With its diverse landscape and stunning scenery, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful honeymoon destinations in the world. It is breathtaking at every turn. New Zealand comprises of two landmasses surrounded by 600 tiny islands, the North Island and the South Island. While the South Island gets a lot of attention due to its majestic scenery, the North Island is equally beautiful too. Known for its vibrant, cosmopolitan cities (Auckland & Wellington), volcanoes, geothermal wonders, national parks, heritage, and Maori culture. The weather here is slightly warmer and the waters are suitable for swimming. Previously we shared our Top Things to do in the North Island. In this issue, we will showcase the must-visit places in the North Island.
- Top Pre-Wedding Photoshoot Locations in New Zealand
- Top 10 Most Popular New Zealand Honeymoon Destinations
- Top Wedding Venues in New Zealand to suit your Wedding Theme
- Top 19 Things to Do on your New Zealand Honeymoon [North Island]
15 Must Go Places in New Zealand North Island for your Honeymoon
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1. Auckland, for vibrant city buzz
This major city of New Zealand is the multicultural hub of food, wine, art, and culture and has been rated the third most livable city in the world. This urban city is minutes away from beautiful black sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, volcanic cones, and enchanting islands, all of which make perfect for a day trip. The Auckland region is also home to world-class food and wine producers, so you are surely in for a treat.
Things to Do in Auckland:
- Visit the Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves on a Day Tour
- Get a Panoramic view of the city from Auckland Sky Tower
- Tandem Skydiving in Auckland
- See the natural landscapes of the stunning Waitakere Ranges
- Discover sheep farming and wool production in Sheepworld
- Click here for more things to do in Auckland
Where to Stay in Auckland:
- Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group (9.2 stars, 3870 reviews)
- M Social Auckland (9.3, 3,406 reviews)
- Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour (9.1, 620 reviews)
- SkyCity Grand Hotel Auckland (9.0. 3,380 reviews)
- Hotel Grand Windsor MGallery by Sofitel (9.0, 1,730 reviews)
2. Northland & Bay of Islands, for island life
Northland is home to two coastlines with remarkable vistas. The West Coast is rugged and soulful, while the East Coast is sophisticated and urbane. The Bay of Islands is where 144 islands and boutique towns reside. Take a boat cruise, swim with dolphins, dive, fish, or simply spend your days basking in the sun.
Things to Do in the Bay of Islands:
- Tour the Bay of Islands and visit Hole in the Rock on Piercy Island
- Tandem Skydive over the Bay of Islands
- Visit the Bay of Islands, Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Caves
- Spend a day at Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach
- Click here for more things to do in Bay of Islands
Where to Stay in Bay of Islands:
- Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay Of Islands (8.0, 2,382 reviews)
- Sea Spray Suites – Heritage Collection (8.6, 648 reviews)
- Blue Pacific Apartments (9.2, 335 reviews)
3. The Coromandel, for a laid-back beach honeymoon
Home to the Cathedral Cove, The Coromandel is famous for being the shoot location of The Chronicles of Narnia. The Coromandel has over 400km of white sand beaches and a misty rainforest. It’s laid-back, rustic atmosphere is charming to many. Here you can fish, dive, kayak, hike, cycle and even skydive in Whitianga. For those looking for more thrill, the Sleeping God Canyon is a 300m vertical descent down a set of waterfalls.
Things to Do in Coromandel:
- Staying in Auckland? Take a day tour to The Coromandel
- Grab a bike and go on the 136km Hauraki Rail Trail
- Visit the Karangahake Gorge
- Dig up your own natural spa on the Hot Water Beach
- The Pinnacles walk, rated as one of New Zealand’s most popular overnight (or 8-hr day) hike
Where to Stay in The Coromandel:
4. Hamilton – Waikato, for gorgeous sights
Just south of Auckland lies the Hamilton-Waikato region, well known as The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This lush region is also well-known for its underground wonders, black surf beaches, and rolling green hills. Be sure to visit Matamata for the Hobbiton Movie Set, and the famous Waitomo glow-worm caves and the Hamilton Gardens.
