highlights you can enjoy when you spend a tranquil day here.
7. Mount Paku. Mt Paku in Tairua is a volcanic peak growing up between the southern end of Tairua Beach and the Tairua harbour mouth. Paku erupted eight million years ago and offers some gorgeous volcanic sites. Be sure to visit just before sunset for an exceptional view.
8. Matamata. Lord of the Rings fan? Join a guided tour of Hobbiton at Matamata! Home to over than 44 distinctive hobbit holes, as well as Bag End – Bilbo Baggins House! Wander through the heart of the Shire and listen to the interesting commentary of how it was all created. You can see this spectacular area as part of a New Zealand north island tour.
9. Tauranga. Visit Tauranga and book a kayaking glow worm tour for an unforgettable, unique experience. Enjoy local wine and cheese before embarking on the lake at twilight to view the spectacular glow worms on the side of a high canyon.
10. Huka Falls. Walk across a footbridge over a rushing white-water pool and witness the phenomenon of natural hydro power as the powerful 220,000 litres per second waterfall gushes above you.