Welcome to North Island


Volcanic Thrills

Welcome to one of the planet’s youngest countries, at least in geological terms. Ascend the volcanic cones surrounding Auckland for super city views, before heading south to Rotorua for hot mud spa treatments and helicopter journeys to the jagged volcanic summit of Mt Tarawera. Journey due south to Lake Taupo, the legacy of one of the planet’s biggest-ever volcanic eruptions, and now gateway to Tongariro National Park. Ski or snowboard on Mt Ruapehu’s still-active slopes, or negotiate a steady path past Mt Ngauruhoe’s brooding volcanic cone on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Outdoor Experiences

New Zealand’s South Island usually steals the attention, but the oft-overlooked North Island also features a sublime combination of forests, mountains and beaches. In the latter, the North has a clear lead – particularly in subtropical Northland, the Coromandel Peninsula and the west coast, with its wild surf beaches. Tackle one of the North Island’s Great Walks – one even offers a river journey by canoe or kayak – or spend a few hours wandering through the accessible wilderness of the Coromandel. Day trips from vibrant Auckland can include kayaking to dormant volcanoes or canyoning and abseiling down forested waterfalls.

Food, Wine & Beer

Kiwi food was once a bland echo of a British Sunday lunch, but these days NZ chefs dip into New World culinary oceans for inspiration, especially the Pacific with its abundant seafood and diverse cuisines. Don’t go home without trying some Māori faves: paua (abalone; a type of sea snail), kina (sea urchin) and kumara (sweet potato). Thirsty? NZ’s cool-climate wineries have been collecting trophies for decades now, and the vineyard restaurants of Hawke’s Bay are seriously good. The North Island’s booming craft-beer scene also deserves serious scrutiny. And with a firmly entrenched coffee culture, you're never far from an artfully prepared brew.

Māori Culture

The influence of New Zealand's indigenous culture is more keenly felt in the North Island, where Māori make up a much higher percentage of the population. Across Te Ika-a-Māui (the island's Māori name) you're more likely to hear the Māori language being spoken, see main street marae (meeting houses), join in a hāngi (Māori feast), or catch a cultural performance with traditional Māori songs, dancing and a blood-curdling haka (war dance). Venture to the North Island’s East Cape for the most authentic Māori experiences. Northland and Rotorua are also cultural hotspots.


Top experiences in North Island

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North Island activities

$89.62 Cultural & Theme Tours

Rotorua Maori Hangi Dinner and Performance

Your journey through time unfolds when your coach travels to a pre-European village set deep within the forest, 15 minutes from Rotorua. Let this 3.5-hour tour and your imagination take over as your guide instructs you on the protocol for visiting the marae. A chief is selected, a song is learnt and the eerie cry of the welcome is heard before you enter the world of the proud warriors of the ancient Maori.You will experience the powhiri (welcome ceremony) before you enter the village, with crackling open fires in front of traditional whare (houses). You'll hear traditional Maori instruments and watch the daily activities of days gone by. In the wharenui (meeting house), a Rangiatea culture group offers a powerful display of haka song and dance. Then, as new friendships are forged, dine on a traditional hangi feast, where the food is cooked slowly beneath the ground in earth ovens.This is an amazing re-enactment based on actual events from history, with real characters, traditional arts and crafts, powerful song and dance while enjoying an authentic Hangi feast.

$239.22 Cultural & Theme Tours

Waitomo Caves and The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton from Auckland

Discover two of the best places to see in NZ on this full-day trip from Auckland; wind through scenic farmland aboard your luxury coach, journey into Middle-earth on a guided Hobbiton tour and marvel at the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Plus, enjoy informative commentary from your expert driver guide along the way (headsets provided for recorded Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese commentary). Departing Auckland in the morning, begin your coach tour by winding through the lush rolling farmland as you travel south to the small rural town of Matamata where you’ll discover the Hobbiton Movie Set. Journey into Middle-earth with your expert guide on a Hobbiton tour; see The Shire, Bilbo Baggins’ house and many other locations you’ll recognise from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Conclude your Hobbiton tour with the unforgettable experience of tucking into a buffet style lunch outside the Green Dragon Inn. After lunch, your tour continues as you board your luxury coach and make your way to Waitomo. Upon arrival at Waitomo Glowworm Caves, embark on a guided tour through a subterranean wonderland; see stalactites and stalagmites, learn about how these limestone caves were formed and conclude your tour with a boat ride through the enchanting Glowworm Grotto. After a magic-filled day, allow your eyes to adjust as you climb aboard your luxury coach once again for the return trip to Auckland. Highlights: - Waitomo and Hobbiton day trip from Auckland - Discover Hobbiton with an expert guide - See The Shire, Bilbo Baggins’ house and the Green Dragon Inn - Marvel at Waitomo Glowworm Caves - Drift through the world-famous Glowworm Grotto - Complimentary hotel transfers (must be pre-booked) April to October Departs Auckland: 7:30am Arrives Auckland: 8:10pm November to March Departs Auckland: 7:00am or 8:00am Arrives Auckland: 7:00pm Please note the order of this tour is subject to change.

