The North Island offers some iconic experiences, especially on a boring weekend. Taking advantage of one of these experiences could be the pick-me-up you need this month. From bathing in natural hot pools to indulging in the finest New Zealand cuisine, we’ve found something for everyone to enjoy. Here’s 11 exciting North Island experiences to relish in this season.
1. Poor Knights Island
This spot offers the greatest water adventure in New Zealand. Just 23km off the Tutukaka Coast, lies this surreal Nature and Marine Reserve. With spectacular underwater life, from arches and caves, to ancient volcanoes and fish…it is one of the top 10 diving spots on the planet. Go with Dive Tutukaka for the ultimate adventure. Indeed, an unmissable experience for water lovers this season.
📍 Northland, New Zealand
2. Rotorua Mud Pools
Rotorua is one of the most unforgettable places in New Zealand. It’s an epic geothermal utopia with mud pools, natural hot springs, majestic forests and volcanic lakes. You can’t go to this place without experiencing one of nature’s greatest creations – the bubbling mud pools at Hells Gate. Feel all your anxieties melt away as you cover yourself in mud and indulge in this therapeutic insta-worthy mud bath.
📍 Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand
3. Knoll Ridge Café
Normally a ski destination in winter, this café is New Zealand’s highest dining experience in Whakapapa. First, take the Sky Waka gondola to 2020m above sea level which offers majestic views all year around. Indulge on a variety of snacks and coffees in the award-winning sky-high café, take in the views and cosy up behind large glass windows.
📍 Whakapapa Ski Area, 4691, New Zealand
4. The Lost Spring Hot Pools
Since Kiwi’s adore hot pool experiences, we couldn’t not mention some iconic hot pools on the North Island. Unwind after a long week at The Lost Spring in the Coromandel region. Similarly, there’s a fantastic one called Polynesian Spa in Lake Rotorua. Indeed, one dip in a hot pool and you’ll feel all your troubles melt away.
📍 Various Locations
5. Hawke’s Bay
Just four hours drive, Hawke’s Bay offers stunning adventures, delicious grub from Farmers Markets, and plenty to explore. The picturesque town of Napier has carefully preserved world-class 1930s architecture and is a must-see in this region. You’ll get all the Great Gatsby vibes through its art deco facades, vintage cars and streetscapes. Course, you won’t be short of budget-friendly places to stay.
Head on a magical weekend away and discover natural wonders by taking in the stunning views at Lake Taupo. Adventure lovers will be in their element here with plenty of cycling routes and terrific adrenaline activities. Likewise, you can sooth your tensions in tranquil and rare hot pools. Visit their Instagram feed for more inspiration.
Another lovely place to visit for the greatest North Island experiences. From taking a guided boat tour through the epic underground glow worm caves and limestone caverns to black water rafting on underground rivers and abseiling 100m into Lost World to explore the Mangapu Streamway. However, this spot is almost six hours drive so you’ll need to make a full weekend out of it.
8. Unusual Staycations
Check out our list of unique and bizarre North Island accommodations which offers the perfect new summer experience.
9. Pouakai Crossing
Grab your hiking boots and hike up the mind-blowing Mount Taranaki on a spectacular 19km trail. We believe it is an excellent day trip. Although, for the greatest experience, pack some camping gear and pitch a tent on route. With unmissable photo opportunities, it is one of the most instagrammable places in New Zealand.
If you find yourself in Auckland, immerse yourself in endless culture, iconic landmarks and plenty of summer food scenes. Be sure to take the short ferry to Waiheke Island for a fabulous day of views and wine tasting trails. Opt to zipline across the native bush for some extra fun then head down to one of the incredible vineyards to indulge on some tasty food and wine.
11. Nelson And Abel Tasman
OK, so we are cheating. This piece of paradise is on the South Island. But, we’ve included it because you can take a 30-minute quick flight from Wellington. There are plenty of activities awaiting you and tourist attractions like one of New Zealand’s greatest National Parks and The World Of Wearable Art Museum. Indeed, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a tropical weekend adventure.