New Zealand is such a naturally beautiful country in itself. Some liken it to Australia, some liken it to Canada, but to me, New Zealand offers its own unique experiences that must be seen to be believed. In today's post I want to share with you the 10 things not to miss in New Zealand on the North Island in the hope that you too are inspired to visit and experience for yourself the wonders.
1) Swimming with the Dolphins in the Bay of Islands
This would have to be my favourite experience I had whilst visiting the North Island and one of the top things not to miss in New Zealand. We ventured out from Paihia for a day on the boat, hanging our heads over the front of the boat whilst the dolphins swum a metre from us. We even braved the cold water without wetsuits (it was supposed to be summer!) to swim with the pod.
2) Sipping wine on Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is just a day trip from Auckland, although you can spend longer and why wouldn't you! With many wineries on the island including Cable Bay, The Hay Paddock and Awaroa you are bound to find a wine you enjoy. You can hire a car (or a driver) for the day and explore the many vineyards stopping for lunch along the way. Why not try number 1 on Trip Advisor Poderi Crisci for authentic Italian food.
3) Getting up and close with the glowworms in the Waitomo Caves
Explore the different caves on a guided tour and listen to the amazing reverberations of the guide singing deep inside the cave. Tilt your head backwards for a dark boat ride through the underground river before emerging into the sunlight at the other end.
4) Inhaling a whiff of sulphur at Te Puia Rotorua
It is a distinct smell the sulphur and an experience unique to this part of the world. They have tours every day or you can explore the 60 hectare park independently and see the world famous Pohutu Geyser. The park is also a Maori cultural centre with concerts offered multiple times a day. I even bought a few Rotorua mud skincare products at the gift shop to take home with me.
5) Attempting to hit a hole in one on Lake Taupo
Rated one of the top things not to miss in New Zealand, the Lake Taupo Hole In One Challenge has been entertaining locals and visitors for 20 years with its offer of $10,000 for anyone who can hit a hole in one. The catch? The hole is positioned on a floating pontoon in the middle of the lake, roughly 8 x 12 metres. Over the years there have been 947 winners at time of writing this article (really? that many?!). For more details check out the challenge conditions here.
6) Relax at Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula
Hot Water Beach is as the name suggest a beach that has hot water. Located on the Coromandel Peninsula, the hot water comes from natural underground hot springs which filter up through the sand. Locals and visitors alike tend to dig a hole and sit in the sand with the hot water forming a natural hot tub.
7) Visiting Hobbiton, famous from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings
Discover the real Middle Earth at Hobbiton near Matamata with movie set tours and dining at the Green Dragon Inn or Shire's Rest Café. Whether you are a Lord of the Rings fanatic or not, the green landscape and hobbit houses will steal your heart as one of the most authentic things not to miss in New Zealand.
8) Art Deco in Napier
Napier is well renowned as the art deco capital of New Zealand with its unique Maori motifs and more traditional geometric shapes. After a devastating earthquake in 1931, the locals rebuilt the town in true art deco style of the 1930s. The Art Deco Trust offers walking tours to learn about the fascinating history or art deco of this town.
9) Skiing Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park
Ski in the winter or hike the magnificent volcanoes in summertime. No matter what time of the year there are things to do for backpackers, romantics and families. Have lunch in New Zealand's highest café at the Knoll Ridge Chalet or take a scenic chairlift ride over the volcanic landscape. This is definitely a highlight and one of the things not to miss in New Zealand!
10) Ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car
If you visit Wellington you must do the Cable Car. It is one of the things not to miss in New Zealand. Known as windy Wellington, you wouldn't expect there to be a cable car running from Lambton Quay to Kelburn which looks out over the city from above. You can visit the Botanic Gardens, Space Place or Zealandia ecosanctuary.
Have you travelled to New Zealand before or is it on your BUCKET LIST? What about the South Island? I would love to hear your thoughts! Don't forget to repin this post for anyone looking at travelling to NZ.
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