Things to do in
North Island

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Our most recommended things to do in North Island

Waitomo Glowworm Caves 45-Minute Guided Tour

1. Waitomo Glowworm Caves 45-Minute Guided Tour

Embark on a unique subterranean adventure on this 45-minute guided tour of the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The caves were formed over 30 million years ago and comprise 2 levels. The upper level is dry and includes the entrance to the cave and formations known as the Catacombs, the Pipe Organ, and the Banquet Chamber. On the lower level are stream passages and the Cathedral. Begin on foot as your local guide brings the caves to life with stories about their history. Then, board a boat and marvel at the light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto.

Waikato: Hobbiton Movie Set Guided Tour Ticket

2. Waikato: Hobbiton Movie Set Guided Tour Ticket

Take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set in Waikato. Step into the stunning landscapes of the Shire, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Take a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the only set that remains intact from the movie trilogies. Wander the rambling paths of The Shire and see the Hobbit Holes in the rolling hillsides. Follow your guide around the set as they show you the most famous locations and explain how the movie magic was made. Walk around the 12-acre set, past Hobbit Hole and the Mill. Then, step into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn. Sample an exclusive, specially brewed beverage to conclude your own Middle-Earth adventure.

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

3. From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.  The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life.  Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

4. Hukafalls: 30-Minute Jet Boat Experience

Your thrilling adventure will take you along the beautiful Waikato river environment, lined with native bush, sheer rock cliff faces, and natural hot springs. Enjoy the best water-level view of Huka Falls from the unique vantage point on the jet boat. The manoeuvrability of the Hukafalls jet boat is legendary. Be in awe at the speed and precision in which you torpedo gracefully down the river to play in the tail of the mighty whitewater of the Huka Falls. Pass by clouds of steam rising where a hot stream joins the river. See the Huka Prawn Park, the Wairakei Geo-Thermal Power Station, and the Aratiatia Dam. Zoom past sheer rock cliffs with just centimeters to spare, exhilarated and secure in the knowledge that your driver is an expert.

Whitianga: Cathedral Cove 2 Hour Boat Cruise

5. Whitianga: Cathedral Cove 2 Hour Boat Cruise

Based in Whitianga, this scenic boat cruise showcases Mercury Bay’s stunning coastal paradise at its very best. Embark on a 2-hour journey across the rugged volcanic shores of the bay and explore its beautiful beaches including Hahei and Lonely Bay. The highlight of the tour is the world-famous Cathedral Cove at Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve. The site has a rich Maori heritage, attracts around 150,000 visitors per year, and was used as a filming location for the blockbuster movie Narnia. Sit back and relax as you sail around the bay, and marvel at its stunning natural landscapes that stretch across the peninsula. Along the way, listen to your guide share entertaining live commentary about the bay and the wildlife that lives here. Make sure to keep an eye on the water too, as there's always a chance to see dolphins, whales and orcas in their natural habitat.

Waitomo Caves Black Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Experience

6. Waitomo Caves Black Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Experience

Check-in for your black water adventure in Waitomo. Your expert guide will provide equipment and instructions before you begin the subterranean journey. Take leaps of faith over cascading waterfalls and weave and climb through a glowworm-studded wonderland. After an energized trip, float serenely down the underground river. Enjoy the glow worm show on the vaulted limestone galleries up above. Ride a stream that twists and turns through a canyon, and tumble down a hidden waterfall and rock slide before emerging into the sun-dappled Waitomo forest.  The rafting base is located a short distance outside Waitomo Caves village. This is the booking and assembly point for all black water rafting expeditions. It is also the home of the Long Black Cafe, where you'll find delicious food, coffee, and friendly Kiwi service. 

