The North Island offers some iconic experiences, especially on a boring weekend. Taking advantage of one of these adventures could be the pick-me-up you need this season. From bathing in natural hot pools to indulging in the finest New Zealand cuisine – we’ve found something for everyone. Here’s 11 exciting North Island experiences to make your weekend away unbeatable.
1. Poor Knights Island
This spot offers the greatest water adventure in New Zealand. Just 23km off the Tutukaka Coast, lies this surreal Nature and Marine Reserve. With spectacular underwater life, from arches and caves, to ancient volcanoes and fish…it is one of the top 10 diving spots on the planet. Go with Dive Tutukaka for the ultimate adventure.
📍 Northland, New Zealand
2. Rotorua Mud Pools
Rotorua is one of the most unforgettable places in New Zealand. It’s an epic geothermal utopia with mud pools, natural hot springs, majestic forests and volcanic lakes. You can’t go to this place without experiencing one of nature’s greatest creations – the bubbling mud pools at Hells Gate. Feel all your anxieties melt away as you cover yourself in mud and indulge in this therapeutic insta-worthy mud bath.
📍 Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand
Just an hour and half from Auckland, immerse yourself in natural beauty and nature at this gorgeous city. Known for beautiful walks, the famous Hamilton Gardens, museums and scenic boat cruises…you won’t be disappointed. One of the greatest things to do is hopping in a hot air balloon over the Hamilton lakes with the Kiwi Balloon Company.
Normally a ski destination in the winter, this café is New Zealand’s highest dining experience in Whakapapa. Take the Sky Waka gondola to 2020m above sea level which offers majestic views all year around. Indulge on a variety of snacks and coffees in the award-winning sky-high café, snuggled behind large glass windows.
📍 Whakapapa Ski Area, 4691, New Zealand
5. The Lost Spring Hot Pools
Since Kiwi’s adore hot pool experiences, we couldn’t not mention these glorious hot pools on the North Island. Unwind after a long week at The Lost Spring in the Coromandel region. Similarly, there’s a fantastic one called Polynesian Spa in Lake Rotorua. Indeed, one dip in a hot pool and you’ll feel all your troubles melt away.
📍 Various Locations
6. Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay offers stunning winery adventures, delicious grub from Farmers Markets, and plenty to explore. The picturesque town of Napier has carefully preserved world-class 1930s architecture and is a must-see in this region. You’ll get all the Great Gatsby vibes through its art deco facades, vintage cars and streetscapes. Course, you won’t be short of budget-friendly places to stay.
Drive three hours to discover the natural wonders and take in the stunning views of Lake Taupo. Indeed, this tranquil haven is the best place to sooth your tensions in rare hot pools, embark on various cycling routes and partake in terrific adrenaline activities. Photographers and influencers will adore this picturesque place.
This spot is the perfect North Island weekend adventure for adrenaline junkies. Just two hours from Auckland, from taking a guided boat tour through the epic underground glow worm caves and limestone caverns to black water rafting on underground rivers and abseiling 100m into Lost World to explore the Mangapu Streamway. Certainly, you won’t get bored. For further excursion information, visit the Waitomo website.
SEE MORE: The Best Day Trips From Auckland
9. Unusual Staycations
Check out our list of unique and bizarre North Island staycations which offers a superb new summer weekend experience.
10. Cape Reinga
See the Tasman Sea collide with the Pacific Ocean at one of the most breathtaking coasts in New Zealand. Dipped in a rich history, the Māori believe an ancient Pohutukawa tree and the lighthouse mark the spot after death where spirits travel for their final journey. Be sure to drive along the spectacular 90 mile beach that is a must-visit. Likewise, opt to stay the night with an array of Airbnbs on offer in the area. Indeed, one of the best North Island experiences this season.
The capital is a remarkable place to immerse yourself in a surreal weekend adventure. From mouthwatering food markets, events, culture and more. Opt to stay in the city or escape to the coast. Additionally, Wellington has one of the best Airbnb accommodations in New Zealand.