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

$90.41 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.

$241.32 Cultural & Theme Tours

Waitomo Caves and The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton from Auckland

Leave Auckland behind and enjoy the scenic drive through the Waikato and King Country regions of New Zealand’s North Island. Enjoy a snack on the coach and admire the rolling hills and lush farmlands, as you travel through Rangariri, where a fierce battle for land rights between British colonialists and the Maori took place. You’ll soon arrive in Waitomo, home to the renowned Waitomo Glowworm Caves.Take a guided tour through the caves and see the amazing limestone formations created over the centuries. Then board a boat for a short ride along the river to witness the magic of the glowworms. As you enter the grotto, you will see thousands of tiny lights flashing in the darkness, each one a glowworm, creating a mystical fairyland.Next, enjoy a picnic lunch (included) before continuing on toward Rotorua, driving across the Kaimai Ranges, and making your way to Matamata, where you’ll visit the Hobbiton Movie Set! Discover how this working sheep farm was transformed into JRR Tolkien’s fictional village of Hobbiton – part of the Shire and home of Bilbo Bagins – for The Lord of the Rings movie series. Have your photo taken in front of a hobbit hole and see the Green Dragon Inn, the Mill and other locations that you’ll recognize from the three movies, all of which were filmed around New Zealand

$31.29 Tours & Sightseeing

Auckland Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Auckland is consistently ranked as one of the 10 most liveable cities in the world and Explorer Bus will take you on a journey of discovery through tree lined streets, picturesque beaches and the fashionable shopping districts of New Zealand's largest city.  Modern, glass roof, airconditioned double decker bus departs every 15 minutes* in summer and visit Auckland Museum, Sky City, Parnell Village, Kelly Tarlton's Sealife Aquarium , Auckland waterfront, Mount Eden, St Lukes Shopping Mall, Auckland Zoo an many more must see attractions.  The first Explorer Bus departs from the Waterfront stop at 9am, with last bus returning 5pm.   An entertaining commentary is available in English with translated information sheets available in French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and German.   Combine your Explorer Bus pass with a attraction combo and save! See the options available.  *Single and double decker buses operate. Frequency every 20min 1st April – 30th April and every 30min 1st May – Nov 30th

$212.11 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.

$233.67 Day Trips & Excursions

Waitomo Caves and Rotorua Day Trip from Auckland

At Waitomo you'll take a guided tour through the long galleries and lofty chambers to view stalactites formed over thousands of years by the constant dripping of water. Your caves tour includes a magical boat ride through the glowworm grotto, illuminated by thousands of glowworms suspended from the cave ceiling. Next stop is the the Velocity Valley for a hands-on Kiwi farming experience. You'll see sheep mustering by highly trained dogs, sheep shearing demonstrations and receive an insight into the history of dairy farm milking. Don't miss the opportunity to milk a cow, feed young animals or even be photographed with a huge bull! Then it's on to the famous Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see the renowned silica terraces, bubbling mud pools and unique geothermal vegetation. 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 and has been a visitor attraction since the early 1900s. You'll also visit the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, to see how traditional carvings and weaving record history and customs in the Maori sacred meeting houses.

$125.17 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.