Two Week North Island New Zealand Itinerary

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The nicest way to get to know this beautiful, small and diverse country is by car since it allows you to stop whenever and wherever you want to explore. So, fill up on gas and follow our two-week itinerary of North Island New Zealand.

On the other hand, if you want to travel at the lowest cost possible, the best way is to buy one of the tourist buses passes to travel the country. However, you do not have the same freedom due to having to follow schedules and stops.

New Zealand (NZ) has some of the most scenic roads in the world and with them being very easy to follow, with a good map, it is very unlikely that you’ll get lost. 

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet New Zealand (Travel Guide)


Two Week North Island New Zealand Itinerary

Auckland skyline - North Island New Zealand Itinerary

3 Days in Auckland

To start your North Island New Zealand vacation, we recommend spending the first day in the city of Auckland to get used to your new time zone. Regardless of where you are coming from, the shock of the time difference (can be +13h) will probably make you that extra bit tired on the first day.

Start your day walking down Queen Street while checking out the local musicians, in the direction of the Ferry Building, on Quay Street. The Waterfront region in Auckland and its Silo Park are full of nice restaurants like Euro, and pubs like Provedor.

While in Auckland city center, go to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which is at Auckland Domain Park. This museum has an amazing exhibition about Maori, native people from NZ.

If you prefer a more relaxed first day, spend it at Mission Bay, a lovely beach with an amazing view of the islands around Auckland and enjoy a burger at Burgerfuel, an excellent NZ branch of burger joints.

Save the visit to the Sky Tower for the end of the day. The sunset from up there is amazing and you get to see the city all lit up. Mount Eden, the highest volcano in the city, is another perfect place to watch the sunset in Auckland.

To get there you can either drive or climb for 20 minutes from the base of the volcano. To make it a perfect day, try spending it at Piha Beach before heading to Mt Eden. On the west coast of Auckland, Piha is famous for surfing and its black sand.

Book a day of your itinerary to explore different sides of Auckland. Enjoy Devonport, a charming historic and residential suburb of Auckland, where the best point to see the skyline of Auckland is located.

If you are more into vineyards and beautiful landscapes, spend the day on Waiheke Island. On the other hand, if you are into hiking and rewarding views, discover Rangitoto Island for the day.

Our top recommended tours in Auckland:

Waikato Region, NZ

3 Days in Waikato and Wanganui Regions

Hamilton

On the way to Waitomo, make a stop at Hamilton and explore the beautiful Hamilton Gardens. A great idea is to spend a night in Raglan, on the coast close to Hamilton.

This surfing paradise has the best atmosphere of all cities in North Island New Zealand and an incredibly beautiful coastline with grassy cliffs and perfect waves.

Our top recommended tours in Hamilton:

Caving in Waitomo

Waitomo

There are several different tours available to visit the Waitomo Caves. The most common is a boat ride through the cave, where you’ll be greeted by glow worms that shine and create the sensation that you are under a starry sky.

These are actually insects that produce a mucosa to catch prey and their enzymes make it look bright like a little fairy light. There is also the highly recommended option to swim in the river that cuts through the cave and float through on your own rubber tube.

In addition, the cave is formed by many stalactites and stalagmites that create an impressive visual.

Our top recommended tours in Waitomo:

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Tongariro National Park

One of the most amazing places in North Island New Zealand is Tongariro National Park. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging 12-mile hike (7 to 9 hours) through volcanoes, valleys, streams, ancient lava flows, mountains, craters, lakes, and forests.

The panoramic view, which reaches Mount Taranaki, is breathtaking! At the summit, you will see the Red Crater, a huge red crater with a strong smell of sulfur. And on the descent, you will pass by the famous Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake.

Our top recommended tours in Tongariro National Park:

Wellington, New Zealand Skyline

2 Days in Wellington

Surrounded by the mountains of the Rimutaka Ranges, the capital of the country, besides having privileged landscapes, has an extremely vibrant cultural and gastronomic scene.

What strikes you the most as you walk through Wellington’s center is the number of bars and cafes spread throughout the city, as well as the varied architecture. So, a great tip is to spend a day walking the streets of the city and make sure to enjoy a meal on trendy Cuba Street.

Take time to visit The Beehive (Parliament Building), the seat of the NZ government where the prime minister governs the country.

Take the Wellington Cable Car to Kelburn Lookout and visit Wellington Cable Car Museum and Carter Observatory. The view from up there is fantastic and instead of taking the cable car back to the city, walk down through the lovely Botanical Gardens.

