New Zealand is well renowned for its stunning natual landscapes, cultural heritage, and friendly people. It is filled with an abundance of adventure, great surfing locations, plenty of opportunities to relax, and countless locations to wine and dine. The North Island is home to just as many “must do’s” as the South Island and we’re here to outline a few of our favourite locations to visit. Travelling by car is hands down the best way to see the North Island, so hiring a car or a van would be our top tip to ensure you have a one-of-a-kind experience.
Approximately 220 kilometers south of Auckland you will find Mount Maunganui, a small coastal town known for its stunning beaches and laidback atmosphere. Here you can indulge in an abundance of outdoor activities, from surfing and snorkeling to hiking and fishing – there’s plenty to do. Likened to the southern coast of California, The Mount is the perfect place to go if you’re searching for chilled out vibes and some great local food and drinks. Perch yourself on the white sand beach and watch the world go by whilst soaking up some warm sunny rays.
If you head west for approximately 115 kilometers you will arrive in Hamilton. Hamilton is a hub for all thing’s tourism. Home to rolling green hills, grand limestone caves, spectacular coastlines and more, Hamilton is a must do spot on your NZ road trip. Not far out of town you can experience magic at Hobbiton – the location where the movie “The Hobbit” was filmed. Here you can explore their homes in the hill and dine like a Hobbit with an evening dinner tour. Another great activity close to Hamilton is the Glow Worm caves. Here you can explore the underworld by taking a boat tour through striking limestone caves twinkling with glow worms. Hamilton is also home to a number of museums and art galleries where you can go to admire the work of local artists.
If you continue west, you will hit the picturesque west coast of New Zealand. Here you will find endless surfing locations, stunning coastal walks, and plenty of sleepy coastal towns. One of our favourites would have to be Onaero Bay. Situated less than 30 kilometers from New Plymouth you will be treated to stunning vistas and the coastal town vibe, without being too far away from the big town action. Check out the scenery either on foot or by car. Explore what the area has to offer. Not far south you will find the towering Mt Taranaki, Pukekura Park, Brooklands Zoo, and plenty of place to eat and drink! For more information on what to do in and around Onaero Bay click here!
If you head further south towards wellington you will find yourself in Masterton. Located in the Greater Wellington region of New Zealand, Masterton is the largest town of the rural Wairarapa region, separated from Wellington by the picturesque Rimutaka Range. Masterton is one of the earliest inland settlements of New Zealand and is well-renowned for its historical sites and lush parklands, including Queen Elizabeth Park, and its growing wine industry and culture. Serving a combination of sheep, dairy, fruit and cereal farms, the town is widely known as the ‘capital’ of New Zealand sheep shearing, hosting the annual ‘Golden Shears’, the World’s premier shearing and wool handling championship.
New Zealand’s North Island is home to so many more adventures and experiences we highly recommended looking into a NZ road trip for your next holiday – especially since it is advised we holiday at home this year.