Top Things to do in New Zealand: North Island

Top Things to do in New Zealand: North Island

Embark on an unforgettable winter road trip through New Zealand's North Island, where breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and unique experiences await at every turn.

Welcome to the North Island of New Zealand, a captivating destination brimming with unforgettable experiences. In this blog post, we will guide you through the top things to do in New Zealand’s North Island.

Starting in the bustling metropolis of Auckland and journeying through the stunning Bay of Plenty, cultural Rotorua, majestic Taupo, and lively Hamilton, this road trip will immerse you in the beauty and charm of the North Island.

Discover the top attractions and must-see destinations in each location, ensuring a winter adventure you won’t soon forget.


Begin your North Island road trip in Auckland, the vibrant gateway to New Zealand. Despite the cooler temperatures, Auckland offers a multitude of winter activities. Explore the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, visit the iconic Sky Tower, and indulge in a culinary journey at the bustling Viaduct Harbour.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hop on the ferry across to Waiheke Island and sample exquisite wines at local vineyards. Capture breathtaking views of the city skyline from atop Mount Eden, and embrace Auckland’s cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Bay of Plenty
Top Things to do in New Zealand: North Island

Venture east to the Bay of Plenty region, where pristine beaches and coastal charm await. In Waihi, discover the fascinating history of gold mining with a visit to the Gold Discovery Centre. Take advantage of the nature-immersed walking and bike tracks that offer magnificent views of this stunning area.

Drive for 1 hour along the coastline until you reach the relaxed town of Papamoa. Indulge in a leisurely stroll along the stunning white sands of Papamoa Beach, and soak up the warm winter sun’s rays. Check out the local restaurants in the area and satisfy your inner foodie before continuing along the coastline to Ohiwa.

Truly a destination designed to allow you to unwind. This tranquil escape provides some of New Zealand’s best native bush walks, beaches and wildlife. Explore the Ohiwa Harbour by kayak or paddleboard (available to hire at Tasman Holiday Parks – Ohiwa Beach), enjoy fishing for dinner right from the shoreline, or simply rewind and rejuvenate as you take in your surroundings.


Continuing your journey south, you’ll reach the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Despite the chilly weather, Rotorua’s thermal attractions are a must-see. Immerse yourself in Maori culture at Te Puia, where you can witness the famous Pohutu Geyser and experience a traditional Hangi feast.

Soak in the natural geothermal hot pools at Hell’s Gate Geothermal Reserve and Mud Spa, offering a blissful retreat amidst the winter chill. Don’t forget to explore the Redwoods Forest, where you can enjoy invigorating hikes or even try your hand at mountain biking through the towering trees.

Top Things to do in New Zealand: North Island

Next on your itinerary is the captivating town of Taupo, nestled on the shores of Lake Taupo. Winter in Taupo offers a range of thrilling outdoor activities. Experience the exhilaration of skydiving over the stunning lake, or embark on a scenic cruise to the mesmerizing Maori Rock Carvings.

For a truly unique adventure, take a helicopter ride and witness the snow-capped mountains surrounding Lake Taupo. Unwind in the healing waters of the Otumuheke Stream or enjoy a relaxing soak in natural hot pools at the Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort.


As you head back towards Auckland, make a stop in Hamilton, known for its beautiful gardens and vibrant arts scene. Explore the enchanting Hamilton Gardens, featuring stunning themed gardens from around the world.

Discover the history of New Zealand’s aviation at the Classic Flyers Museum, or take a leisurely walk along the peaceful riverside paths. Don’t miss a visit to the Hamilton Zoo, where you can encounter fascinating wildlife from around the globe.

Top Things to do in New Zealand: North Island

From the bustling cityscape of Auckland to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, the stunning natural landscapes of Taupo, and the charming allure of Hamilton, each destination offers unique attractions and activities that cater to every traveller’s interests.

New Zealand’s North Island is a year-round destination, and winter offers a unique charm that shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to pack warm clothing, comfortable footwear, and a spirit of adventure as you embark on this unforgettable road trip.

So, hit the road and create cherished memories with friends and family as you discover the magic that awaits at every destination.

Find comfortable, clean and convenient accommodation in each location that suits every traveller’s budget here.

You might also like:

Want to be the first to hear about special deals and holiday inspiration?

By subscribing to our mailing list you consent to the collection, use and management of your personal information as described in our Privacy Policy.