End the day with an amazing dinner at Fratelli, next to Courtenay Place where most of the nightclubs and bars are located.

Mount Victoria is another great spot high up in the city with a breathtaking panoramic view. On the way to Mt Victoria stop at Oriental Bay Beach, Wellington’s most popular beach.

This is a very quick tour and after lunch at Wellington Harbor, you can explore the Te Papa Museum for the rest of the day. Moreover, if you are driving and the day’s weather is beautiful, take a leisurely stroll around the Miramar peninsula.

The scenery along the way is fantastic and if the weather is good you will soon see why Wellington is such a popular city to live in.

Our top recommended tours in Wellington:

Skydiving in Taupo

4 Days in Central Plateau and Bay of Plenty

Taupo

The city of Taupo is on the edge of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the country, which lies right in the center of North Island New Zealand, in a volcanic crater. The Maori Rock Carvings is a must-see tourist spot and the Sail Barbary cruise through the lake will lead you there.

These carvings are imposing and impressive and the tour lasts about 2 hours. Huka Falls is another of the most famous spots in Taupo. To get to the waterfall, you can take a 20-minute walking trail or simply drive and make use of the available parking.

The Huka Falls is not impressive in height but is famous for its color and for the amount of water that passes through such a narrow space. There is a lot more to do in Taupo, including, of course, skydiving and bungee jumping over the Waikato River.

Our top recommended tours in Taupo:

Whitewater rafting the Kaituna River in New Zealand

Rotorua

The region of Rotorua has a very unpleasant smell because of the strong presence of sulfur in the air. Rotorua is full of natural and active thermal displays, from hot springs to natural mud pools. Wai-O-Tapu is one of NZ’s volcanic natural parks.

You can walk through the park and witness many steaming craters, bubbling lakes, and colorful terraces. Another great tip is to look for OGO Ball and have the time of your life at the largest ball rolling park in the world.

Everyone can feel like a child as you roll downhill inside a huge inflatable ball full of water. You could also visit the Skyline via cable car and ride roller blade carts!

Our top recommended tours in Rotorua:

Hobbiton, North Island, New Zealand

Matamata

Matamata itself is a small town and without many attractions, but what made it famous is its proximity to Hobbiton, Hobbits village in Lord of the Rings. From Matamata there are daily tours departing from 9 AM to 3 PM which lets you explore the movie set and the cutest little village you will ever see.

The tour takes about 3 hours. The site chosen for Hobbiton is a family farm with a bucolic landscape surrounded by the mountains of the Kaimai Ranges, huge lone trees and endless green hills as J.R.R. Tolkien describes in his books.

Related Article: Following in Frodo’s Steps at Hobbiton in New Zealand

Tauranga, New Zealand skyline

Tauranga

Tauranga is a quiet and small beach town with a great climate and surrounded by nature. Its highlight is Mount Maunganui, with Mauao Volcano right at the tip of the peninsula.

The trail that leads to the summit of the dormant volcano takes 45 minutes to reach and is 230 meters (750 ft) above sea level, from where you have a wonderful view of the region.

Our top recommended tours in Tauranga:

Coromandel Beach, NZ

2 Days in the Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is a must-visit area when visiting North Island New Zealand. It has some incredible views among the green rolling hills populated with thousands of sheep.

Some highlights include Whenuakura Island in Whangamata, the Lost Springs in Whitianga and the Pinnacles Walk.

Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog Two Week North Island New Zealand Itinerary

Hot Water Beach

When arriving at this beach you’ll soon notice several people digging holes in the sand and lying in them. But why? The water underneath the beach comes from underground hot springs, formed by volcanoes that develop underground reservoirs.

Water temperatures can get up to 60°C (140F) so make sure you visit during low tide to dig out your own mini spa and relax. Shovels can be rented locally.

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Cathedral Cove

One of the most picturesque and famous places in the Coromandel peninsula is the Cathedral Cove. A curious geological formation formed by the marine erosion that, over thousands of years has created a great natural arch that resembles the shape of a cathedral.

The trail to Cathedral Cove takes about 40 minutes from Hahei Beach. But, crossing the arch at high tide to reach the great stone spire known as “Te Hoho” can be a bit tricky; stay tuned to the local tide table.

Our top recommended tours in Cathedral Cove:

Have more time and plan on heading to the South Island too? Read our Two Week New Zealand South Island Itinerary.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW ZEALAND
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Wellington to Wellington
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Two Week North Island New Zealand Itinerary


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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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