$31.02 Tours & Sightseeing

Auckland Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Join one of the best sightseeing buses in New Zealand complete with air-conditioning, a modern glass roof and complimentary return ferry ride from downtown Auckland. With a 24-hour hop on hop off bus ticket from Explorer Bus, you’ll have the opportunity to discover Auckland city at your own pace; from the seaside village of Devonport to fashionable shopping districts in Ponsonby and Parnell Village and the tree lined streets of Auckland Waterfront. A double decker bus departs every 15 minutes* in summer and visits Auckland Museum, Sky City, Parnell Village, Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, Auckland waterfront, Mount Eden, St Lukes Shopping Mall, Auckland Zoo and many more of the best things to see in Auckland. The first Explorer Bus departs from the Waterfront stop at 9am, with the last bus returning at 5pm. An entertaining commentary is available in English with translated information sheets in French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and German. Combine your Explorer Bus pass with an attraction combo and save! See the options available. *Single and double decker buses operate. Frequency every 20 minutes 1st April – 30th April and every 30 minutes 1st May – Nov 30th.

$210.26 Cultural & Theme Tours

Small-Group Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set from Auckland

After morning pickup from your Auckland hotel, travel south over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Stretch your legs and enjoy a stop for morning tea (own expense) en-route to HobbitonArrive in Hobbiton, where your movie set tour begins. Explore the magical world of ‘the Shire’ as your guide entertains you with stories about the making of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. See the hobbit holes, the mill and the double-arch bridge, the party tree and the Green Dragon Inn. Pose for pictures at the door of Bilbo Baggins’ house and see stunning views overlooking the largest ‘outdoor set’ in the world! Cross the double-arch bridge and enjoy a complimentary cider, ale or ginger beer inside the Green Dragon Inn.After your tour of Hobbiton, enjoy lunch (included) at the Green Dragon marquee before travelling back to Auckland.

$231.63 Day Trips & Excursions

Waitomo Caves and Rotorua Day Trip from Auckland

Leave the city behind on this full-day sightseeing tour from Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua and discover some of the best things to see in New Zealand. First stop... the glowworm caves at Waitomo! Enjoy a Waitomo Caves guided tour through long galleries and lofty chambers; see stalactites - formed over thousands of years by the constant dripping of water - and glide into the magical glowworm cave, illuminated by thousands of glowworms suspended from the cave ceiling. Allow your eyes to readjust as we head to Rotorua for a hands-on New Zealand farm experience; see sheep mustering by highly trained dogs, sheep shearing demonstrations and receive an insight into the history of dairy farm milking. Then it's time to experience one of the best things to do in Rotorua as we head to the famous Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. See the renowned silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and the unique Rotorua geothermal activity. Exploding from the ground up to 100 feet (30 meters) high is the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, which bursts into life 10-20 times a day. Before your tour concludes, you have the chance to learn about traditional Māori wood carving and woven textiles at the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, and see how traditional carvings and weaving record history and customs in the marae (Māori meeting house). Choose to end your tour in Rotorua or return to Auckland.

$124.11 Day Trips & Excursions

Waiheke Island Food and Wine-Tasting Tour from Auckland

Board your ferry at Auckland’s Ferry Terminal for a relaxing 40-minute cruise to Waiheke Island, a bucolic combination of farmland, forest, beaches and seaside villages. You might think you’re in France when you see the vineyards, olive trees, and lavender fields! Upon arrival at the island, you’ll be greeted by your tour driver and taken by air-conditioned coach.   Light lunch & wine tasting at Stonyridge Vineyard - Nestled in a beautiful valley of olive trees and vines, Stonyridge is one of the most romantic and exotic venues in the greater Auckland area. Known for their Cabernet blends, Stonyridge also has a wonderful cafe menu, featuring fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Wine tasting at Casita Miro - A sprawling Spanish-style vineyard is home to Casita Miro restaurant, renowned for its delightful tapas-inspired food and fine wines. Enjoy a wine and food pairing in the beautiful art deco style pavilion. Olive oil tasting at Rangihoua Estate - Sample a range of premium, internationally-awarded Extra Virgin Olive Oil surrounded by olive groves and native New Zealand Forest. Rangihoua also hosts The Hay Paddock Cellar Door, with wine tastings to complement the EVOO. Wine tasting at Mudbrick Vineyard - Learn about Mudbrick's varietals during a special cellar door tasting. Relax on the terrace or wander the garden, enjoying sweeping sea views all the way to Auckland City. Ferry & coach transfers - The tour includes return ferry fare from Downtown Auckland, as well as all coach transfers on Waiheke Island. Your local tour driver will meet the ferry at Matiatia Wharf, sharing the island's unique story on the scenic drive. BONUS All Bay Bus Pass - if you have more time to spend on the island, enjoy a complimentary bus pass so you can explore on your own after the conclusion of the tour.