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north island regional information | back to regions & attractions
North Island area is made up of six smaller regions -
suggested itineraries that include these
areas, please click here.
Waikato is the first region south of Greater Auckland. It has two spectacular
landscapes - one above ground, the other below. Above ground the view
is dominated by the serenity of the Waikato River and the rich rolling
green of productive farmland. Massive subterranean caverns are adorned
with stalactites and stalagmites - formations that have been millions
of years in the making. Visitors can glide through the darkness on a water-borne
barge and admire the beauty and deep silence of the cave where the glow-worms
overhead give the effect of an eerie underground sky.
a paddleboat cruise on the Waipa Delta from the city of Hamilton.
out the Hamilton Zoo which has the largest free-flight aviary in the
- Spot birds
of the flightless kind at Otorohanga Kiwi House near Waitomo.
- In Waitomo,
take the Glow-worm Cave tour and boat ride through the glow-worm grotto
(tours leave every half hour).
into a wetsuit, pick up an inner tube and take the original 'black water
rafting' tour. A glow-worm and soft adventure combination in Waitomo.
100m into wondrous The Lost World chasm at Waitomo.
- For Indiana
Jones-style caving and abseiling through waterfalls and tunnels, try
Haggas Honking Holes also at Waitomo.
Coromandel Peninsula lies east of Auckland, on the other side of the Hauraki
Gulf. An impressive, heavily forested mountain range runs right up the
middle of this peninsula - it's bordered on each side by kilometres of
spectacular coastline. On the west coast, there's a never-ending parade
of beaches, coves and harbours lined with pohutukawa trees (a red flowering
native of New Zealand) . The eastern side of the Coromandel is furnished
with an amazing collection of white sand and surf beaches.
- Put a
few hours aside to make your own bone carving in Whitianga.
is also an excellent base for fishing, diving, sea kayaking, dolphin
swimming and horse treks.
- Find a
spot on Hot Water Beach and dig your own thermal spa pool.
- Stop at
the largest thermal pool in the Southern Hemisphere, Miranda Hot Springs.
- Take a
guided bushwalk or wander the well-marked trails yourself.
Cove is a magical beach framed by a massive natural rock arch.
Bay of Plenty lies east of the Kaimai-Mamaku Ranges and south of the Coromandel
peninsula. It's a place of beautiful harbours, long white surf beaches
and an easy going lifestyle. Everything you need for a perfect holiday
is here - sun, sand, sea and a myriad of great places to eat and shop.
- Swim with
the dolphins in Tauranga or Whakatane.
- Put aside
a half-day or full day for a deep sea fishing charter.
- Take a
scuba dive in the Mayor Island marine reserve.
- Hop in
a helicopter or on a cruise to White Island, NZ's only continually active
volcano (you can walk right into the crater area).
- For awesome
views of the coastline, put an hour and a half aside for a walk to the
top of Mount Maunganui.
- On Matakana
Island (in Tauranga Harbour) you can take a guided tour in a covered
wagon pulled by Clydesdale horses
focus of the Taupo region is Lake Taupo - New Zealand's largest lake (619
square kilometres) and the heart of the North Island. Lake Taupo was created
a few thousand years ago, by a volcanic eruption so big the sun went hazy
in China. Trout fishing is a major attraction here. Just a few minutes
north of the Lake at Wairakei you'll find geothermal fields, boiling mud
pools and steaming geysers. The nearby Huka Falls area is great for picnics
and nature walks - or you could take a thrilling jet boat ride right to
the foot of the thundering water.
For a video preview of Lake Taupo, please click here.
- En route
stop off at thundering Huka Falls
ski or fish the lake for brown and rainbow trout. (If you catch a trout,
ask your hotel or a local restaurant to cook it for you - restaurants
aren't permitted by law to sell trout but they are allowed to cook for
- Go whitewater
rafting or bungy jumping over the Waikato River.
your fears at Rock'n'Ropes on the Giant Swing, Flying Fox and High Trapeze.
- Try the
barbequed prawns at Taupo Prawn Park.
Ruapehu district is located in the central North Island, midway between
Auckland and Wellington. The 80,000ha Tongariro National Park (a World
Heritage Area) is the centre of attraction for this district. The active
volcano Mount Ruapehu dominates the landscape, rising to 2,797m from the
surrounding countryside. It has Mount Ngauruhoe (also active) and Mount
Tongariro to keep it company. The three volcanoes are a spectacular sight
on a clear day - in the colder months they are capped in snow. Mount Ruapehu
is the site of the North Island's premier ski fields - Whakapapa and Turoa.
Tongariro National Park for a dynamic landscape that includes hot springs,
a lush rainforest, a desert-like terrain and the snowy volcanic peaks
of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu.
- Ski Mount
Ruapehu from Whakapapa. There are slopes for beginners (with excellent
instructors) and long treeless slopes for the experienced skier.
- Raft the
Tongariro River, have fun on a 4WD-farm bike or relax with a fishing
- Want a
big walk? The 49km Tongariro Northern Circuit is one of New Zealand's
Great Walks. For a small walk, the Tongariro Crossing is generally regarded
as the country's best one day walks.
Bay is loved for its sunny climate, fabulous beaches, sheltered coastal
plains and long-established vineyards. It is also one of the country's
largest pip fruit growing areas. Napier, the main city of the region,
has one of the largest concentrations of Art Deco buildings in the world.
It was razed by earthquake and fire in 1931, and rebuilt in the art deco
style which was fashionable at the time.
the vineyards for tours and tastings.
swim or kayak
some time in the art deco city of Napier. The Art Deco Trust has guided
- Swim with
dolphins in Napier.
in some local truffles.
- Try your
hand at trout fishing in the streams and rivers around Hawke's Bay.
For some suggested itineraries that
include these areas, please click here.