Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend, or staying for a few weeks to explore everything New Zealand’s North Island has to offer, there’s still no way you can cover everything.
From active volcanoes and geothermal activity, to white sand beaches, city skyscrapers and more sheep on the countryside than you have seen before, New Zealand absolutely has something for everyone.
If you don’t know where to start, try one of these adventures.
30 things to do on New Zealand’s North Island
1. Visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to experience New Zealand’s volcanic zone and the geothermal activity that happens in this region daily. Rotorua
2. Explore Wellington, the country’s capital, and take a ride on the iconic Wellington Cable Car. Wellington (above image from the New Zealand Tourism website)
3. Enjoy a boat ride in the underground rivers at Waitomo Glowworm Caves to see the millions of tiny glowworms in their natural environment. Waitomo
4. Have dinner with the locals at the Tamaki Maori Village to learn more about Maori culture and traditions. Rotorua
5. Visit the Sky Tower in the centre of Auckland. 328 metres in the sky with glass fronted lifts to see the spectacular views all the way up to the viewing platforms, the Sky Tower is the best place to really put Auckland into perspective. Auckland
6. Cruise around the Maori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay to view the incredible 10 metre high rock carvings. Taupo
7. Count sheep as your drive through the beautiful green countryside.
8. Ride a jet boat or take a river cruise to the foot of Huka Falls and feel the power of the water up close and personal. Taupo
9. Take a strenuous 17 kilometre hike past Mount Ngauruhoe and over Mount Tongariro. Ruapehu
10. Take a guided tour of the original Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings movies. Waikato
11. Enjoy a geothermal mud bath at Hell’s Gate, New Zealand’s most active geothermal reserve, with the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere. Rotorua
12. Explore Cathedral Cove. The Coromandel
13. Tandem skydive over Lake Taupo. Taupo
14. Sample some local flavours and pick up some gifts in Hannah’s laneway, Wellington. The lane is a salted caramel, chocolate, craft beer, coffee, handmade soda, pizza and peanut butter heaven, thanks to the amazing stores lining the lane. Wellington
15. Take a guided tour of White Island, New Zealand’s only active marine volcano, and watch steaming vents and crater lakes that change colour and size daily. Bay of Plenty
16. Enjoy a private thermal pool at Polynesian Spa with views over Lake Rotorua. Rotorua
17. Take a scenic flight over a volcano, somewhere on the island!
18. Walk behind the waterfall at Rere Falls. Bay of Plenty
19. Get up close to the giants at Te Papa, the incredible museum of New Zealand which includes exhibits where you can learn about Maori history and our shared Anzac history. Wellington
20. Enjoy a day at SheepWorld to get up close and personal with farm animals and New Zealand culture. Auckland
21. Explore an active geothermal area of mud pools, craters and steaming vents at Craters of the Moon and Orakei Korako. Taupo
22. Experience the finest New Zealand wine by winery hopping around Hawke’s Bay. Hawke’s Bay
23. Take a tour around the working kiwifruit orchard at Kiwi360. Bay of Plenty
24. Stay at Tututaka and learn to deep sea dive at Poor Knights Islands. Bay of Islands
25. Take a 4×4 or hiking tour to see the tall Maori carvings at Mount Hikurangi. Eastland
26. Enjoy a cruise on the PS Waimarie, New Zealand’s only coal fired paddle steamer. Whanganui
27. Fly through the Waiheke Island forest on an EcoZip Adventure flying fox. Auckland
28. Learn all about the way Maori’s used the natural geothermal activity for cooking, bathing and everyday living at Whakarewarewa – The Living Thermal Village. Rotorua
29. Ski on an active volcano at Mt Ruapehu – the home to the Turoa and Whakapapa ski fields.
30. Go surfing at Sandy Bay and take a walk to Whale Bay. Bay of Islands