When I am picking countries to travel to; I used to push away countries closer to Australia because for some reason you always tend to travel further away from your own country right?! So, neighboring countries like New Zealand, Indonesia, East Timor were on the bottom of my list but now that I am serious about visiting all the countries in the world; I enjoy visiting all the new countries near and far.

Today I am sharing the 14 most beautiful places in New Zealand north island. For those of you, who don’t know New Zealand (NZ) is where they filmed the famous Lord of the rings and many other films. No wonder the places to visit in north island New Zealand are the most beautiful, green, and unspoiled. I mean it when I say it is a very green and verdant country.

The north island sets you up for the experience of the rest of New Zealand and even if you stayed exploring just this one island it would be a special trip. Although you have to adapt to the ‘loneliness’ of the place as traffic could be light and you can travel for miles without seeing anyone.

That said, another thing worth mentioning is car is the cheapest option if you want to see most of NZ as it is made of North and South Islands. Assuming you are sorted for transportation, let’s begin with the most beautiful places on New Zealand’s north island. Here we go!

Must see places in New Zealand north island

most beautiful places in new zealand north island
At one of the most beautiful places in new zealand north island

1. Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Usually, I am not a fan of visiting movie sets so before we got there I was thinking, this is going to be a waste of time/ tourist trap. But I was pleasantly surprised by the educational tour and the story behind this farm.

If you have watched Lord of the rings, this place is a must-see. And even if you haven’t like me, this spot is one of the unique and most beautiful places in new zealand north island because of its rolling hills, those pretty little hobbit houses, and the story behind it.

2. Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Caves are something you don’t get to see every day! It is not allowed to take pictures/videos so I had to get this from Shutterstock but look at that beauty!
I avoid tourist traps as much as I can but the Hobbiton and Waitomo Glowworm Caves are some of the must-sees in New Zealand travel. It’s a cool experience to see all of these dazzling glow worms in the dark and be on the boat with water dripping background white noise. Unreal!

3. Geothermal Wonders

Another best places to visit in new zealand is the geothermal wonders. Recommend heading to the Taupo and Rotorua regions and visit the Wai-O-Tapu, Hell’s Gate (Tikitere), Craters of the Moon, Whakarewarewa, and Waimangu (Blackwater). This area has that odd sulfur smell which makes it an interesting stop in any north island New Zealand road trip. The Rotorua’s geothermal features including spouting geysers, bubbling mud pools, and colorful sinter terraces are impressive and totally Instagram-worthy!

best scenic places in new zealand

4. Tongariro National Park

The most beautiful places in New Zealand north island wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the world-famous Tongariro National Park. It basically sets you up for the rest of the wonders of the country. You can easily get here by road and is only a 4-5 hour drive from either Auckland or Wellington. I am not aware of any public transport here though. The nearest towns are Taumarunui, National Park Village, Ohakune, and Tūrangi. There is even a small village called Whakapapa which is situated within the park!

While there are many beautiful places in New Zealand South island such as Fiordland National Park and Mount Cook National Park, on the north island Mount Tongariro is one of the top 5 must-sees. Many people visit here not only to see the beautiful nature but to attempt Tongariro Alpine Crossing which covers the length of Mt Tongariro and takes about 7-8 hours to complete. The walk starts at Mangatepopo (1100m), and terminates at Ketetahi (750m). The highest point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is Red Crater (1886m). Granted stunning views all around and if you are heading there, make sure to do necessary prep beforehand. Such as good hiking gear, poles, appropriate clothing, and a camera of course.

Where is Mount Doom in NZ?

For Lord of the Rings fan, if you are wondering where you can see Mount Doom. It can be found right here in the Tongariro National Park on north island, NZ. The path to climb Mount Doom; is part of the Tongariro Alpine crossing. Did you know Mount Doom is a fictional volcano in Lord of the rings and its real name is Mount Ngauruhoe?

Most beautiful places in new zealand north island

5. Mount Maunganui

Mount Maunganui is considered one of the best new zealand instagram spots and known for the extinct Mount Maunganui volcano. Just look at that view! To get here though you have to follow a ocean view hiking trial which takes approx 45-minutes depending on your fitness level and once you get to the top enjoy the crashing ocean waves and views across to Tauranga and Matakana Island.

