• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

North Island of New Zealand

Discover the natural beauty of the North Island with it’s volcanoes, geysers, forests and fascinating cities. This itinerary provides a comprehensive experience of the north island of New Zealand.

Summary

North Island of New Zealand

Discover the natural beauty of the North Island with it’s volcanoes, geysers, forests and fascinating cities.

Day 1: Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel

DAy 8: Rotorua

Day 10: Whakatane

Day12: Gisborne

Day 13: Napier

Day 15: Wellington

Day 17: Martinborough

Day 18: Tongariro

Day 20: Matamata/Hamilton

Day 21: Auckland

Description

Description

Day 1: Auckland

Auckland is quite a large city by New Zealand standards, and certainly the busiest you will come across.  Attractions include the Skytower, the Viaduct Basin, various museums and possibly a day out to Waiheke Island.  The Viaduct Basin was built to host the Americas Cup a few years ago – and there are Americas Cup yachts in the basin that offer sailing trips out into the Hauraki Gulf.

Two nights Auckland

Day 3: Bay of Islands

The very northern tip of the North Island is well worth a visit. The towns of Paihia and Russell are on opposite sides of the estuary, and from a base here, you might like to explore Cape Reinga and Ninety-mile Beach. The Waitangi Treaty was signed near Paihia.

Three nights Bay of Islands

Day 6: Coromandel

Coming south through Auckland, and then to the east is the Coromandel Peninsular.  This is home to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, and has some lovely scenery, with rain forest in the central spine.  There is some old mining history here for those interested, and good sea fishing as well.

Two nights Coromandel

Day 8: Rotorua

Rotorua was the original tourist destination in the 1800’s, featuring the extraordinary pink and white terraces, which were destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the 1880’s.  Visit the Museum where you can learn about the devastating eruption, followed by a visit to Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Craft Centre.  Te Puia is also home to Whakawerawera thermal reserve.  Follow this with a visit to the Buried Village – the remains of the devastation of the 1880’s, and finally Lake Tarawera.  There are also a number of other thermal parks around the area.

Two nights Rotorua

Day 10: Whakatane

Heading to the coast, Whakatane borders the Bay of Plenty and is best known as the gateway to White Island. The island is home to an active volcano, with steam pretty constantly expelled from it, along with the smell of sulphur. Take a trip by boat, or see the island from the air by helicopter. It is possible (dependent on volcanic activity) to take a walk of the inner crater – quite a unique experience.

Two nights Whakatane

Day 12: Gisborne

There are two routes to Gisborne, and if time allows for the longer route, the coastal State Highway 35 is ‘off the beaten track’ and beautifully scenic. Gisborne itself is the first city in the world to see the sun of each new day, and is home to some lovely beaches.

One night Gisborne

Day 13: Napier

Hawke Bay is surrounded by a circle of rugged hills, giving it its unique micro-climate, and making it the perfect location for vineyards and market gardens.  Cape Kidnappers is here, if birds are of interest to you and there are some good views to be had from Te Mata Peak.  Napier itself suffered a major earthquake in the 1930’s and was rebuilt in Art Deco style.

Two nights Napier

Day 15: Wellington

This is the capital city and apart from the parliament buildings and botanical gardens, it is also home to the wonderful Te Papa Museum. It is also a unique building in that the foundations are built like a sponge and sit squarely on a major fault.  They are built to withstand quite a sizeable tremor.

Two nights Wellington

Day 17: Martinborough

Martinborough is located in the heart of the Wairarapa wine region. This is lesser known than Hawke Bay, but well worth a visit for wine aficionados. It’s also a great region for fresh produce, and as a result there are some excellent restaurants in the area.

One night Martinborough

Day 18: Tongariro

This is a National Park and home to several volcanoes – Mt Ruapehu amongst them.  There is also a long distance walking trail here – the Tongariro crossing, which is not an easy walk but with stunning scenery.

Two nights Tongariro

Before heading to Tongariro if time allows, you might like to add in a side trip to the west of the island. Visit Wanganui, and try jetboating, or head into Wanganui National Park for one of the Department of Conservation’s ‘Great Walks’ – except this one is technically a kayaking trip instead of a walk! Also visit the coastal town of New Plymouth – popular for surfers, but also the gateway to Egmont National Park and Mt Taranaki.

Day 20: Matamata/Hamilton

Located on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton and the surrounding Waikato region are well known for farming. The nearby small town of Matamata is home to Hobbiton – the movie set for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises. Also in the Waikato region are the Waitomo glow worm caves, with gentle boat trips offered alongside extreme activities such as black water rafting.

One night Matamata/Hamilton

Day 21: Depart Auckland

Return to Auckland for the onward or homeward journey.

Picture courtesy of Adventure HQ

Picture courtesy of Adventure HQ

Picture courtesy of Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Picture courtesy of Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Little Gems

Little Gems

Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the sun of each new day, so make sure you set your alarm, find a nice spot and watch the sunrise.

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