North Island of New Zealand is known for its amazing beaches, surfing, small islands, geothermal areas and beautiful nature. If you need inspirations and ideas for your next travel then read our post below with 15 reasons to visit New Zealand (part 1 – North Island).
Whether it’s your first trip to New Zealand or you are wondering what else to see in this beautiful country, you will surely find something new here to inspire your next visit to the North Island. It has a diverse landscape and you can find there snowy mountains as well as warm sunny beaches. Whether you’re looking for backpacking around the country or staying in hotels and taking guided tours – there is something for everybody.
I’m starting with my favourite city in New Zealand – Auckland!
Auckland is the largest city in the country. It lies between two harbours – Hauraki Gulf to the east and Manukau Harbour to the south-west. Auckland is also known as City of Sails. Its Westhaven Marina with all the yachts and boats is the biggest marina in the Southern Hemisphere.
Stroll on long western beaches of the Auckland region covered in black volcanic sand. Sail in Auckland harbor. Enjoy the view from one of the volcanic cones or get down to the crater of a dormant volcano. Have a picnic in one of the many green parks or east coast beaches of the city. Go on a wine tasting tour. Jump from Sky Tower (seriously, I did!) if you dare. There is so much to see and do in this big and vibrant city, that it’s alone is enough reason to visit New Zealand’s North Island.
Read some ideas on things to see and do in Auckland in one day.
There are so many waterfalls in New Zealand and a lot of them are on the North Island. Here is a site I recommend (used it myself many times) when looking for info on New Zealand waterfalls – http://waterfalls.co.nz/
Who doesn’t love spending time on a beach? Going for a swim, snorkeling or surfing in summer. Going for a picnic, walking along the water or birds watching in any other time of the year.
North Island has so many beautiful beaches – family friendly beaches, beaches with huge waves great for surfing, black sand beaches, white sand beaches, marine reserves great for snorkeling, crystal clear turquoise water beaches – anything you like! Whatever type of a beach you prefer – it’s there, on the North Island!
Some of the things you will find on Coromandel Peninsula – breathtaking views, beaches with golden sand, fishes and stingrays swimming at your feet. Gold mining history and museums. Cathedral Cove beach – place where The Chronicles of Narnia scenes where filmed. Hot water beach – beach with natural hot water suitable for bathing in any time of the year.
Coromandel Peninsula is a popular holiday destination in New Zealand. You spend there few days exploring its landscapes and seascapes, or just visit as a one day trip from Auckland.
Did you know that until 17th century people didn’t know that black swans exist? They used “black swan” phrase to refer to something non-existent. Only after these birds were discovered by Europeans in 17th century the phrase “black swan” was changed to mean something rare and unusual.
But in New Zealand black swans are as common as their white relatives. You can find black swans inhabiting many lakes and ponds throughout North Island.
New Zealand is famous for its wines. The country’s natural environment is perfect for growing and making wines. There are many wineries and vineyards in New Zealand, and in North Island in particular. You can go wine tasting on your own or take one of the guided wine tours.
Matakana, Waiheke Island, Kumeu, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne – just to name a few wine regions in the North Island.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and its second biggest city (after Auckland). The city is surrounded by hills and there are many viewpoints to admire views over Wellington city. If you can’t or don’t want to climb the hills, take a cable car – easy!
Home to Te Papa national museum, famous parliament building ‘The Beehive’, Weta workshop and Weta Cave film studio, Wellington is high on our list of 15 reasons to visit New Zealand’s North Island.
There are many geologically active areas on the North Island of New Zealand. Such attractions as geothermal parks and volcanic cones attracts many tourists every year. In New Zealand you can find geysers, hot springs, geothermal parks, dormant and active volcanoes.
Speaking of dormant volcanoes – there are several of those in Auckland region. Take a boat trip and then climb on top of volcanic island Rangitoto, walk up to North Head or Mt. Victoria to enjoy view of Auckland and its harbor, or get down to the crater of Mt. Eden (picture above). Something you won’t find in many other countries around the world.
Read our dedicated post on 20+ Volcanoes to see in Auckland
Fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies? Welcome to the Middle Earth! Many filming locations of Peter Jackson’s movies are here, on the North Island. Among them are Matamata (photo above), Wellington region and Tongariro National Park (see below).
Read our article about Visiting The Hobbiton in Middle Earth.
Tongariro National Park
We have been there so many times and every time we find something new and want to go there again and again. From skiing resorts, to numerous walking tracks and waterfalls, and to well known Tongariro Alpine Crossing with its dramatic landscapes. Tongariro National Park is a must visit when travelling in the North Island.
Besides two major islands – North and South Islands – New Zealand consists of many more small islands. You can visit them for nature, birds watching, bush walking, fishing, kayaking and so on. Bay of Islands is known for its many small islands with beautiful beaches and marine life. Rangitoto island – an iconic dormant volcano island in Auckland. Mayor island in Tauranga region, Goat Island with its marine reserve, Great Barrier Island – just to name a few.
Waipoua Forest on North Island is the home of a giant 2000 years old kauri tree. Tane Mahuta (also called Lord of the Forest) is known not only for its age, but as the largest kauri tree known today.
Waipoua Forest has many well marked tracks, where you can have pleasant walks among New Zealand native forest and enjoy the nature.
Next in our ’15 reasons to visit New Zealand (part 1 – North Island)’ are caves. There are many caves in the North Island, some of them are free and others are accessible with guided tours only.
One of the most popular caves on North Island are Waitomo caves. There you can see stalactites and stalagmites of bizarre shapes, famous glow worms (worms that literally glow in the dark) and even experience swimming in underground rivers with ‘black water rafting’ tours.
Breathtaking views and landscapes
It’s hard to stop listing the reasons to visit New Zealand. There are countless places to see and things to experience in the North Island alone. After living in New Zealand for more than 10 years, we have visited so many places and took so many pictures that it’s just impossible to list here all of them.
We think New Zealand is one the most beautiful countries in the world and we highly recommend visiting it. Surely, after being here once you will want to visit it again and again, as there are so many places to see and explore.
Continue reading 15 reasons to visit New Zealand (part 2 – South Island) or see our other posts about New Zealand to read more about places to visit and things to experience.
Liked the post? Pin it for later:
If you are planning to come to New Zealand during Covid related border restrictions you will have to spend two weeks in a quarantine or isolation. Check out our Survivor’s guide to managed isolation in New Zealand to know what to expect from the mandatory isolation along with our tips on how to better prepare for it.