At the bottom you can enjoy sandy Main beach which is popular for surfing while Pilot Bay beach is known for paddle boarding due to its calm waters. If you are having a busy day sight seeing and got no food, there are many cafes and restaurants in town for take way as well as dine in.

north island new zealand road trip

6. Huka Falls

The Huka Falls are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo in New Zealand. At Huka Falls you can witness the phenomenon of natural hydropower – more than 220, 000 liters of water per second! Clearly if it doesn’t make it one of the best places in new zealand north island, idk what will.

Kerosene Creek

7. Kerosene Creek

Both islands in New Zealand have hot springs but Kerosene Creek is a hidden gem in the north island. You can’t see boiling hot steam coming out of this stream in the picture but it was hot enough for a dip/swim. The fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere makes it that more secluded and serene.

8. Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto island is another best places to visit in new zealand north island. It is a volcanic, pest-free and the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand. Emerging from the sea just 600 years ago, it is easily doable as a day trip from Auckland than Waiheke island. You can buy the round trip ferry tickets at the Pier and cost was $33 NZD from Auckland city.

While the view from Summit was nothing but foggy; I hope you will visit on a sunny day. On my way back I stumbled upon this fall beauty and accidentally ended up on the wrong trail which meant 8-9 km of the coastal walk to get back to ferry wharf! Nonetheless, it was a plesant coastal walk and it is here to stay on this list of most beautiful places in new zealand north island.

9. Redwood Memorial Grove Track

Redwood Memorial Grove Track is a family-friendly place and there are a couple of beautiful trails around here. For example Waitawa Walk or Quarry Lookout Track. There is also a Quarry Basin Picnic area 5 minutes from the redwood track. So much green and serene which males it easy on eyes and best places to visit in new zealand north island.

10. Blue and Green Lake

I have to admit I have never been to any place so green like New Zealand! It was lush green EVERYWHERE I looked; we are so lucky this country exists! Both of these lakes are in Rotorua, nothern island nz and their Māori names are Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokākahi. Both of these two pretty lakes sit side by side and yes, one is blue and the other is green. You can view them at a midway point, accessible by car and on foot.

11. Okere Waterfalls

One of the things to do in the north island of new zealand is to go see magificent waterfalls. I have seen many waterfalls around the world but the Okere waterfalls were unique on their own. With all those colourful trees, birds chirping and falls coming out from the middle, this place was beaming with happiness! Okere Falls is a small town located 21 km from Rotorua on SH 33 between Rotorua and Tauranga on the North Island of New Zealand.

best places to visit in new zealand north island

12. Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in new zealand north island. A mountainous interior mixed with native rainforest and cliffs- It is everything that Auckland city isn’t. Be sure to visit the Rapaura water gardens for instant peace and serenity. Also recommend visiting the Cathedral cove for an overdose of beauty, the sqaure Kauri to tick it off your bucket list, geothermal hot water beach for a soak at low tide, Thames and Haehai beaches for strolling and beach time and satisfy your gastronomic cravings at one of many restaurants in the town.

This peninsula is arguably one of the best places to visit in north island nz. You can even see the milky way with bare eyes on a clear night, no telescope needed!

13. New Plymouth

If you are after hidden gems north island new zealand, consider New Plymouth. It is a small seaside city in Taranaki, North Island and was named one of the best regions to visit in 2017 by Lonley Planet but it is overlooked by visitors and even local Kiwis themselves. The most beautiful places that are worth checking out in New Plymouth would be New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, Pukekura Park, Pukeiti, Sugar Loaf Islands, Paritutu Rock, Tupare, Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and Puke Ariki.

14. Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is another best places to visit in north island nz that many skip because of the distance. But for Māoris, this place is the most spiritually significant place in New Zealand. After death, all Māori spirits travel up the coast and over the wind-swept vista to the pohutukawa tree and a lonely lighthout on the headland of Te Rerenga Wairua. If you have can drive 6 hours one way from Auckland to Cape Reinga, you will be greeted with the most spectacular views plus there are many beautiful places worth stopping along the way. Such as the 90 miles beach, sand dunes, gumdiggers park, rarawa beach, and lighthouse of course.

