Relatively small in size but grand in nature, New Zealand’s North Island is the perfect place for a roadtrip – here’s how to fully experience everything the island has to offer!
New Zealand: A Roadtrip Across the Most Beautiful Country in the World (North Island)
I don’t think anyone can do justice when describing this magnificent place, it is truly heaven on earth. Home to over 4.5 million people, New Zealand is a relatively small country. However, the size does not stop for it to being one of the most remarkable, stunning, and phenomenal nations in the world.
Over the years, it has also won several awards for being the safest country in the world. The land is also famous for one of its most beloved animals, sheep. There are over 30 million sheep in the country, nearly 1-in-7 for each person living there.
There are three official languages in New Zealand: English, Maori, New Zealand sign language. The country is also divided into two parts; the South Island and the North Island. Each area of the country has something extraordinary to offer. From active volcanoes to glaciers, to whale watching, and to the most beautiful hiking trails in the world – prepare yourself for the most unforgettable experience of your life.
We will break down this series into two articles, the North Island and the South Island, so readers can get detailed information about each of the islands. These articles will hopefully help you book your perfect 14-day itinerary for a remarkable road trip across New Zealand. We will begin by looking at spending the first 7 days on the North Island.
As New Zealand is a small country, the best way to get across from one place to another is via car. Hiring a car or a campervan is probably the best option to enjoy the scenic views and be able to travel at your own comfort without following the timetable for the tour buses and avoiding super early starts. Like many holidaymakers, Auckland is the best place to start the trip.
Firstly, the SKY Tower in Auckland. Located in the city’s CBD, the tower stands 328 metres tall. It has been a very popular tourist attraction over the last 20 years. This is a perfect place to capture the impeccable views of this beautiful city from the top.
Visiting at sunset is the best time where you can enjoy the views while dining in. There is also a 360 degrees rotating restaurant at the top that everyone should try. People can enjoy the views of up to 50 miles, which includes the beautiful architecture of the city, the mountain, the stunning lakes, and the, of course, the harbour. There is also something for adventurers who are not scared of heights – the Skywalk. Visitors can walk around an open ledge at the tallest building in the country and enjoy the most spectacular views of the city.
Talking of the harbour, it is only a few minutes walk from the tower. This is where you can take a ferry and visit Mount Eden. This is a great place for a hike and to enjoy Auckland’s skyline from the other side. Away from city’s hustle and bustle, it is a wonderful spot to relax and enjoy the sunset. There are also many parks and museums across the city that can be enjoyed.
The next day, prepare to drive for a couple of hours to Waikato, where the most beautiful film set is located: Hobbiton – perhaps the best place to visit for a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan. This is a truly magical movie set, where visitors can witness an incredible recreation of Middle earth. Even though there are many movie sets around the world, there truly are none like Hobbiton.
The set is located on a family-run farm that sees millions of visitors each year. If the time is not an issue, the best option is to book a private tour guide which gives a lot of flexibility and amazing photo opportunities.
Once the Hobbiton tour is completed, head down to the Glowworm Caves, which is just over an hour away from the set. The world-famous Glowworm Caves, located in Waitomo, are the most astonishing caves I have ever had the experiences of visiting.
There are thousands of Glowworms in the cave that you visit while being on a boat, and the cave has so much history, with Maori guides sharing all their family experiences and their knowledge. The caves are simply magical and something everyone should experience when visiting New Zealand. It is best to stay the night in Rotorua to enjoy the local city the following day.
Rotorua – one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cities. There are many things to do in the city, from natural hot springs to learning about the Maori culture and to the famous mud pools. The main attraction is without a doubt, the Tamaki Maori village. It has been voted as one top 10 experiences in the world.
This experience takes us back in time where the visitors can learn about the Maori culture, meet the locals, experience the daily routine of life in the village, and enjoy a nice meal with the locals to end it all.
After this visit, take a short drive to Te Puia – a geothermal park that features breath-taking geysers, bubbling mud, and perhaps the greenest lake anyone will ever see.
The main attraction at this park is the Pohutu geyser, which is an incredibly unique experience for the visitors. There aren’t many places in the world where you can witness a big explosion. The geyser can reach up to 30m, and it is the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
Day Four and Five
Many people stay in Rotorua to enjoy the beautiful city, as it has a lot to offer. This would mean staying day four in Rotorua, and heading towards Lake Taupo on day five. This is just a short hour journey to Australiasia’s largest lake that offers the most exhilarating views.
There are many activities that visitors can enjoy, one of the most famous being kayaking and parasailing. Kayaking in a crystal clear lake, while overlooking the mountains really does have its own charm. Try to spend at least two days at this beautiful lake as there are many activities to do, including fishing.
Day Six and Seven
Wellington – our final stop on the island is New Zealand’s capital city. A vibrant city that offers beautiful beaches, botanic gardens, hills, and a fast-paced life compared to the majority of the country; it’s about a 5-hour drive from Taupo which means most of the day is spent on the road.
However, depending on the time of arrival, there is plenty on offer. The next afternoon (day seven), from Wellington, enjoy the ferry down to the South Island which takes over three hours. If the weather is nice and sunny, the journey offers gorgeous views of both islands – a perfect way to treasure your time on the North Island while in anticipation for the adventures of the South Island.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming Part II to this New Zealand travel series, which will explore the adventures of the South Island!