The North Island of New Zealand is, like its southern sister, a relatively small island that punches well above its weight in terms of magnificent coastline, remarkable geothermal phenomena, and, of course, cute flightless birds. This is because the South Island of New Zealand is much larger than the North Island of New Zealand.
But it’s more than just a national park the size of a country. Even though colonialism had a significant impact on the appearance of modern New Zealand, the country’s original Maori culture is still thriving and may be easily accessed. This is notably the case in the North Island, which has a greater population, in locations such as the cultural center Te Puia, which is located close to the city of Rotorua.
Best Places to Visit in the North Island, New Zealand
Continue reading to learn about some of the most spectacular locations that should be included on your itinerary for a vacation of a lifetime to the North Island of New Zealand.
1. Napier and the Rest of Hawke’s Bay
One of the most picturesque areas in New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay is renowned as one of the country’s top wine-producing regions due to its alluvial plain, gentle slopes, and gravelly soil.
With a history of cultivating grapes dating all the way back to 1851, this region is renowned for producing wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in particular.
2. Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand
There is no way around seeing the Sky Tower, which is widely considered to be one of the most iconic structures in all of New Zealand. This concrete telecom mast is a distinctive feature of New Zealand’s largest city.
It is shaped like a hypodermic needle and stands 328 meters tall. At the very top is an observation deck, a cafe, and the only rotating restaurant in the country.
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In the Southern Hemisphere, it also holds the title of being the structure that is free-standing and the tallest in height.
3. Rotorua’s Te Puia Thermal Reserve
Te Puia Thermal Reserve may be found in the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the southeastern outskirts of Rotorua. The reserve is named after a Maori stronghold from the Middle Ages.
It features a natural geyser that is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, in addition to other geothermal phenomena, the cute national bird, which has its own refuge, and a cultural center that is dedicated to the traditional Maori culture.
4. The Waipoua Forest, Northland
What is it about Waipoua Forest that makes it one of the must-see destinations on the North Island? New Zealand is known for its gorgeous and biodiverse rainforest, much like Nepal is known for its mountains.
One of the few places in the country where kauri trees are protected, the Waipoua Forest Reserve is located a few hours’ drive north of Auckland. This ancient species of pine has the potential to live for more than two millennia and to gradually reach heights of more than 50 meters. Kauri woods were once prevalent over the North Island of New Zealand.
5. Putangirua Pinnacles, New Zealand’s Capital City
In addition to having the best craft beers and specialty coffees in New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington is also close to a number of intriguing tourist attractions and fascinating natural phenomena.
An excellent illustration of this is the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve, which may be found tucked away in the southeast corner of the North Island.
The Putangirua Pinnacles are a forest of rock spires that have been formed as a result of erosion over a period of one hundred thousand years. They are located within the verdant Aorangi Range.
6. Bay of Islands, Urupukapuka Island
Urupukapuka Island is the largest island in the peaceful Bay of Islands, and it is a great spot to go wading, walking, or just relaxing.
Urupukapuka, which translates as “a group of Puka trees” in Maori, seems practically purpose-built for dreamy day trips, its wrinkled shoreline a treasure trove of secluded coves and glittering beaches.
The island is a favorite mooring location for yachts, as is the case with the majority of islands that are naturally gifted.
7. Waiheke Island, in the Vicinity of Auckland
It is easy to see what makes the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf one of New Zealand’s most sought-after destinations once one arrives on Waiheke Island, which is just a short half-hour ferry ride from Auckland. Waiheke Island is located in the Hauraki Gulf.
This bohemian island is a crinkle-edged escape from the urban throng in Auckland. This island is covered in little coves and white-sand beaches. The best part is that its primary commodity is high-quality wine.
8. Tauranga, the City of Hobbiton
In addition to its wine, rugby, and natural beauty, New Zealand is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, which has been featured in a number of films that have achieved international renown. On the North Island of New Zealand, there is a real-life version of Hobbiton that tourists can visit.
These 44 hobbit holes were originally constructed as a temporary set, but in 2010, they were rebuilt to be more permanent in preparation for filming.
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The former farmland, which spans a total area of 14 acres and was selected for its resemblance to a section of medieval England, is open for exploration via guided tours.
9. Sanctuary of Zealandia, Wellington
The Zealandia Sanctuary is a paradise for native species that can be found on the North Island of New Zealand. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island.
This 500-acre eco-reserve, which is intertwined with the western neighborhoods of Wellington, was established thirty years ago to assist in the arresting of the havoc done to the vulnerable native wildlife by exotic predators who hitched a ride on European ships. The sanctuary was formed to help stop the damage.
10. Ruakuri Caves, Auckland
As you make your way down the spiral staircase that leads into the cold dampness of the Ruakuri Caves, which are located approximately an hour’s drive south of Hamilton, the only thing that will be on your mind is gnats.
Ruakuri and the adjacent Waitomo Caves are well-known for housing one of the most significant populations of a species of cave-dwelling gnat that is endemic to New Zealand alone. This gnat is exclusively found in New Zealand.
The tiny, glowing larvae of this species, which develop heavenly communities over the amorphous rock surfaces, are responsible for bringing these remarkable caverns to life.
Everywhere you go, people will exclaim “oohs” and “ahhs” because New Zealand is definitely one of the most magnificent countries on the planet. There is a division that runs down the middle of the country.
Even though the South Island is the more popular of the two islands due to attractions such as Queenstown, Milford Sound, and the glaciers, the North Island offers a wealth of opportunities that should not be passed up.