From cone shaped mountains to picturesque golden beaches, geothermal wonders, and just as many Lord of the Rings-inspired locations, add these fabulous attractions into your North Island itinerary.
1. Explore Waitomo Caves
Another world awaits below Waitomo, and the big reveal is almost beyond belief. This amazing maze of limestone caves – lined with stalagmites, stalactites, and galaxies of glowworms – can be explored on a guided walk or boat tour, or a thrilling Black Water Rafting trip through subterranean waterways.
The Pouakai Crossing(opens in new window) is a 19-kilometre trail that takes in the highlights of Egmont National Park. Winding across the slopes of the mighty Mount Taranaki, this track is one of the best full-day hikes in the North Island. You'll get spectacular views, particularly at the picturesque Pouakai tarns. On a clear, calm day, these small alpine pools reflect the mountain perfectly, offering unmissable photo opportunities.
4. See the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet in Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua
Few road trips are as magical as Northland'sTwin Coast Highway, which traces a seemingly endless procession of beautiful beaches and harbours, and reaches the remote extremity of Cape Reinga. Also known as Te Rerenga Wairua, this unforgettable place is where spirits are said to leap off on their final journey, across the swirling waters where two oceans meet.
8. Snorkel or dive Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve
Beneath the water around the Poor Knights Islands lie caves, arches, cliffs and tunnels, creating a submarine playground to explore. The unique biodiversity of this marine reserve make it an excellent diving or snorkelling location. Jacques Cousteau famously rated the Poor Knights Islands as one of the top 10 dive spots in the world.
On the boat trip out to the islands, located 23 kilometres off the Tutukaka Coast in Northland, you might spot dolphins, orca, or Bryde's whales.
Fed by the mighty Waikato River, Lake Taupō and the Taupō region is abundant with water and waterfalls.
Huka Falls is a thunderous fall where nearly a quarter of a million litres of water bursts through a natural gorge. You can visit Huka Falls via a short walking track to a viewing platform, or for an added thrill take a jet boat ride up the river, close enough to the base of the falls that you will feel spray on your face.