Must-see attractions in North Island

  • One Tree Hill monument in Auckland, New Zealand.

    One Tree Hill


    Maungakiekie was the largest and most spiritually significant Māori pā (fortified village) prior to British arrival. At the top of this volcanic cone (at…

  • Cape Reinga Lighthouse at sunset.

    Cape Reinga

    The Far North

    This dramatic headland is where the waters of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet, swirling and breaking together into waves up to 10m high in stormy…

  • Huka Falls.

    Huka Falls


    The Waikato, New Zealand’s longest river, squeezes through a narrow chasm at Huka Falls, making the dramatic 11m drop into a surging crystal-blue…

  • Red carving of a Maori Warrior.
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    Waitangi Treaty Grounds

    Bay of Islands

    Occupying a headland draped in lawns and bush, this is NZ's most significant historic site. Here, on 6 February 1840, after much discussion, the first 43…

  • The Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest), a giant kauri (Agathis australis) coniferous tree in the Waipoua Forest.
Large Growth Nature Vertical Outdoors Rural Scene Hiking Natural Phenomenon Plant Public Park Footpath Green Color New Old Tropical Climate North National Landmark Bush Tree Uncultivated Tree Trunk Leaf Landscape - Scenery Island Woodland Forest Tall - High New Zealand North Island New Zealand Northland - New Zealand Māori Giant Males Females Photography Travel Kauri Tree Rainforest Waipoua Forest te matua ngahere

    Te Matua Ngahere

    Bay of Islands & Northland

    From the Kauri Walks car park, a 20-minute walk leads past the Four Sisters, a graceful stand of four tall trees fused together at the base, to Te Matua…

  • The T?ne Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), a giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region.
The Tāne Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), a giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region.
Nature Horizontal Famous Place New Zealand North Island New Zealand Northland - New Zealand Color Image Photography Tourism Kauri Tree Hokianga Harbour Waipoua Forest Tāne Mahuta

    Tāne Mahuta

    Bay of Islands & Northland

    Near the north end of the park, not far from the road, stands mighty Tāne Mahuta, named for the Māori forest god. At 51.5m, with a 13.8m girth and wood…

  • Pohutu Geyser in Te Puia, Rotorua, New Zealand.

    Te Puia


    Te Puia dials up the heat on Māoritanga (things Māori) with explosive performances from both its cultural troupe and Pōhutu (Big Splash), its famous…

  • Aerial of the Mount Eden volcano in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Mt Eden

    Kingsland & Mt Eden

    From the top of Auckland’s highest volcanic cone (196m), the entire isthmus and both harbours are laid bare. The symmetrical crater (50m deep) is known as…

  • Orakei Korako geothermal park, New Zealand.

    Orakei Korako


    Tucked away from other more popular thermal fields, Orakei Korako is (since the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces, at least) arguably NZ's most…

  • Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

    Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty

    The most visible wound from Mt Tarawera's 1886 eruption, the Waimangu geothermal area spreads down a valley to Lake Rotomahana (Warm Lake). The experience…

  • Auckland War Memorial Museum.

    Auckland Museum

    Parnell & Newmarket

    This imposing neoclassical temple (1929), capped with an impressive copper-and-glass dome (2007), dominates the Auckland Domain and is a prominent part of…

  • Goat Island Marine Reserve.

    Goat Island Marine Reserve

    North Auckland

    Only 3km from Leigh, this 547-hectare aquatic area was established in 1975 as the country’s first marine reserve. In less than 40 years the sea has…

  • The Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu or Sacred Waters – Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua, New Zealand.

    Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

    Rotorua & the Bay of Plenty

    The most colourful of the region's geothermal attractions, Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) has a variety of features packed into a relatively compact, heavily…

  • The Kemp House, Kerikeri Mission Station.

    Kerikeri Mission Station

    Bay of Islands

    Two of the nation's most significant buildings nestle side by side on the banks of Kerikeri Basin. Start at the Stone Store, NZ's oldest stone building …

  • The Wellington Museum.

    Wellington Museum


    For an imaginative, interactive experience of Wellington’s social and maritime history, head to this bewitching little museum, inside an 1892 bond store…

  • Karori Reservoir Tower at Zealandia.



    This groundbreaking ecosanctuary is nooked into a valley in the hills about 2km west of downtown Wellington. Living wild within the fenced, predator-free…

  • A backpacker standing at the top of Te Mata Peak in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

    Te Mata Peak

    Hastings & Around

    Rising dramatically from the Heretaunga Plains 16km south of Havelock North, Te Mata Peak (399m) is part of the 1-sq-km Te Mata Trust Park. The summit…

  • The Duck Pond at Wellington Botanic Gardens.