Things to Do in Hamilton – Waikato:
- From Auckland: A private tour of Hobbiton and Hamilton Gardens
- From Auckland: Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Hobbiton Gay Tour with Lunch
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves Tour
- Go Black Water Rafting in the underground river of Ruakuri Cave
- Learn how to surf at Raglan, West of Hamilton (Click here for the best surfing spots at Raglan by Culture Trip)
- Visit Zealong Tea Estate – New Zealand’s only tea plantation
- Ride the 87km Timber Trail through the Pureora Forest
Where to Stay in Hamilton:
- Atrium on Ulster (9.1, 844 reviews)
- Novotel Tainui Hamilton (8.5, 964 reviews)
- VR Hamilton (7.4, 2,290 reviews)
5. Rotorua, for a geothermal wonderland
Set within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. Here you will find shooting geysers, bubbling mud pools, and plenty of hot springs for you to soak in. Rotorua is also a great place to discover the Maori Culture, or indulge in fun activities like zorbing, go-karting, and cycling on a suspended monorail racetrack.
Things to Do in Rotorua:
- Visit the famous Wai-O-Tapu park for geothermal wonders
- Whakarewarewa Village Tour: Tour the only living geothermal Maori village in New Zealand
- Te Puia Day Pass: Marvel at geothermal wonders and immerse yourself in Maori culture & art
- See spectacular city skyline views on the Rotorua Skyline Gondola
- Visit Hells Gate Geothermal Park (you can take a mud bath and spa)
- Experience an authentic Kiwi Farm and see alpacas, sheep, ostriches
- Mitai Maori Village Evening Tour: Experience traditional ‘waka’ and see magical glowworms
- Roll down the steep hills of Rotorua in a ZORB Ball
Where to Stay in Rotorua:
- Prince’s Gate Hotel (8.5, 2,265 reviews)
- Solitaire Lodge (9.4, 15 reviews) – luxe choice
- Holiday Inn Rotorua (8.7, 2,127 reviews)
- Copthorne Hotel Rotorua (7.7, 1,141 reviews)
- Tihi Retreat (9.8, 11 reviews) – luxury home for family
6. Bay of Plenty, for spectacular beaches & orchards
Bay of Plenty has spectacular beaches, juicy kiwifruit, and New Zealand’s only active marine volcano. Around Tauranga, you will find acres of orchards and gardens producing fresh fruit. Indulge in local wines and fresh seafood. Mount Maunganui, a short distance from Tauranga is a great surfing spot.
Things to Do in Bay of Plenty:
- Tour Whakaari / White Island, New Zealand’s only active marine volcano
- Swim with Wild Dolphins just off Tauranga
- Kayak the scenic Wairoa River or Ohiwa Harbour (southern end)
- Take a day cruise along Bay of Plenty
- Hike to the top of Mauao and enjoy panoramic views and Maori culture
- Explore Moutohora Island / Whale Island to see endangered plants, birds and reptiles
Where to Stay in Bay of Plenty:
- Ramada Resort by Wyndham Rotorua Marama (8.8, 385 reviews)
- The Tauranga on the Waterfront (8.9, 1,465 reviews)
- Trinity Wharf Tauranga (8.4, 1,532 reviews)
7. Eastland, for surfing and vineyards
Though lesser explored, Eastland has world-class surf beaches, quality vineyards, and wineries. If you have a strong interest in Maori culture, Gisborne in Eastland is a city you won’t want to miss. Gisborne also takes the title of the “unofficial chardonnay capital of New Zealand”. Head to Tolaga Bay Wharf for beautiful sea views. Check out the things to do in Eastland.
8. Taranaki, for outdoor adventures
The Taranaki region is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Here you will find amazing surf breaks, the volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki (featured in The Last Samurai), and a multitude of activities like river rafting, multi-day hikes through native forests, even snowboarding! There are also relaxing activities here, like art trails, festivals, museums, and galleries, amid a thriving cafe culture.
Things to Do in Taranaki:
- Visit Taranaki’s spectacular gardens: Pukekura Park, Te Kainga Marire or Pukeiti
- Play golf among beautiful scenery
- If you are an experienced hiker, the Pouakai Circuit is great for exploring the country and Egmont National Park. Otherwise, try the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, a family-friendly 13km walk.