I hope these 14 Most beautiful places in new zealand north island inspired you to visit NZ.

Most beautiful places in new zealand north island
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Let me know in the comments

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14 most beautiful places in New Zealand north island

39 thoughts on “14 most beautiful places in New Zealand north island

  • November 18, 2017 at 8:57 pm
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    Girl, this place looks so magical. I love the nature, the green everywhere and hot springs in nature are the best ever. I have only been to one yet, in Costa Rica but I hope I’ll be able to go to anotehr one soon. I am so happy you went there and explored all these places. Looks like a really successful roadtrip.

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  • November 18, 2017 at 10:24 pm
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    It looks a really interesting and diverse landscape, love the geothermal areas. Hopefully we will get chance to visit within the next couple of years.

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  • November 18, 2017 at 11:27 pm
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    New Zealand is so far away from the USA, but it is a dream destination for me. I like your photos that show those very tall trees and forests. So inviting to go for a long walk and get lost in nature and forget about the urban lifestyle for a while. So good for one’s mental and physical health!

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  • November 19, 2017 at 12:38 am
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    I hear you! It’s always the more exotic places that attract us. Funnily enough being from Europe NZ is that type of place lol. I travelled in 2011 through the NOrth and South Island. But I only had 3 weeks in total (waaay too little time!) and I didn’t get to see all of your spots. But I remember the Glow Worms 😀 Definitely a country I want to go back one day (and then with your list at hand!). Thanks for sharing.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 2:13 am
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    There are so many Instagram worthy places in New Zealand. Rotorua is awesome but Hobbiton was not there when I visited and would love to go back and visit. great pictures

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  • November 19, 2017 at 2:22 am
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    Great photo essay style in this post, hope to visit New Zealand soon

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  • November 19, 2017 at 3:08 am
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    New Zealand is beautiful! I would love to visit sometime.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 3:30 am
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    I think the entire strip of the North Island of New Zealand is uber gorgeous!! However, I would really like to explore Rangitoto Island since I like less touristy places. You’ve got a lovely gallery there. Cheers!!

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  • November 19, 2017 at 5:19 am
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    Fantastic post with gorgeous photos! New Zealand is a gorgeous country.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 11:01 am
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    I would love to see the waterfalls. They look amazing!! Lots of great nature views.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm
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    What a beautiful place. New Zealand is on our bucket list and we can’t wait to visit this beautiful country in the near future!

    xo

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  • November 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm
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    Everyone who goes to New Zealand comes back with the most wonderful photographs and your post is no exception. The scenery of North Island looks so beautiful, a real nature-lovers paradise. And of course, you can go to Hobbiton, I’d have to do that, I loved the books as a teenager many moons ago and I loved the films too.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 10:20 pm
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    Thanks for showing me this Instagram worthy places! They are so picturesque. Hope I can see them one day.

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  • November 19, 2017 at 11:08 pm
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    It’s so lovely to see such beautiful pics of my homeland! Your adventures certainly covered many of places I have fond childhood holiday memories of! Particularly the Craters of the Moon geothermal activity near Rotorua, and Huka Falls! I’ve never been to Redwood Memorial Grove Track, which is silly, since I grew up in NZ, but it’s something to add to my list for when we’re back visiting family!

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  • November 20, 2017 at 2:52 am
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    These are such a beautiful place to visit. The Mount Maunganui and GeotGeothermal Wondershermal Wonders are the best place I have ever seen, and perfect Instagram place to take pictures. The peaceful and beautiful scenery of those places are so fulfilling. I really love it.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 8:17 am
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    New Zealand is an amazing country! Would love to visit there again!

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  • November 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm
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    New Zealand is at the top of my travel bucket list, and these photos are definitely making me want to head there right now! I hope to one day take photos in every single place you showed here. I will post them on Instagram, for sure!

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  • November 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm
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    Some very instagrammable places here indeed! I’m most looking forward to visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, and the glow worms. So much nature in NZ though, one of our favorite spots is Piha, a little bit north of Auckland – the beautiful black sand beaches there make for surreal and dramatic photos 🙂

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  • November 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm
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    Wow! This is such an amazing place.. looks like a dreamland from some fairytale. It reminds me of all the magical stories I’ve read. Love your awesome pictures. Saved this place to my travel bucket list. Hope to visit soon! Thanks for sharing this splendid experience. 🙂

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  • November 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm
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    Haven’t been to New Zealand but from what I see here and elsewhere it’s gorgeous!