    Wellington Botanic Gardens


    These hilly, 25-hectare botanic gardens can be effortlessly visited via the Wellington Cable Car (nice bit of planning, eh?), although there are several…

  • Reflective stainless steel facade of the Len Lye Centre/Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

    Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre

    New Plymouth

    This two-headed artistic beast is arguably NZ's best regional art gallery, presenting contemporary – and often experimental and provocative – local and…

  • Glow worms cast blue light from the rocky ceiling of Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

    Glowworm Cave

    Waikato & the Coromandel Peninsula

    The guided tour of the Glowworm Cave, which is behind the visitor centre, leads past impressive stalactites and stalagmites into a large cavern known as…

  • Base track around Mauao, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand.


    Bay of Plenty

    The steep slopes of 232m-high Mauao swarm with walkers in the morning, when the Mount’s early risers perform their ritual climb to the summit. The ascent…

  • The entrance of the Auckland Art Gallery (or Toi o Tāmaki in Māori), located below Albert Park in the city centre.

    Auckland Art Gallery

    City Centre & Britomart

    Auckland's premier art repository has a striking glass-and-wood atrium grafted onto its 1887 French chateau frame. It showcases the best of NZ art, along…

  • Whanganui Regional Museum.

    Whanganui Regional Museum


    Spend an hour or two in one of NZ’s better natural history museums. Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārange Māori exhibits include an amazing waka (canoe), …

  • Facade of the Waikato Museum, a regional art museum and cultural center in Hamilton, New Zealand.

    Waikato Museum


    The excellent Waikato Museum has several main areas: an art gallery; interactive science galleries; a Waikato River exhibition; and Tainui galleries…

  • View of Wellington harbor from Mount Victoria lookout in Wellington, New Zealand.

    Mt Victoria Lookout


    The city's most impressive viewpoint is atop 196m-high Mt Victoria (Matairangi), east of the city centre. You can take bus 20 most of the way up, but the…

  • Beach at Mangawhai Heads.

    Mangawhai Heads

    Bay of Islands & Northland

    Mangawhai's main claim to fame is the surf beach and its large hilltop car park fills up quickly in peak season. To the south a narrow spit of sand…

  • Gold Discovery Centre at Waihi, New Zealand.

    Gold Discovery Centre

    Coromandel Peninsula

    Waihi’s superb Gold Discovery Centre tells of the area’s gold-mining past, present and future through interactive displays, focusing on personal and…

  • The Daily Telegraph building in Napier, New Zealand.

    Daily Telegraph Building


    The Daily Telegraph is one of the stars of Napier's art-deco show, with superb zigzags, fountain shapes and a symmetrically patterned facade. If the front…

  • The Arts House Trust


    Housed in a gorgeous 1879 mansion with views to One Tree Hill and the Manukau Harbour, this arts centre is endowed with contemporary NZ art from an…

  • Taupō Museum


    This small but fascinating museum has an excellent Māori gallery and quirky displays, which include a 1960s caravan set up as if the occupants have just…

  • Kauri Museum

    Bay of Islands & Northland

    The giant cross-sections of trees at this superb museum are astounding in themselves, but the entire industry is animated through life-sized reproductions…

  • St Mary’s Church

    East Cape

    If you haven't yet made it into a marae (meeting house), you’ll get a fair idea of what you’re missing out on by visiting the extraordinary St Mary’s…

  • Man O' War

    Waiheke Island

    Settle in with a tapas platter and a glass of Man O' War's Valhalla chardonnay at Waiheke's only beachfront tasting room. If the weather is good, go for a…

  • KD's Elvis Presley Museum

    Taranaki & Whanganui

    Elvis lives! At least he does at Kevin D Wasley's astonishing museum, which houses more than 10,000 of the King’s records and a mind-blowing collection of…

  • Wairoa Museum

    Hawke's Bay

    The excellent Wairoa Museum has an Italianate facade from its former life as a bank. Inside you'll find passionately curated, creative displays on local…

  • A greenhouse and a pond in Hamilton Gardens.

    Hamilton Gardens


    Spread over 50 hectares southeast of the city centre, Hamilton Gardens incorporates a large park, a cafe, a restaurant, and extravagant themed and…

  • Te Papa National Museum at Lambton Harbour.

    Te Papa


    New Zealand's national museum is hard to miss, taking up a sizeable chunk of the Wellington waterfront. ‘Te Papa Tongarewa’ loosely translates as …

  • Boy hugging tree

    Pukekura Park

    New Plymouth

    Lush Pukekura has 49 hectares of gardens, playgrounds, trails, streams, waterfalls, ponds and display houses. In summer, rowboats (per half-hour $15)…

  • Wyllie Cottage at the Tairawhiti Museum.

    Tairāwhiti Museum


    The Tairāwhiti Museum, with its fab gallery extension, focuses on East Coast Māori and colonial history. This is Gisborne’s arts hub, with rotating…

  • Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes

    The Far North

    A large chunk of the land around Cape Reinga is part of the Te Paki Recreation Reserves managed by DOC. It’s public land with free access; leave the gates…