Top 10 Winter Experiences in North Island

North Island’s Central Plateau is bubbling with excitement year-round. Hit the road in this stunning region this winter and enjoy these top experiences.

See the impressive Taranaki Falls

Starting near the Whakapapa Information Centre, the Taranaki Falls loop track in Ruapehu region follows the crystal clear river to the impressive Taranaki Falls. Enjoy fabulous volcanic views along the way before reaching the remarkable falls.

White water rafting on Tongariro River

The waters of the Tongariro River in the Lake Taupo region provide one of nature's finest, fun-filled rollercoaster rides. The lower part of the river features grade 3 rapids with stunning gorges while fun rafting guides make the ride even more enjoyable. If you're feeling adventurous, you can take on more extreme rapids in the upper gorge.

Ski on expansive volcanic terrain

Take the chairlift up New Zealand’s largest volcano, Mount Ruapehu. Hit the Turoa area on the southwest side for Australasia’s biggest vertical drop and expansive, open runs or head to Whakapapa on the northern side for a dramatic volcanic feel. If ski is not your gig, just enjoy coffee and fabulous views from what feels like the top of the world.

Walk on an active volcano

Get up close to roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams and the amazing lake of steaming acid at White Island or Whakaari, 50km off the coast of the Bay of Plenty near Rotorua. It is hard to imagine this other-worldly island was ever inhabited by humans.  

Have fun at Happy Valley Snow Park

If you visit in winter, you simply can’t stay away from the slopes. For those who stay off the skies more than on them, Happy Valley Snow Park is ideal. Located in Whakapapa (Mount Ruapehu), it is a premiere beginners' area providing hours of snow fun.

Soak in geothermal waters

No visit to Rotorua is complete without a dip in the naturally-heated mineral waters of Polynesian Spa and a lush spa therapy. This tranquil lakeside retreat was voted among the world's Top 10 Spa's by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine.

Discover a subterranean wonderland

Beneath the rolling hills of Waitomo, around two hours from Auckland, lies a network of limestone caverns with stunning formations and glowworm-lit caves enjoyed on a guided boat tour. If you’re into adventure try the unique black water rafting experience on the underground rivers.

Sail on a stunning lake

Taking the grand stand in the stunning Lake Taupo region is a beautiful lake the size of Singapore. There is a seemingly endless list of things to do on and around the lake. Enjoy a relaxing cruise to the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings, take a scenic flight to get the best views or head out for a stroll on one of the many lakeside walks.

Visit the iconic Huka Falls

Feel the thundering roar of 220,000 litres of water squeezing its way through a slim ravine at Huka Falls in Lake Taupo. The falls are one of New Zealand’s most popular natural attractions and can be viewed from a vantage point on the footbridge or on a thrilling jet boat ride.

Embrace the Maori culture at Te Puia

Visit Te Puia in Rotorua to see the might of the iconic Pohutu Geyser that spurts hot water up to 30 metres skyward – a true show of the Earth’s raw power. The park is bursting with geothermal wonders of Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Valley and is a great spot to soak in the rich Maori culture, including live performances. 

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