Guide to Exploring New Zealand’s North Island

17 August, 2017

North Island of New Zealand is a popular destination for tourists and those who seek adventure. It is famous for being called the “City of Sails” because it is a huge island surrounded by other smaller islands and bays. The island has a lot for a person to see and explore including active volcanoes, dense rainforests, rugged mountains, beautiful beaches and more. The largest city in the country Auckland is also located in North Island. The place is so magical and beautiful that it was used as the location for sets of the Lord of The Rings movies.

Even if you are not a Lord of The Rings fan, you would still appreciate the raw beauty of the place. You can plan your trip any way you like, but the perfect way to be able to see the whole island, and its best features, is to take a road trip. There are many routes you could take but the one that stretches from Auckland till Wellington and is 460 miles long. Be prepared for long 3-4 hour drives – get a wireless data router so that you can keep up to date with the latest news, Facebook friends’ updates and mobile pokies reviews. You would be able to see volcanoes, farmlands, mountains and lakes that make the island so attractive.

north island new zealand travel scenery

Editorial credit: Milonk /

Start your trip from Auckland by visiting the Auckland Museum that houses art showcasing the country’s European and Polynesian history and heritage. You could also get to witness a cultural performance representing the Maori culture which is spread out in the North Island. Then head towards Huapai to taste the wines of Coopers Creek Vineyard, or watch a jazz concert that they host on Sundays. You could also go to the Elephant house to look at artwork from Kiwi artists that are for sale. Then get ready to hike through the Waikato region. Explore the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve, the Karioi Summit Track, Port Waikato, or visit Hobbiton which was the movie set for Lord of The Rings.

hobbiton new zealand north island

Editorial credit: Kim Howell /

Continue towards the volcanic region of Rotorua, where you could visit Hell’s Gate and Wai Ora Spa parks. The region has active volcanoes making the streets steamier. Then head towards Hamilton to rest and eat along with drinking the regional wine and enjoying the local Maori music. You can visit the largest lake of the country Lake Taupo, cruise along the Western Bays, hike in the Kaimanawa Forest Park, explore the country’s culture at Foxton, and then end your trip in the country’s capital, Wellington.

lake taupo north island new zealand

Editorial credit: Boyloso /

In Wellington, you could go to restaurants, museums, shops, and even the movie set locations of Lord of The Rings. Then visit the Karori Sanctuary to look at endangered and exotic animals like the Saddleback birds and tuatara. After sightseeing and exploring the island for days, you could stop by at Bodega which is the entertainment and nightlife center of North Island. You could taste the local beer they brew at the Tuatara Brewing Company and get entertained by the performances of local New Zealand artists and musicians. This road trip could last for about four to five days if you follow the State Highways 1, 5 and 47.

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

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