As many travelers and locals alike know, New Zealand is no stranger to breathtaking natural beauty. While the South Island generally receives more attention for its nature, the North Island has plenty of landscapes and scenery to offer as well. Whether you use a car rental in Takapuna, or travel by motorbike from Auckland, or even decide to hitchhike, there’s plenty of ways to find the ultimate thrill or the perfect place to relax and take in incredible views. From volcanic havens, national parks, and modern cities, it’s time to wander from The City of Sails and head out on an adventure like no other. Natural wonders await, so check out our list of the very best sights that this gorgeous country has to offer.
1. Mount Taranaki
An active stratovolcano clocking in at 2,518 metres high, this natural wonder is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. A magnificent sight to behold and surrounded by lush greenery, it’s no surprise why Mount Taranaki is at the very top of our list. There are tons of easy and accessible viewing points around the volcano, but if you’re looking for a hike you can find more difficult spots to view the volcano as well. Ancient Maori mythology says that when the mountain is covered by rain clouds, Taranaki is hiding his sadness. But when the sun comes out, he is showing himself to his love. How romantic!
2. Hot Water Beach
Found in Mercury Bay on the East coast, the hot water beach is the perfect way to relax and unwind after a long day. Bath in underground, hot spring water that goes up to 64 celsius! The best time to get in on the action is two hours on either side of low tide, when the thermal water filters up into the sands. Take a shovel and a bucket, dig yourself a hole in the sand, and chill out in your own personal bath.
3. Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Volcanic activity in the region has lead to the creation of around 300 wonderful caves in the Waitomo region. Made from Oligocene Limestone, you can take a tour through some of the greatest caves in the area, or even attempt an extreme-sports crawl. We recommend finding the caves that call themselves home to an array of beautiful glowworms. For an extra special experience, take a boat ride under the starry skies of glowing light.
4. Rangitikei River
Over 185 metres long and used in the legendary Lord of The Rings films, Rangitikei River is a famous adventure spot you simply cannot afford to miss. Try your hand at jetboating, white water rafting, kayaking, or fishing. If none of these water activities are your cup of tea, head to the sharp, clay cliffs that are unique to this area for something even more adventurous—bungee jumping!
5. Huka Falls
These breathtaking falls stand 11 metres high, are part of Lake Taupo, and push through around 220,000 liters of water per second, making them an intensely powerful sight to see. Stop here to take in the view, have a picnic, take a boat trip, or even go mountain biking along dedicated tracks.