Traveling can have many different meanings depending on who you ask. For some, it means a weekend trip to the campground 20 minutes from your house. To others, it may mean hopping on a flight and flying across the globe. I recently had the privilege to explore the beautiful North Island of New Zealand and it was incredible! For you nature enthusiasts out there, it made my jaw drop on many occasions. The sheer diversity of land and scenery is amazing and the values that are instilled in the culture are like none I’ve seen before.
You may be wondering, where do I even start when trying to book a trip to visit NewZealand? Well, I’ve got you covered! Here is your guide to traveling the North Island!
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide what your priorities are when visiting. If you want to see the major cities then finding an AirBnB would be a safe bet, but for the more adventurous folk a camper van is the way to go! New Zealand has an extensive array of campgrounds and holiday parks that are perfect for someone traveling around the islands!
Next you’ll want to decide where you want to visit. Here are the highlights from my trip that I think are must-sees!
- The Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings! There are day tours available from Auckland and it is such a cool experience, especially if you’ve seen the Hobbit films. The owners are in the process of creating a fully built-out hobbit hole. It may come as a surprise that the hobbit doors that were used to film the movies didn’t actually have anything behind them except a retaining wall. However, coming soon there will be a hobbit hole that is fully furnished that guests can tour!
- Hot Water Beach- This beach is on the Coromandel Peninsula and has a very special feature. Because New Zealand is made up of islands, it has a lot of geothermal activity. At Hot Water Beach, visitors dig holes on the beach and hot water will seep up through the sand to create your very own personal spa! However, the area is only accessible during low tide so you have to time it just right to catch this experience!
- Rotorua- The town of Rotorua is located in the center of the North Island and is known for a few things: it’s high geothermal activity, heavy Maori influence (the native culture), and the smell of sulfur! This area is a great place to tour a Maori village and see a live cultural performance like the Haka- a cultural dance of the Maori people used when facing an enemy. Fun fact: it can also be seen performed by many professional New Zealand sports teams before games!
- The Cape Reinga Lighthouse- This lighthouse marks the northernmost tip of New Zealand. Looking out over the water, you can see white caps where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. It is respected as such and New Zealanders bring photos of their loved ones to the lighthouse to pay tribute.
These were just a few of the amazing places that I saw on my trip, but I was also able to take a surfing lesson, hike behind a waterfall, and go sand surfing on sand dunes! New Zealand has so much to offer and is truly the perfect place for nature lovers to really embrace their surroundings and appreciate some of the incredible sights that this world has to offer.