Discover the best things to do in New Zealand North Island! Think the South Island of New Zealand is where all the adventure is? Think again!
There’s no shortage of things to do in New Zealand North Island – so if you’re busy planning your dream trip to NZ make sure you leave plenty of time to fit in all the amazing destination and activities it has to offer!
Even though the South Island of New Zealand often takes the limelight for all the epic adventures the North Island has heaps of incredible destinations, from Auckland to Raglan, Rotorua to Wellington.
So to show you that the North Island can easily hold its own, here are some of my favourite things to do in New Zealand North Island…
The Most Epic Things To Do In New Zealand North Island
1.Kayak Around Cathedral Cove
New Zealand is all about the stunning natural beauty of the country, so why not explore the coastline from a different perspective in a sea kayak?
The crew of Cathedral Cove Kayaks will take you on a guided trip around this beautiful part of NZ teaching you about its history, Maori legends, and even make you a hot coffee at Cathedral Cove itself.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be joined by some of the local dolphins or if you’re REALLY lucky, the area is often frequented by orca whales too!
2. Cape Reinga
Ok so this isn’t an activity as such, but if you have the time, get yourself up to the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga on a day trip to the most northern point of New Zealand.
Cruise along 90 Mile Beach, take some pics of the stunning coastal views, check out the lighthouse and even see where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean ocean meet.
Skydiving is another one of those bucket list items you just have to tick off at some point, so why not do yours in New Zealand?
For stunning views, Hahei offers the chance to jump over the Bay of Islands which is always an epic experience, and for those who want to get the most out of their money, Taupo is the cheapest spot to skydive in the whole of New Zealand…plus you get picked up in a limo!
4. Visit The Auckland SkyTower – And Jump Off It!
Talking about jumping off of things, the Auckland Skytower is the highest building in New Zealand – so why not head to the top and soak up the views…before leaping off the side with the crew of AJ Hackett in the SkyJump experience!?!
Fall 192m and reach speeds of up to 85kmph all with epic views of the city and North Island!
5. Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
The Waitomo caves are famous for their sparkling caverns of glow worms – but how you experience them is where the real fun comes in!
For those looking for a relaxing (and dry!) experience, the Waitomo Caves Guided Tour tour offers a tranquil gondola ride into one of the more open caves where you’ll get to enjoy a guided tour and see a huge display of glow worms.
If you fancy a bit more adrenaline and adventure then the TumuTumu Toobing and Haggas Honking Holes tours are the way to go!
Get into some proper caving with the Haggas Honking Holes trip where you’ll crawl, squeeze and abseil 80m under the ground (my personal favourite), or if you want your adrenaline but want to stay dry the Lost World Tour offers an epic 100m abseil into a cavern – if you’re brave enough!
6. Learn To Surf In Raglan
You know I love surfing – so of course I’m going to be a big fan of Raglan, the surfing hub of NZ!
Join the crew of Raglan Surf School and hit the waves at the beautiful black sand beach break.
If you already surf, rent a board in town and head to the famous Manu Bay – one of the longest left-hand point breaks in the world, as featured on the Endless Summer movie.
7. Discover More About Maori Culture
Make sure you take the time to learn more about the Maori culture whilst you’re in New Zealand – their stories, legends and traditions have had a huge impact on the country.
From legends of how the island were pulled from the sea to the stories behind the mountains that cover the landscape and meanings behind the famous jade stone pendants – there’s a lot to learn about the Maori history and culture.
Stops like Tamaki Maori Village offer a great insight into the culture or check out Kohutapu Lodge at Lake Aniwhenua for a modern twist and heaps of fun!
8. Chill In Your Own Beach Spa At Hot Water Beach
Everyone loves lazing at the beach right? Well what if I told you there’s a spot on the North Island of New Zealand where you can literally dig your own spa pool in the sand?
The aptly named Hot Water Beach has a network of natural hot springs bubbling out of the sand and at low tide you can grab a spade, dig a hole, and let it fill with the volcanic waters – a perfect way to warm up and relax!
Careful though, you’d be surprised how hot the water can actually get!
9. Visit Te Papa Museum
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum in the capital of Wellington. It’s worth checking out when you’re there, with a range of exhibits. Unfortunately, the popular earthquake simulator is no longer there, but there are some big new installations being finished up towards the end of the year, so let me know what they’re like!
…and best of all it’s totally free!
10. Tuck Into A Hangi
No trip to New Zealand is complete without enjoying some true Maori hospitality with a traditional Hangi feast!
Cooked in a pit filled with hot rocks, these earth ovens produce an incredible smokey, steamed feast and will be one of the best feeds you have on the road!
The perfect way to refuel after an epic day of New Zealand adventure and enjoy some true Kiwi hospitality.
11. Tackle The Worlds Highest Commercial Waterfall
White water rafting is one of those activities you have to try at least once somewhere on your travels. And if you’re going to tick it off your bucket list, you might as well go all out, right?
Join the crew of Kaitiaki Adventures on their Kaituna Rafting trip which includes the highest commercial waterfall in the world – an adrenaline inducing 7m drop!
Your half-day trip winds through some stunning New Zealand native rainforest so make sure you take the time to look around and appreciate it in between throwing yourself down rapids and waterfalls!
12. Discover Real Middle Earth At Hobbiton
“We’re going on an adventure!” – it’s no secret than New Zealand was the epic backdrop to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies and Matamata on the North Island (about 45 mins from Rotorua) is home to the Hobbiton Movie set.
Whether you’re a fan of the movies or not thie guided tours here will teach you heaps of behind the scenes trivia, fill your camera with amazing photos and you’ll even get to enjoy a cold pint at the famous Green Dragon pub.
Easily the most popular thing to do in New Zealands North Island – with over 500,000 visitors last year alone!
13. Geothermal Fun
NZ is covered in volcanoes (in fact the whole of Lake Taupo is the product of a huge volcanic eruption), and with so much underground activity going on, it’s bound to bubble to the surface.
So check out some of the weird and wonderful geothermal sites in and around Rotorua like Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – from bubbling mud pools and erupting geysers, to orange rimmed sulphur lakes.
There are plenty free options too – so no need to break your budget checking them out.
14. Get Back To Nature At Blue Duck
For those travelling around New Zealand by campervan or car, you’ve got the opportunity to get well off the beaten track and discover the hidden gem of Blue Duck Station.
With no signal and limited wifi this forced digital detox will get you back to nature and help you appreciate the epic landscape of the North Island
From clay pigeon shooting to river kayaking, it’s all about the great outdoors – you even have the opportunity to hunt for wild goats (a huge pest in NZ) and shoot your own dinner!
…and if you’re travelling with Stray New Zealand this will no doubt be one of your favourite stops.