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  • November 20, 2017 at 8:37 pm
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    I love the fact there is more outdoors stuff to do in NZ than in the actual cities. So cant wait to get down there and explore the scenery. Love this post and the photos are fantastic.

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  • November 21, 2017 at 12:47 am
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    Fantastic photos! I love Mount Maunganui. Did you make it down to Wellington and the Wairarapa? I am from the Wairarapa originally and it’s such a beautiful part of the country.

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  • November 21, 2017 at 1:27 am
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    All the natural spots mentioned will be on my list! Thanks for the photo trip! 🙂

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  • November 21, 2017 at 2:30 am
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    This is so beautiful, Anna! New Zealand is definitely on my bucket list, but seeing the photos you posted just moved it up the list. My favourite is Hobbiton – if they had those in regular human size, I might even stay in it 😀 Safe travels!

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  • November 21, 2017 at 2:35 am
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    Your photos at the Hobbiton Movie Set and Mt. Doom are my favourites and making me SERIOUSLY want to visit! I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan and have wanted to see these spots for the longest time.

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  • November 21, 2017 at 4:01 am
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    Your shots are awesome and your tips are great for the traveller looking for the perfect photo shooting locations! Rangitoto Island photo really makes me happy and I want to visit that place sometime!

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  • November 21, 2017 at 11:20 am
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    These are all amazing places in New Zealand. It would be amazing to go on Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. New Zealand is a place I have always heard was just beautiful and these pictures make it look gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  • November 21, 2017 at 11:46 am
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    I love all your photographs! New Zealand is on our list in the next few years, I will definitely keep this list of must see places. Thank you for Sharing!

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  • November 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm
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    I must agree and probably most people do too, that New Zealand is one of the most picturesque countries in the world. We went on a road trip from Auckland to Wellington over 4 days, stopping at small towns for the night. Even after almost 20 years I get nostalgic at the mere mention of New Zealand.

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  • November 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm
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    I’m a keen photographer and often base trips around where I’ll be able to take a great photo so I love posts like this. Particularly taken with the beauty of Rangitoto Island – love the colours, they’d definitely fit nicely into a Fall instagram theme! I can’t wait to finally visit NZ as it looks beautiful.

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  • November 21, 2017 at 9:16 pm
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    These pictures look UNREAL!!! You have inspired me to plan our next trip to New Zealand. I want to see everything in person!

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  • November 22, 2017 at 3:42 am
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    It looks amazing! Pictures look like they came from a gallery. You should also make a post with more unknown places or else everybody will have the same pictures after reading this great post.

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  • November 22, 2017 at 6:01 am
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    New Zealand is our dream destination and now I am taken away by your pictures. I really can’t say which will be our favourite spot because we will love every bit of all these destinations. Thanks for sharing.

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  • November 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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    This came at a perfect time for me! My husband and I are spending 2 weeks on the North Island of NZ in January! I cannot wait! I didn’t even realize that there were Redwoods! I hope my IG account is ready to explode with some of these awesome places!

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  • November 23, 2017 at 4:15 am
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    Your post title is definitely on point! It’s an absolute delight to read your descriptions along the with hose stunning pictures! Challenge accepted! Now i need to head over theee and try to beat your pics! 😉

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  • November 27, 2017 at 9:46 pm
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    I love your photos, they are amazing

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  • December 5, 2017 at 3:30 am
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    These are simply awesome photos! I loved the hobbit hole and all that lovely water 🙂

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  • February 7, 2020 at 4:22 pm
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    Hi, the photos are great. I was wondering where the last photo of “Mt Doom” was taken please. My kids love LOTR; I would like to take them there one day. Thanks

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    • February 7, 2020 at 8:50 pm
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      Hi Paul,
      Thanks. The last photo was taken on the way to “Mt. Doom” There were no other cars on the road so parked to the side and took this one real quick! You can’t miss it! Hope the kids will love it, Have travels 🙂

      Reply

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