- Explore volcanic islands at Sugar Loaf Islands
Where to Stay in Taranaki:
- Millennium Hotel New Plymouth, Waterfront (9.2, 1,062 reviews)
- King and Queen Hotel Suites (9.6, 546 reviews)
- Novotel New Plymouth Hobson (9.0, 522 reviews)
- The Devon Hotel A Heritage Hotel (8.8, 724 reviews)
9. Ruapehu, for surreal scenery
Ruapehu is a UNESCO site and is home to New Zealand’s oldest national park – Tongariro National Park has steaming craters, surreal lakes and strange rock formations. Its centerpiece, Mt Ruapehu is a gorgeous sight whether in summer or winter. Whanganui National Park is rich in wilderness and human history. If you are into mountain biking, Ruapehu is the place for you.
Things to Do in Ruapehu:
- Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Adrift Outdoors and Adventure Outdoors offer guided tours.
- Go Skiing at Whakapapa and Tūroa ski resorts
- Cycle the 200km Great Ride Trail along the countryside and Whanganui River, or the lower slopes of Mt Ruapehu (Ohakune Old Coach Road)
- Cycle or Walk the Timber Trail
- Kayak or canoe the Whanganui River
- Ride Whakapapa’s gondola up slopes of Mt Ruapehu to New Zealand’s highest cafe – Knoll Ridge
Where to Stay in Ruapehu:
- Millennium Hotel & Resort Manuels Taupo (8.9, 1,143 reviews)
- Le Chalet Suisse Motel Taupo (8.6, 1,236 reviews)
- Quality Suites Huka Falls (8.5, 2,114 reviews)
10. Taupō, for water sports & fishing
Lake Taupō is about the size of Singapore. Created nearly 2000 years ago by a volcanic eruption, visit Craters of the Moon to see evidence of the lake’s fiery birth. North of Taupō you will find the magnificent Huka Falls. Taupō is great for water-skiing, sailing, kayaking, and what it’s most famous for – fishing.
Things to Do in Taupō:
- Kayak in Lake Taupo and Waikatamo River
- Skydive in Taupo and see the gorgeous mountains of Tongariro National Park
- Conquer your fear of heights on a Taupo Bungy Jump into Waikato River
- Go on a Taupo Cliffhanger Extreme Swing (Here is a bungee jump + cliffhanger swing combo)
- Take a Jet Ride on the thundering Huka Falls
- Go river rafting on the mighty Tongariro river
- Cycle the Great Lake Trail and admire the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park. Tread Routes offer catered trips and guided rides
- Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (said to be New Zealand’s greatest day walk)
- Discover geothermal wonders at Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park or soak in geothermal waters at Wairakei Terraces
- Visit Huka Honey Hive and sample delicious honey, mead and liquor
- Go to the Huka Prawn Park
Where to stay in Taupō:
- The Reef Resort – Heritage collection (9.5, 566 reviews) – luxury apartments
- Hilton Lake Taupo (8.6, 1,499 reviews)
- The Kinloch Manor (9.8, 12 reviews) – luxury villas
11. Hawke’s Bay, for wine trails
Hawke’s Bay is wine country. It’s fertile soils and warm, temperate climate has resulted in it being New Zealand’s top producer of wine – notably, red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah, but also stunning chardonnays. Be sure to take a bicycle wine tour! Apart from wine, Hawke’s Bay is also known for art deco, architecture and bird watching.
Things to do in Hawke’s Bay:
- Hike a bike and taste your way around the region’s 72 vineyards (be sure to go to award-winning Te Mata Estate Winery and Craggy Range) Or check out the Hawke’s Bay Trails that stretches from Bay View to Cape Kidnappers
- Go cafe or bar-hopping along Marine Parade, stretching 3km of Napier’s coastline
- Visit the local Hawkes Bay farmers’ market for fresh fruit, artisan bread and picnic at a shady spot
- Hike or bike up Te Mata Peak for panoramic views
Where to stay in Hawke’s Bay:
- Navigate Seaside Hotel & Apartments (9.2, 613 reviews)
- Quest Napier Serviced Apartments (9.1, 1,154 reviews)
- Porters Boutique Hotel (9.2, 505 reviews)
- The Farm at Cape Kidnappers (9.9, 7 reviews) – gorgeous farmhouse
12. Manawatu, for an authentic Kiwi experience
Manawatu is heartland of New Zealand, offering honeymooners an authentic Kiwi experience. Here, you can river raft, visit museums, walk around the manicured gardens, and go horse-riding. The iconic Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is a must visit.
