Have you read my previeus post about “15 Places Worth to Visit at South Island of New Zealand”? And now it’s my turn to share, Top 10 Places to visit at North Island of New Zealand. Why 10 not 15 or even more? Well, i guess it depends on your focus of travel and how many days you have in New Zealand. Frankly speaking it also related to places we managed to visit during our recent New Zealand trip last summer. Our focus was on the South Island, thus we managed to visit more spots at South Island instead of North Island. However, North Island of New Zealand has its own charm too.
So without further ado, here you go Top 10 Places to visit at North Island of New Zealand!
1. Auckland City
Went to New Zealand not complete if you don’t visit the capital city, there are historical places like museums and also shopping or you just want to enjoy the city skyline or view. We didn’t spend our time much there except transitting and visiting our friends. We were focusing our journey to country side. However if you have so much time perhaps you can spend few days to enjoy Auckland city.
2. Waitomo – Glow Worm Caves
A must visit on North Island of New Zealand, i guess everyone knows about glow worm cave from magazine. It was beautiful and mezmerising in real life, however this tour only for eye feasting. It was super dark and very difficult to capture with normal camera, beside that it’s also not allow to take photos inside the cave. So don’t expect you will get that same spectacular shot with magazine.
3. Lake Taupo
Stopped by Lake Taupo lookout point for that poscard view! Isn’t it this view is so soothing?! Really refreshing to see the green contrasting with the colour of lake and wild vegetation happily grown at the side of the lake.
4. Rotorua – Wai O Tapu, Hell’s Gate
Rotorua is famous for geothermal and natural pools. The sulphur smell is very strong until whole over body and hair catch the same smell, lol.
Wai O Tapu is an active geothermal area at the southern end of the Okataina Volcanic Centre, just north of the Reporoa caldera, in New Zealand’s Taupo Volcanic Zone.
They have different name for the thermal spot, one of them named as Devil’s Door.
Champagne Pool is the prettiest! Because it has 2 very contrasting colour.
We missed “Lady Knox Geyser” eruption which shown daily at 10.15am, because we reached Wai O Tapu a bit later in the afternoon. Not forgetting Green Pool with very striking colour of green.
Hell’s Gate is one of the natural pool spa area where you can dip yourself into sulphuric mud which is good for your skin. We didn’t manage to visit Hell’s Gate due to weather however you can spare your time for this unique activity!
5. Kuirau Park
This free admission park is one among many geothermal parks in Rotorua. Not a must visit but not bad to kill your time as they have some nice spots for photo taking, the smokes look very dramatic and poetic at the same time.
6. Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake)
On the perfect weather, you might get the perfect blue water reflecting the sky, however when we visit the weather is gloomy but we still manage to get some nice moody shots.
Matamata is one of small town at New Zealand North Island, famous because of Hobbiton Movie Set at Alexander family farm. Before you make a visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, you can visit Hobbiton Tourism Center at the center of Matamata town.
a. Centennial Drive Reserve
This place remind me of Botanical Garden, big trees and flowers are everywhere, we had a short stroll along this road.
b. Hobbiton Movie Set
One of the must visit activity especially to those love Hobbiton movie, worth to visit in my opinion. But you have to follow the tour and the timing a bit rush. But the place itself is very nice!
Our journey to this place blogged at Visit to Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand.
8. Wairere Falls
Blogged about our visit to this Falls before, you can read on the post at Mini Hiking at New Zealand North Island – Wairere Falls.
Green pastures and the countless sheeps, what a view! You will always find this view almost everywhere in North Island actually. But we found the pastures at Waikato are the most iconic, after Alexander family farm of course!
10. Random House with Beautiful Garden
Beauty is eveywhere during summer in NZ, this is at someone’s backyard, so many colourful hydrangeas.
Here you go my summary of itinerary i spent on North Island…
Day 1: Auckland to Waitomo – Waitomo GlowWorm Caves
Day 2: Lake Taupo, Waitomo to Rotorua – Wai O Tapu, Kuirau Park
Day 3: Lake Okareka (Blue Lake), Rotorua to Matamata, Hobitton Movie Set
Day 4: Wairere Fall
Our very last day before we went back to Singapore we spent a day around Auckland Aiport Hotel while waiting our early flight, surprisingly there are a lot of accomodations, restaurants and even shops nearby, thus we were killing our time by visiting the store and did a bit of shopping. Btw transport to Auckland city center from airport not that cheap though that’s why that time we thought no point to go as we have very limited time to wait for our flight.
FOODS & DRINKS TO TRY
Price wise, NZ is much more expensive than Singapore. Normal lunch set meal easily can cost NZ$16 and above, no such thing below $10 for set meal..
a. Kai Cafe at Waitomo
Their hot chocolate and homemade muffin are awesome!
b. Cucina Italiana at Matamata
Try their homemade Pizza and Risotto, best Risotto i’ve ever had!
c. L & P soda!
One of NZ signature lemon soda, kinda refreshing IMO
Hands down to NZ coffee, best coffee i’ve ever had and made me start to drink coffee since my visit to NZ. Coffees there are generally quite good!
Hope you enjoy reading it and hope that some tips will be useful for your future trip! Let me know if you have any questions or perhaps sharing your NZ journey too!