Ruakuri Cave 1.25-Hour Guided Tour

7. Ruakuri Cave 1.25-Hour Guided Tour

Explore Ruakuri Cave, New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour. Ruakuri Cave offers a captivating blend of Waitomo's most compelling subterranean experiences. Ruakuri Cave has displays of glowworms and is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and marvel at the softly folding shawl-like limestone formations and crystal tapestries. Hear the distant thunder of the subterranean waterfalls and get up close to the glowworms. Major features include Holdens Cavern, named after James Holden who first opened the cave to the public, The Drum Passage, The Pretties, and The Ghost Passage. Your knowledgeable guide will bring the history, features and legends of the cave to life with their storytelling.  Many of the guides are local people whose parents and grandparents have guided in the caves. The experience will leave you open-mouthed, awe-struck and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.

Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

8. Bay of Islands: Bay Discovery Cruise with Island Stop-Over

Set off on a scenic 4.5 to 5-hour cruise to discover the very best of the Bay of Islands. Experience the spectacular scenery and encounter diverse wildlife in an area soaked in rich culture and history. Board the black and yellow power cat at Paihia Wharf and be welcomed aboard by the friendly crew. Your crew will deliver a full safety briefing and overview of the trip. Cruise among the 144 islands and enjoy entertaining live commentary from your local knowledgeable skipper. Visit the iconic Hole in the Rock and when conditions permit, you can even travel through it. Spot local wildlife including dolphins, birds, seals and even the occasional whale with a success rate of over 90%. Your trip will also include a 1.5-hour island stop at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Enjoy free time to explore the island. If you wish, you can hire kayaks, or paddleboards (available during summer only) or just relax on the beach. You can also choose to extend your stay on the island and return on a later ferry (only available during summer).

Auckland: Rangitoto Island Roundtrip Ferry Pass

9. Auckland: Rangitoto Island Roundtrip Ferry Pass

Take an affordable, easy, and stress-free 25-minute ferry journey to the popular Rangitoto Island. Travel from downtown Auckland to the island and back, while enjoying panoramic views of the stunning surrounding landscapes. Enjoy the flexibility and convenience of 2-4 departures a day depending on the season, which will allow you to fit the ferry ride into your travel schedule and get the chance to explore the island at your own leisure. During the sail, admire the view as the ferry cruises past Auckland’s stunning coastline. Upon arrival at the island, spend the day exploring and wandering through the unique landscapes of olive groves and sandy beaches before your return journey to the city.

Napier: Wine, Gin, & Craft Beer Tour with Included Tastings

10. Napier: Wine, Gin, & Craft Beer Tour with Included Tastings

Each winery will offer between 4-7 wines for a tasting split between reds and whites. Chardonnay is the dominant white wine variety produced in Hawkes Bay, but lovers of Sauvignon Blanc should not worry, as you'll also be tasting that at Mission Estate. Shiraz and Bordeaux blends are some of the dominant red varieties. The first estate winery you'll visit is Mission Estate, which was established in 1851. The tasting hall and associated restaurant are located in a two-story Victorian mansion that offers magnificent views over the vineyards. The next stop is the Urban Winery, located in the National Tobacco building, which is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture. This stop is optional if you wish to enjoy three craft beers of your choosing. Next door is the National Gin Distillery, where you'll get to taste five gins. Then, take a 15-minute drive past the orchards and vineyards of Esk Valley, arriving at Linden Estate. Linden produces only 60,000 bottles of wine split between 13 different varietals. This will be a seated tasting with a complimentary cheese board of New Zealand cheeses.  Afterward, travel back to Napier for drop-off in the early evening.

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What people are saying about North Island

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 9,752 reviews

From the moment we were picked up to the moment we were dropped back to our accomodation we had the best time. Ross was a great guide, we really enjoyed his Company and the service he provides. He showed great knowledge of the area and history and was very friendly.

Fabulous flight over Waiheke Really enjoyed the experience- great commentary and such a peaceful feeling up there

Such a beautiful experience with an amazing tour guide! Would recommend for any and all LOTR fans.

Beautiful cave formations. Interesting knowledge about glow worms. And the spiral was super cool

Mike was an amazing travel guide. Hobbiton was beautiful.