Things not to miss in the North Island, NZ.
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Sep 6, 2012 1:37 PM Last Post By: LisaMNZ
Aug 31, 2012 5:32 AM
Things not to miss in the North Island, NZ.Hi!
I am planning a trip to New Zealand this year. With the help of some friends and some books I have been able to get a pretty good idea of what to see and do in the South Island, but I'm still way off the mark with the North Island. I arrive to Auckland and start my trip from there. I don't want to spend much time in the city itself though. Any ideas about what I must see and do in the North? Thanks!
Sep 1, 2012 5:16 AM
Sep 1, 2012 1:54 PM
2Hi Fowler9! Thanks for your reply and good suggestions. I am into really a bit of everything, but mainly the coast, beaches and trying new water sports etc. Also interested in getting to grips with the Maori culture too. I've heard Rotorua is great for that. And that Taupo is a superb spot to do a bungee jump or skydiving? In saying all of this, the most important thing is to have the trip of a lifetime, so the more recommendations, the better!!!
Sep 1, 2012 5:50 PM
Sep 2, 2012 1:40 PM
5Went past the bungy jump in Taupo and it looked pretty cool. Further down the river you have the Huka Falls and the Aratiatia rapids which are definitely worth checking out if you are in the area, google them. If the skies are clear the views over the lake at Taupo to the Volcanoes are amazing.
Sep 3, 2012 2:38 AM
Sep 3, 2012 5:17 AM
Sep 3, 2012 1:59 PM
8Afraid I don't know much about the bay of islands but I still have a mate living in Auckland so I hope to return one day. Whatever you do will be amazing.
Sep 3, 2012 3:39 PM
9it's still a bit vague what you're after, Lily - but a few suggestions:
depending what time of year it is, either northland (including the bay of islands) or Coromandel would be a good place for beaches, surf and water sports.
Rotorua is hard to beat for maori culture and is also one of the best places for thermal sights - so depends if you are interested in this or not (will depend what you have at home probably). Te Puia is not just a thermal attraction, the new arts & culture centre is well worth a look.
I find Taupo quite boring but there is thermal stuff there as well and if you wanted to do some of the typical 'extreme sports' it's a good place for that.
Knowing how much time you have is quite key as most people would suggest spending more time in the south island - for the most dramatic scenery.
ETA actually saying that, I don't want to give the impression that the bay of islands has surf. It doesn't. but there is a lot of sailing/boating goes on and it is a nice place in summer. Quite touristy though especially Paihia.
Sep 3, 2012 4:35 PM
I apreciate what you are saying but when it comes to the town itself as opposed to what is around it I really didn't find Rotorua any nicer or more interesting than Taupo, this is as a foreign tourist. I found the views from Taupo over the lake nicer. I felt Rotorua seemed more like Las Vegas with Mauri cultural shows. They were both pretty ugly but Rotorua wins on the ugliness stakes for me. I thought Thames by the Coromandel was actually a nicer looking town than either. Its all personal taste of course and I wouldn't dream of saying you are wrong.
Sep 3, 2012 4:43 PM
11LOL. Personally I find Rotorua more a place where people live, compared to Taupo which feels really touristy to me. But I do know Rotorua much better than Taupo, so maybe there's more to it than I've found so far... but I'd much rather try to find a decently-priced meal out in Rotorua than in Taupo. Also you seem to be constantly avoiding the hen & stag party crowds. And it feels VERY white middle class to me, compared to Rotorua which although yes it does have a bit of the 'las vegas' side to the maori cultural shows, don't be fooled by that impression as it is a very strongly maori town in reality as well. You just need to see the massive number of marae around the place to know that.
Each to their own ;-) If I were ten years younger I might prefer Taupo.
PS I hate Thames ;-) (no, I don't really, but I remember the Thames of 15 years ago and it was dire, it's hard to get past that!)
Sep 4, 2012 4:14 AM
Ha ha, nice one Lisa. I'll be honest, considering the slating I appear to have given Rotorua I really enjoyed it. It was my birthday when we were there, I got up at 5.30 in the morning and went down to the Marae at Ohinemutu. It was stunning at sunrise. Then we had a walk in the redwoods. The evening was odd, had a take away pizza and sat on the balcony of the hostel (Overlooking the council office car park) sharing my cans of lager with a recently homeless lad who had moved in to the hostel. Ha ha. Sounds odd but it was a brilliant day.
We actually spent 6 weeks with a family at a tiny village called Waiomu about 10 minutes up the road from Thames. They had young kids and one of the lads asked me if Liverpool in the UK was as big as Thames. I had to chuckle.
Sep 4, 2012 5:26 AM
13Hi all, thanks for the recommendations. In answer to your question Lisa, I'm really just looking for advice in general about what to see in the North Island and what would be worth a skip. I have 31 days to do the whole country, but have been told to spend more time in the South, so I'm trying to compile some sort of list of things I should really do! I love all your suggestions so far, so thanks everyone who has contributed.
Sep 4, 2012 1:55 PM
14I'm really just looking for advice in general about what to see in the North Island and what would be worth a skip
sure, but 'what would be worth a skip' depends a lot on what your personal preferences are! there are so many things to do in NZ that if we don't have some way to narrow it down, you'll just end up with a totally random list of suggestions. We also don't know how you're getting around, which has a big impact on where you would be able to get to and how quickly.
Are you into wine? geothermal sights? volcanoes? these are all things that the north island is known for. lots of people, or next to none?
For eg; if you were to want to spend a few days travelling a pretty empty stretch of road in a part of the country that not many people visit, given what you've said I'd suggest going round the East Cape rather than the forgotten highway (described in #6). Not many beaches on the forgotten highway.
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