Top 5 Spots to Stop in New Zealand’s North Island

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    New Zealand’s North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) is a treasure trove of attractions. But where are the top spots to stop in North Island? These are our picks for the top 5 stops you shouldn’t miss.

    1. Fish and chips on the way to Paihia

    Northland is renowned for its fresh local kai moana (seafood). Call into any fish and chip establishment on your drive north to Paihia and ask the friendly staff for their recommendation. Find yourself a comfy spot – a local park is good, the beach is even better – and tuck in. Best eaten immediately with gusto.

    Fish & chips on North Island
    Tuck into take away fish & chips on North Island l Photo by Davey Gravy

    2. Hot Water Beach

    An underground river of naturally-heated water flows just below the golden sands of the aptly named Hot Water Beach on Coromandel Peninsula. Visitors come from near and far to dig a pool and enjoy a soak in the mineral water, only metres from the refreshing ocean waves. Bring your own spade or hire one from a local café.

    3. Hobbiton

    Hobbiton, North Island
    The magical view from Hobbiton

    There is something extraordinarily magical about stepping into Hobbiton, and you will be delighted to find that it remains exactly as it was depicted in the Lord of the Rings. Meander along the paths of the little village with its gardens and hobbit holes, and down to the mill on the river. Finish your tour in true hobbit style, with a beverage at the world-famous Green Dragon.

    4. Huka Falls

    Located only a few minutes north of Taupō, the dramatic Huka Falls is an incredible sight to behold and New Zealand’s most visited natural wonder. You’ll hear the deafening roar of the falls before you see it.

    Experience the beautiful power pf Huka Falls
    Experience the beautiful power of Huka Falls

    The banks of the Waikato River narrow abruptly, forcing a huge volume of water through the rocky gorge. 220,000 litres per second comes thundering over a volcanic ledge and crashes 11 metres into the river below, creating a broiling mass of white water. The bridge that spans the river is perfectly situated for viewing the cacophonous spectacle, the riverside track offers a pleasant walk as well as some different vantage points.

    5. Art Deco Napier

    Napier, North Island
    Enjoy the unique atmosphere of the Art Deco style Napier

    Napier was devastated by a major earthquake in 1931, and almost entirely rebuilt in the Art Deco style. The stunning buildings have been lovingly preserved and the city is often referred to as the Art Deco Capital of the World. If you’re a true fanatic you should time your visit to coincide with the annual festival, but there are plenty of year-round tours showcasing the grand old sights. Whether by bus, on foot, or chauffeured in a classy vintage car, you can step back in time in this special city.

    Want to experience the best of the North Island?

    Browse our selection of coach tours and see how you can see the best of the North Island… And more. Our New Zealand senior coach tours will take you to the popular spots and hidden gems of the North Island. We’re looking forward to welcoming you onboard.

    Kirra Crew

    Kirra Crew

    We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries. And we love to blog about exploring New Zealand and the many things to do & see here. Check out our articles and experience New Zealand your way.
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