I spent just under two weeks driving around New Zealand’s North Island before heading to the South Island, and during those weeks I found so many awesome things to see and do…compiling this list was pretty hard! But here they are, my top ten things to do if you’re ever on the North Island:
1. Rent a Campervan from Jucy Rentals and drive around. We got the Jucy Condo and we loved it…it has two double beds and a fully functional kitchen. Awesome!
2. Skydive over Lake Taupo with Skydive Taupo. It’s an incredible feeling and they really look after you. If you choose one of the package deals you’ll also get photos, a t-shirt and a personalised DVD of your whole experience (you can even choose your own music).
3. If you’re in a campervan, stay at as many of the DOC (Department of Conservation) Sites as you can…our favourite was Lake Okareka, just outside Rotorua.
4. Discover the Waitomo Caves and look in awe at the glowworms as you float through the caves on a boat (or, if you’re feeling daring, ride through the caves on a big rubber ring).
5. Visit the Coromandel Peninsula and take a walk down to Cathedral Cove, a huge limestone archway on a beautiful sandy beach.
6. Make the trip north of Auckland to the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga, one of the most northern points of the North Island.
7. Experience the café culture in Wellington. Our favourites were The Lido Cafe on Victoria Street (just opposite the I-Site) and Cafe Fidels on Cuba Street
8. Visit Hot Water Beach (on the Coromandel Peninsula) and dig yourself a big whole in the sand until the hot water from the thermal springs comes up and you’ve made yourself your very own bath on the beach.
9. Stay in Tongariro National Park (at one of the DOC Sites) and, weather permitting, do some of the walks in the surrounding areas or, if you’re feeling energetic, do the Alpine Crossing, an epic 6/7 hour walk that takes you from one side of the park to the other.
10. Give yourself plenty of time. We did it in just under two weeks and while we saw most of what we wanted to see, it didn’t really give us any leeway to stay in places more than a day…beware that the weather can really mess up your well laid plans.