It is a few years since I travelled through New Zealand. I used the Kiwi Experience bus to get around which as I was there on my own I found to be a great way to meet people. My pass started on the North Island and then made its way down through the South Island. Here’s some of my favourite things I did or saw along the way. This post is just those from the North Island.
- Sail on an Americas Cup boat. The crew were great and even left me in charge of the controls at one point. It was definitely one of the best ways to see Auckland Harbour.
- Dig a hole in the hot water beach. In the Coromandel Peninsular the thermally heated water exposed by digging a hole in the sand is lovely to dip your feet into so take your spade, or just commandeer a trench someone else has left behind.
- Visit Hobbiton! As a massive Lord of the Rings fan I was so excited to stay in Matamata to visit the set of the film. Unfortunately only the bare bones of the set were there when I was however the full set was kept after the filming of the Hobbit films so there is now more to see- I’ll just have to go back!
- Go black water rafting to see the glow worms. There are a couple of trip length options but with all of them you get given a wetsuit and then head inside the cave, jump off waterfalls and float down the river turning off your head torch in time to see the shine from the hordes of glow worms.
- Go on a luge. You can get a cable car up Mount Ngongotaha above Rotorua, then slide down it on a luge for beautiful views and a lot of fun.
- Get cultural at Tamaki Maori Village. Here you learn about the native Maori traditions and dine on food cooked in an underground hangi which was delicious.
- Zorb down the hillside in Rotorua. I didn’t get to do this but after watching people having a go I’m a bit gutted I decided to try and save money as it looked like such a laugh.
- See geothermal wonders. You can do this in Rotorua but I went to the Craters of the Moon Park near Lake Taupo and whilst the smell is rather off-putting it is amazing to see nature at its most dramatic.
- Go horse riding. The New Zealand countryside is a stunning place to jump on horseback. I actually ended up on a private tour which meant we could gallop and jump to our hearts content.
- Visit the Te Papa museum. This is the large museum in Wellington which is huge. I am not usually a fan of museums (I get too easily bored) however even I found this one interesting, there is something for everyone there.
Is there anything else you would add to this list of things to do on New Zealand’s North Island? Do you have any favourite places? I’ll do my South Island picks in my next post.
New Zealand, such an amazing country. Had I not moved to Canada, this would probably be where I settled. I spent 2 months on the NZ coast on my first trip to sea.
We started with 3 weeks in Wellington, during which we played Rugby against Wellington College – since many of them graduated to the “All Blacks” we didn’t fare well.
In Auckland we chartered a small plane and flew down to Rotorua for the day. Simply amazing, and although it was 40 years ago, I still recall it clearly.
A couple of North Island highlights you didn’t mention was the amazing Bay of Islands and New Plymouth. We spent a week in the Bay of Islands, visiting the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where they signed the UK/Maori treaty. We also visited Russell, spending a few hours in the Maritime Museum.
The New Zealand people were simply brilliant and we received numerous requests on the ship for cadets to visit local families. We were picked up from the docks and driven to people’s homes for dinner and to meet the family.
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I didn’t have time to go North of Auckland unfortunately but I would do that when I make it back.
I saw a few rugby matches whilst there. My dads old school were on tour there so went to watch them then I also went to a pro game in Wellington and one in Christchurch (hence I’m going to have that in my South Island post) which is definitely an experience. Their fans are so different to those back at home I found.
Yes I loved New Zealand and came back desperate to relocate there. It’s still a possibility for a little bit later in life!
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I cannot forget the majestic sceneries in North Island. New Zealand really got a lot to offer.
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Very true. The south islands not too bad either 🙂