Did you know that New Zealand is two main islands (North and South Island) and several smaller islands? We travelled 5.000 km across both main islands for one month and here is our summary of the best places to visit on the North Island.
The country’s largest city (but not the capital!) is a great starting point for your trip. Auckland is surrounded by 53 inactive volcanoes and has a lot to offer, as about a third of New Zealand’s population lives there. Here you can find our full travel guide of Auckland.
Just about 5 minutes walking distance from State Highway 12 there is NZ largest Kauri tree, a forest giant called „Tane Mahuta“. These Kauri trees have a very spiritual meaning for the Maori (the native New Zealand) people, “they are the forefathers of life”. Tane Mahuta is around 2.000 years old, 51 meters high and 13,8 meters once around. The Waipoua Kauri Forest is a mystical place for nature lovers and definitely a must see.
The most beautiful lake by far was also on the North Island, Lake Kaiiwi has a fine white sandy beach that stretches alongside the whole lake, so there is enough space for a relaxing picnic. The crystal clear shore is very shallow und ideal to cool down your feet.
Did you watch the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings? To be honest we only managed to watch the trilogy of the Hobbit while we were in New Zealand. As we are #TeamHarryPotter we lack a bit behind the movies. Because the Hobbit trilogy was completely filmed on NZ North and South island it was a definite must for us to visit Hobbiton in Matamata. This sheep farm in Matamata offers the Hobbit feeling, you can visit many of the typical Hobbit houses and many other sceneries of the movies as well.
Te Puia is a great place to learn more about the Maori culture and art. We enjoyed a guided tour through the village in Rotorua and learned a lot about this culture. Apart from carved boats, houses and Maori art, Te Puia also offers admirable geysers where the water erupts every hour. If you choose the „Steambox lunch“ you can enjoy a traditionally prepared Maori dish that is cooked with a certain technique the Maoris used to cook their meals many years ago.
Hukafalls Jet Boat Tour
NZ offers many extreme activities and a jet boat tour is a definite must do here. a special experience is a tour on NZ’s longest river, Waikato river. You can have a very special encounter with the Hukafalls as you can get really close with the jet boat.
In the center of the North Island there is the idyllic lake Taupo. Apart from kayak tours, waterski and several other watersport activities the absolute highlight is a sail boat tour to the Maori rock carvings. These carvings are quite a distance from the starting point and only to be seen from the water. We chose a tour with the Sail Barbary, they offered warm full body ponchos for the rough sea as well as hot tea, and they went really close to the rock carvings, so we had great photo opportunities.
Apart from being sensationally beautiful, the Tongariro National Park is also very famous, most of you will recognize the scenery from the ‘Lord of the rings’ trilogy where these mountains are known as the dark kingdom of Mordor. Real Lord of the rings fans will remember mount Ngauruhoe (this is its real name) as Mount Doom from the movies. As mentioned before, we unfortunately couldn’t watch all the Lord of the Rings movies. But still, this national park is a pristine highlight for everyone, not just for fans of the trilogy. The main attraction is a day trip (the Tongariro Alpine Crossing) an approximately 20km hike through the beautiful craterlike volcano scenery or you can chose (as we did due to a tight schedule) a scenic flight in a small aircraft over this breathtaking scenery. This was one of the best highlights during our complete trip!
NZ is a divers country that offers so much to do and see and we’d like to recommend this to the fullest. Have you ever been to New Zealand or did our travel guide inspire you to go? We’re looking forward to your comments and feedback
Thanks to Tourism New Zealand for these free activities provided.