12 Things to Do in New Zealand's North Island

My New Zealand Adventure: 12 Things to Do in the North Island

New Zealand's North Island is full of adventures every first-time traveller should experience. Start off with this list!

Contributed by Chinito Wander

Visiting New Zealand for the first time was really exciting. Being a sucker for nature, I was imagining all sorts of natural scenery that the country is well-known for.

New Zealand is divided into two main islands — the North and the South. Way back in 2014, I had the opportunity to visit a couple of places in the North Island, and I’m sharing with you my experiences which I believe would be worth your time when you get the chance to explore this amazing country.

In no particular order:

Also read: 15 Must Visit Attractions in New Zealand’s North Island

1. Chill at the Largest City in NZ – Auckland

nz north island

There are tons of sights to see and fun stuff to do in Auckland — from bungee jumping at the famous Auckland Sky Tower and visiting New Zealand’s largest transport and technology museum MOTAT to basking in the sun at the Naked Beach.

2. Get a sun-kissed skin at the 90 Mile Beach

nz north island

Renowned for spectacular sunsets and boasting one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world, 90 Mile Beach is an almost never-ending paradise. The beach and its northern dunes are a tourist destination. The dunes, looking much like a desert landscape, are often used for body boarding which leads us to the next activity.

nz north island

3.  Go sand boarding at Waipapakauri Sand Dunes

Upon heading to Cape Reinga, do not forget to have a quick stop at Waipapakauri Sand Dunes and have some quick adrenaline rush by doing sand boarding. Yes, New Zealand has vast desert sand dunes and has the tallest sand boarding slide I’ve tried so far.

4. Experience geothermal activity in Rotoroa

Thermal activity is at the heart of Rotorua’s tourist appeal. Geysers, bubbling mud pools and hot thermal springs are within easy reach in Rotorua.

Also read: 10 Incredible Day Hikes in New Zealand

5. Visit the Bilbo Baggins House in Matamata

Welcome to the Lord of the Rings movie set! The town is where the famous Baggins lives.

6. Explore the Waipoa Forest, “Home of the Lord of the Forest”

Meet Tane Mahuta “Lord of the Forest”Waipoua Forest preserves some of the best examples of Kauri forest remaining in New Zealand and home to the country’s largest living Kauri Tree. The forest was declared a sanctuary in 1952, and a community-based volunteer organisation, the Waipoua Forest Trust, helps maintain the forest.

7. Commune with history and nature at Wairiri Boulders Nature Park

Around 2.8 million years ago, there was a volcano in the area which poured out a basalt layer. This covered the land which is now known as Wairere Valley. The boulders in the Wairere Valley are the erosional remnants of a Horeke basalt flow that has been dated between 2.67 and 2.84 million years old.

Location: The Wairere Boulders Nature Park or Ecotourism Adventure Park is located in the Hokianga Harbour area on the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island

8. Be amazed by the stars inside Kawiti Glow Worm Cave

Explore the world famous milky way in a cavern filled with glow worms as far as the eye can see. Journey underground through networks of stalactites and stalagmites to hidden chambers like the Waiomio night sky where the glow worms are so close, you can almost touch them.

Also read: 12 Spectacular Must-See Attractions in New Zealand for Your First Trip

Located right in the heart of the Waiomio Valley, the Kawiti Caves are home to thousands of luminous glow worms, breathtaking rock formations and lush green rainforest. Since the glow worms are highly photo-sensitive, no flash is allowed when taking pictures.

9. Be mesmerised by the beauty of the Hamilton Gardens

Image credit: Hamiltongardens

Hamilton is the country’s fourth most populous city. Don’t miss the chance to visit the famous Hamilton Gardens. The garden has several spectacular concepts from Indian Char Bagh Garden to Italian Renaissance Garden and some famous Asian Themed gardens.

10. Get to see Narnia up close at Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula is the home of the famous Cathedral Cove where “Narnia – Prince Caspian” movie was shot. Aside from the cove, Coromandel also features amazing star gazing spots and a ”Hot Water Beach” whose name is derived from the underground hot springs filtered through the sand between the high and low water tidal reaches. The beach is a popular destination both for locals and tourists visiting New Zealand.

Also read: 14 Days DIY Travel in New Zealand

11. Take off on a plane glider at Kaikohe

Flying without the assistance of an engine is something that everybody should do at least once in a lifetime. It is quiet except for the sound of the wind, and it provides you with a whole new perspective of the world below.

There are many plane gliding spots and clubs in New Zealand but I was able to experience it in Kaikohe.

Kaikohe Gliding Club
Kaikohe Airfield, New Zealand
Name: Peter Fiske
Phone: (09) 407-8454
Group: Club

12. See the breathtaking view of Cape Reinga

Last but not the least, Cape Reinga. It is located at the northern tip of New Zealand. The area is considered as a separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The two great seas clash within a specific time of the year wherein you can see two distinct colours — navy blue on one side and turquoise green on the other.

Cape Reinga is on the tentative list of UNESCO, waiting to receive a World Heritage Site status.The cape is already a favourite tourist attraction, with over 120,000 visitors a year and around 1,300 cars arriving per day during peak season.

Also read: New Zealand’s Top 10 Holiday Activities

About Author

Willester Yap
Willester Yap

A chinito who wanders places that are intruiging and fascinating to both the eyes and mind. He aims to inspire others to captivate what the world has to offer and how to enjoy life through budget friendly travel escapades. Tag along with his blog, it might surprise you where he will go next.


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