New Zealand’s North Island: a storybook itinerary

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New Zealand North Island itinerary

I’ve already posted a storybook version of our itinerary for New Zealand’s South Island, so here’s one for the North Island. For more details, have a look at the huge post I wrote with every last detail of our whole one-month New Zealand road trip, including what we did, where we stayed and how much it all cost…

New Zealand North Island Itinerary

New Zealand road trip Wellington

We arrived from the South Island to Wellington, the itty bitty capital with views across the bay.

Plan a trip to New Zealand_-164Due north is Tongariro, home of hiking…

New Zealand road trip Tongariiro

…and Mount Doom!

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When you leave the mountains behind…

North Island itinerary - Lake Taupo

…you come to Lake Taupo and its deep blue calm.

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Huka Falls roars a mighty growl….

North Island itinerary - Lake Taupo

…and at Wairakei Terraces, you can visit the thermals…

New Zealand road trip lake taupo

….then lay back in the natural spa pools.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Rotorua

Rotorua is the thermal wonderland. Go to Wai-o-Tapu where you can…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Rotorua

…see Lady Knox do her thing.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Rotorua

Then marvel at the coloured lakes…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Rotorua

…from yellow…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Rotorua

…to green…

NZ road trip wai o tapu

…to orange.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Hobbiton

Matamata is the home of Hobbiton.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Hobbiton

Be charmed by the houses…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Hobbiton

…pose like Hobbits…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Mata Mata

…and feel just like a giant.

Sunset_near_Treehouse_012

Up the coast is Coromandel…

Cathedral Cove

…home to the magnificent Cathedral Cove…

Hot Water Beach

…and the crazy hot spring beach.

Coromandel tree house, New Zealand Glamping Hub

Stay in a house amid the trees

Treehouse Coromandel

…do yoga…

Treehouse Coromandel

….bbq…

Coromandel tree house, New Zealand Glamping Hub

…and gaze upon the sunsets.

Tree_House-15

There’s magic in the light.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a paradisiacal treat.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

Ride upon a tall ship…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

…pretend you’re in Titanic…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

…then climb the rigging…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

…all the way to the top.

NZ North island itinerary - boom netting in bay of Islands

Other boats have boom netting to pull you in the swells.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

Sail through the hole in the rock…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

…and spot a school of thousands of fish.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

If you’ll lucky you’ll spot dolphins…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Bay of Islands

…playing in the streams…

Plan a trip to New Zealand_-182

…and making rainbows with their breath.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Waipoua

For more magnificence, there’s Waipoua…

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Waipoua

…home to Tāne Mahuta, the king of the forest.

Plan a trip to New Zealand - Waipoua

…and Te Matua Ngahere, the father of the forest.

New Zealand road trip New Plymouth road

If you go in March, you might drive down the coast, through tree-lined roads to New Plymouth…

New Zealand road trip - WOMAD

…where you’ll find WOMAD, world of music, arts and dance.

WOMAD New Zealand

Watch music from across the globe…

North Island itinerary - WOMAD

…see traditional Maori dance…

North Island itinerary

…bask in the magical vibes…

Best festival toilets

…be impressed by the toilets…

North Island itinerary - WOMAD

…then seek out all the food stalls..

North Island itinerary - WOMAD

…and gorge on sweet delights.

Glowing Adventures Waitomo

Next be brave and face the underworld

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…traversing caves at Waitomo…

Glowing Adventures

…for a muddy day out.

New Zealand North Island - Raglan

Raglan is the spot for surfing…

New Zealand North Island - Raglan

…a place to drink in nature…

New Zealand North Island - Raglan

…and eat some excellent food.

New Zealand North Island itinerary

New Zealand is a place that brings you joy.

For more info on all of these places, read our full one-month New Zealand road trip itinerary, which has all the details of what we did, where we stayed and how much it all cost. I’ve also done a similar storybook itinerary for the South Island. And here’s a quide to what to pack for New Zealand.

11 thoughts on “New Zealand’s North Island: a storybook itinerary”

  1. Absolutely gorgeous shots of this trip, you’re making me even more excited for my trip next year!! 🙂
    Love the Hobbiton pic you guys look hilarious x

  2. Amazing photos! Despite my bad luck streak in New Zealand you’re making me miss it and all the incredible views! I was just going through my photos and videos of my swim with the dolphins last night. You never told me how it went with the Hector’s dolphins??

  3. Hey Victoria,

    Amazing photographs, indeed. Looking these images of wonderful places was awesome moment for me. Really New Zealand North Island is a worth to visit for every person. I’m so excited to see these places to my open eyes and it was because of reading your this post on itinerary. Seems like you guys were very relaxed visiting there.

    Now I have a desire to go for North Island to be familiar these places which is included in the form of picture above. I got amazed to be familiar with Wairakei Terraces and caves at Waitomo. Don’t mind, you are looking so funny with muddy dress.

    Looks wonderful the traditional Maori dance. Thanks for sharing all about this with us.
    Have a nice weekend.
    – Ravi.

  4. I love the concept behind this post! What a great way to give your readers a short visual tour through a country. I was absolutely hooked and sad to find myself at the end of the post. 🙂

    For us, New Zealand was love at first sight, wanting to stop at every turn to take photos of its beautiful landscapes. After a year of wandering the world, we tell people New Zealand is the most beautiful country we’ve been so far!

  5. Hello! First of all, let me say how much I adore your blog. Last year I pretty much stole your honeymoon, and went to Mauritius for 5 days, followed by a stint in Capetown, and then a few days at Makanyi Lodge. We had the time of our lives! I have time for only a week in NZ, would you recommend the north or south island? Thanks!!
    Sarah

    • Hi! That’s wonderful that you had a similar honeymoon to us – really glad the blog was useful! I think I’ve just responded to your question about NZ on another post. Essentially, it’s very difficult to choose as it depends on your priorities. I loved both, but I guess if pushed, I’d say go for the South Island as it has some of the most spectacular scenery (in my opinion)

    • That’s very hard to answer. It depends on your priorities! I’d recommend looking through both my itineraries and seeing which things appeal to you most. Either one is a good choice.

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