Top 5 Things To Do In New Zealand (North Island)
One of the most unique things about New Zealand is how many different landscapes and activities you have access to in such a small area. You can drive from the ocean, to the hot springs, to the lake in a matter of minutes or hours. New Zealand is the home of luscious green forests, amazing geothermal activity, and, of course, Hobbiton.
#5 – Learn About Maori Culture
The Maori are the people who first inhabited New Zealand. They were voyagers who found the islands and made them their home. We went to an interactive, educational, interesting show where they informed us about how they used to live. We walked through a mock village and had a feast using their traditional cooking techniques. We learned how they are continuing their traditions through the school they have there and passing it on to the next generations. The students learn crafts like sculpting, boat building, jewelry making, and basket weaving.
#4 – Soak In Natural Hot Springs
This was one of my favorite parts of visiting New Zealand. We drove to the Spa Park in Taupo and walked down a path to get to the spot where the stream met the river. There was a little waterfall that fed warm water into a pool before it entered the river. The closer you got to the waterfall, the hotter it was. It was nice to be able to choose your temperature and enjoy the luscious green forest surrounding us as well as the sound of the water rushing past. You can find other geothermal activity in New Zealand as well. Geisers, hot springs, and a boiling hot lake can all be found on this island. There are also many waterfalls and raging rivers to be seen.
#3 – Adventure in Paihia
When we got to Paihia, we were extremely jet lagged and exhausted, but we couldn’t ignore the immediate beauty. We stayed near the beach and planned to go kayaking. The kayaking didn’t work out though I’m sure it’s a wonderful place to do it. Instead, we ended up going for a hike through the rainforest and discovering a waterfall along with some very unique landscapes. We walked through a marshy area full of sticks/tiny treelings sticking out of the mud while on a boardwalk. We also went parasailing in the ocean off the coast. It was exhilarating to say the least. The boat started going, and we slowly inched our way upwards to the sky. The view from above was incredible. We could see much of the jagged coastline along with the ocean below and the horizon. I would recommend parasailing or even skydiving in Paihia.
#2 – Marvel the Redwood Forest
I had never seen redwood trees before traveling to New Zealand. There are only a few places in the world where redwoods grow, California being the most convenient for those of us in the US. I knew they were tall, but I had no idea they were THAT tall. Right outside of Rotorua, you can find the redwoods forest called Whakarewarewa. There is a Redwoods Treewalk available for those who wanted to get a better view of the trees. However, the view from the ground was pretty spectacular all by itself.
#1 – Explore Glow Worm Caves
Have you seen the night sky when it’s not hindered by light pollution? That’s kind of what this looks like. The glow worm caves in New Zealand are famous for resembling stars. If you visit the Waitomo glow worm caves, you will enter the caves on a boat and drift through the passage with millions of worms above you glowing a greenish blue color. There are no cameras allowed inside the caves, and even though you may have seen pictures from a professional photographer, the real thing is a vision you will never forget. The worms hang down much like icicle Christmas lights, and their glow will illuminate parts of the cave otherwise immersed in darkness.
The north island of New Zealand has much to offer in terms of variety and beauty. You could spend weeks there and not run out of things to do. After traveling to more places, I see a resemblance between the north island and many different small pieces of different countries, but none of them have the same vibrant green, adventurous activities, and wondrous spirit as New Zealand.