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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 attractions in North Island for Fall

#1
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
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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
#6
Mt. Tarawera

Mt. Tarawera

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Mt. Tarawera’s claim to fame is its historic 1866 eruption that destroyed the recognizable Pink and White Terraces. Today, it's the center of a geothermal wonderland and a compelling attraction in its own right—take a guided tour to the mountain’s peak, or visit the many valleys and lakes carved out and altered by the 19th-century eruption.More
#7
Wellington Cable Car

Wellington Cable Car

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Operating since 1902, the Wellington Cable Car is one of the city’s most famous sights. The ride, from the central business district to the city’s tranquil botanic garden, offers a stunning light show inside the tunnels as well as gorgeous vistas of Mount Victoria and Wellington Harbour as you reach the top.More
#8
Mt. Victoria Lookout

Mt. Victoria Lookout

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Looming out of the land at the end of Courtenay Place, Mt. Victoria is deeply embedded in the life of Wellington’s central city. Standing at more than 640 feet (195 meters) at its highest point, the Mt. Victoria Lookout offers 360-degree views of Wellington stretching out past the scenic harbor.More
#9
Auckland Domain

Auckland Domain

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Enjoy the peace and tranquility of forests, gullies, and green spaces in Auckland Domain, a 185-acre (75-hectare) escape from the frantic Queen Street crowds. Get lost on a nature walk, admire the tropical plants at the Wintergarden, and marvel at the history on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.More
#10
Huka Falls

Huka Falls

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Just outside of Taupo, Huka Falls is one of the most visited natural attractions on New Zealand’s North Island. Waikato River’s largest falls are fed by Australasia’s biggest freshwater lake, Lake Taupo. Explore the footbridge for a bird’s-eye view of the falls or walk along the Huka Falls Trail, which follows the river.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

Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland
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Hobbiton Movie Set Small Group Tour from Auckland
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Auckland Harbour Sailboat Cruise Including Three Course Dinner
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Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
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Waitomo Caves & Rotorua Small Group Tour including Te Puia from Auckland
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Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo
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Ziplining Forest Adventure - The Original Canopy Tour Rotorua
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Coast and Rainforest Eco-Tour from Auckland with Lunch
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Ziplining Forest Experience - The Ultimate Canopy Tour Rotorua
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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 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
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!
Lauren_R, Aug 2019
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided 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-4
Great tour with a few notes
Jenny_H, 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
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-5
Excellent guide, well informed, it's...
chiho_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...
PeterJoseph_E, May 2018
Small-Group Coromandel Peninsula Day Trip from Auckland
We got to see many lambs, green pastures, and views of the rugged coastline.
star-4
If you're a fan of the LoTR films...
Louise A, Aug 2017
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided 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-5
Had a wonderful time on this tour...
Abhijit_K, 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.
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
Fantastic tour! This was a great way...
Amruta H, Apr 2016
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
This was a great way to see 3 defining sites of the North Island in just 1 day.
star-5
This tour was great because it...
Annabeth G, Aug 2016
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
We only had one full day in New Zealand, so we wanted to see as much as we could.
star-4
This is a great tour for fans of the...
Laurie_K, Jan 2017
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
This is a great tour for fans of the Lord of the Rings and those who want to visit New Zealand's version of Yellowstone National Park, Rotorua.
Frequently Asked Questions
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