Things to do in Manawatu:
- Hike, bike or swim in Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve and experience native bush and wildlife
- Explore rural Manawatu on The Country Road
- Experience camping at Tōtara Reserve National Park
Where to Stay in Manawatu:
- The Glade Accommodation, Taumarunui (9.7, 82 reviews)
- Rocky Mountains Chalets Ohakune (9.1, 559 reviews)
13. Whanganui, for a heritage experience
Whanganui was one of the first cities to be founded in New Zealand. You will find heritage buildings, museums, galleries and gardens in this town. Find the famous ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ nestled in The Whanganui National Park. Jet boat in Whanganui river, or soak up the creative energy in the town.
Things to do in Whanganui:
- Have a picnic at the parks of Whanganui (Virginia Lake, Kowhai Park)
- Get a panoramic view of Whanganui from Durie Hill War Memorial Tower
- Go for a glass-blowing class at New Zealand Glassworks
- Spend a day fishing or surfing at South Beach, or Kai Iwi Beach or Castlecliff
Where to Stay in Whanganui:
- Te Awa Motel (8.7, 252 reviews)
- Aotea Motor Lodge (8.8, 745 reviews
- The Grand Hotel Wanganui (8.0, 725 reviews)
14. Wellington, for vibrant culture
The capital city of New Zealand features a compact blend of culture, history, nature and cuisine. Wellingon is named as one of the top 8 coffee cities by CNN, so be sure to get your coffee fix. Craft beer too is a must-try. Spend your day relaxing at Oriental bay (inner-city beach), touring museums and galleries, or go for an action-packed adventure like mountain biking and sea-water kayaking. For hikes, take the Makara Peak track or the City to Sea walk.
Things to do in Wellington:
- Train ride between Auckland and Wellington
- Take a Lord of the Rings Day Tour and see famous film locations
- Ride the historic Wellington Cable Car, the only operating funicular railway in New Zealand
- Visit Te Papa Museum to learn the geography and culture of New Zealand the history of the Maori people
- Explore Zealandia, a protected urban ecosanctuary where you will see kiwi birds and a three-eyed prehistoric reptile
- Book a Helicopter flight experience and admire the scenic areas of Wellington from above
- Go on a hop on hop off bus sightseeing flexible tour to see the main highlights of Wellington City, from Mount Victoria to Weta Cave
- Go to Mount Victoria lookout in central city (you can drive or walk through nature trails)
- Go on a gastronomic adventure at Hannahs Laneway, located in the heart of the city
Where to stay in Wellington:
- Intercontinental Wellington (9.1, 1,929 reviews)
- Bolton Hotel (9..0, 1,115 reviews)
- Sofitel Wellington (9.2, 552 reviews)
- Doubletree by Hilton Wellington (9.2, 788 reviews)
- James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor (8.4, 3,316 reviews)
15. Wairarapa, for a relaxing scenic vacation
An hour’s drive from Wellington will take you to Wairarapa, famous for its vineyards (Martinborough) and rugged landscapes. The towns here have an off-the-beaten-track charm for you to discover.
Things to do in Wairarapa:
- Go to Cape Palliser for a scenic adventure. Walk to Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve and climb the Cape Palliser Lighthouse
- Explore the Wairarapa region on Horseback (check out Gladstone Horse Treks)
- Go fishing at Lake Ferry and Castlepoint, or catch a trout at the Ruamahanga River
- Go vineyard hopping and be sure to taste some of New Zealand’s best pinot noirs
- Explore Castlepoint beach and spot dolphins, fur seals and if you are lucky, small whales!
Where to Stay in Wairarapa:
- Wharekauhau Country Estate (9.6, 12 reviews) – luxury option
We hope you enjoyed reading our guide to the must-see places in New Zealand North Island. If you’ve found this guide useful, please share this with your family and friends!
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