Top 10 Most Beautiful Places on New Zealand’s North Island
The North Island of New Zealand is a fascinating island with stunning coastline and beaches, unique geothermal features, temperate rainforests, active volcanoes, Maori cultural experiences, and so much more. To help you decide which places to visit, we curated a list of the top 10 most beautiful places on New Zealand’s North Island. Where will you go first?
1. Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest national park and is known for its unique volcanic features. In the park you can find three active volcanoes: Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro, and Mt Ngauruhoe. Mt Ruapehu has two of the largest ski fields in New Zealand. Mt Nugaruhoe is the newest and most active volcano in New Zealand, with more than 70 eruptive episodes since 1839.
Mt Tongariro is known for the world famous day hike called Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This 19.4 km (12.1 miles) hike takes you through a volcanic alpine landscape with incredible views. On this remarkable hike you will get to see the red crater, emerald lakes, and blue lake. Continue to our Guide to Hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing to plan your adventure to one of the most beautiful places on New Zealand’s North Island.
2. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Waimangu is the world’s youngest geothermal system and where you can see the aftermath of the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera. The highlights are Frying Pan Lake, one of the largest hot springs in the world, and inferno crater, a bright blue-colored hot spring. Frying Pan Lake is one of the most beautiful places on the north island, covering 38,000 square meters . There are a number of different trails you can choose from to explore Waimangu Valley, ranging from 1.5 to 4 km, which can take 1 to 2 hours. Book your self-guided walk of Waimangu Volcanic Valley to explore this sensational destination at your own pace.
3. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a colorful and diverse geothermal area located near Rotorua. Here you can find a range of trail options ranging from 45-90 minutes. As you follow the trails you will see mesmerizing geothermal features including the largest mud pool in New Zealand, a bright green-colored lake, and the famous Champagne Pool. While at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, don’t miss Lady Knox Geyser which erupts once a day at 10:15 am and can reach a height of 10-20 meters.
4. Mount Taranaki
Mount Taranaki is one of the most beautiful places on the North Island of New Zealand and the second largest peak on the island. The 120,000 year old stratovolcano can be seen throughout New Plymouth, a city on the west coast, so you don’t even have to hike to enjoy it. One great place to see a view of Mount Taranaki is at Lake Mangamahoe where you can find a short walk to a viewpoint.
Experience Mount Taranaki from the comfort of your accommodation by booking a place with views of the volcano. We stayed at a bed and breakfast called House on the Hill which featured exceptional views of Mount Taranaki. It was the perfect place to rest the day after hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing as we didn’t have to go far to enjoy the views.
If you want to spend more time exploring this area, there are several hiking trails in Egmont National Park, where Mount Taranaki is located. On My Queenstown Diary Guide, you can find detailed information on visiting Egmont National Park, including the best hiking trails in the park.
5. Blue Spring
One of the most beautiful places on the North Island of New Zealand that cannot be missed is the Blue Spring. Follow Te Waihou Walkway for a scenic walk to the Blue Spring, which supplies about 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water. The fastest way to get to the Blue Spring is from the parking lot on Leslie Road.
6. Paritutu Centennial Park
On the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island you can find Paritutu Centennial Park, one of the most beautiful parks on the North Island. Paritutu Centennial Park is a hidden gem in New Plymouth, with breathtaking viewpoints, a must-see beach, and Paritutu Rock. If you have the energy you can climb up to the viewpoint on Paritutu Rock or you can enjoy a view directly from the bluffs above the beach. This long stretch of beach is perfect for a nice walk, with views of three large rocks in the ocean.
7. Wahike Island
Waiheke island is located off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island, only a 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland. The island is known for its beautiful vineyards and beaches. Waiheke Island offers a perfect day trip from Auckland if you are looking to spend a day wine tasting and exploring scenic vineyards. This small-group tour is the best way to explore the island on a day trip as you get picked up directly from the ferry terminal and get to visit three vineyards.
If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, you could spend a few days on Waiheke Island. We stayed for a couple of nights at Nikau Apartments in Onetangi. This luxury apartment offers unparalleled views of the ocean while located only a short drive from top wineries and beaches.
8. Lake Rotorua
Lake Rotorua was formed in a caldera after a large volcano collapsed following an eruption over 200,000 years ago. It is the second largest lake on the North Island of New Zealand by surface area, but is only 10 meters deep on average. In the middle of the lake you can see Mokoia Island, a rhyolite lava dome that is now a wildlife sanctuary for native birds and plant life. There are different ways to enjoy Lake Rotorua including walking on the boardwalk and taking a jet boat ride.
Read More: How to Spend 3 Days in Rotorua
9. Kaituna River
The Kaituna River flows from Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti, emptying in the Bay of Plenty. The top part of the Kaituna River is a popular destination for white water. In this subtropical rainforest you can raft down the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Experience the flow of the Kaituna River with a white water rafting adventure down three waterfalls including the 7-meter Tutea Falls.
10. Huka Falls
Huka Falls is one of the top visited natural attractions in New Zealand. It is located a 10 minute drive from the town of Taupo on the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river. The Waikato River is normally 100 meters wide but at this point it narrows to 15 meters causing a strong flow. This narrow point combined with a 11-meter drop creates the powerful Huka Falls, which flows at a rate of 220,000 liters per second. You can see a view of the powerful falls from a footbridge. One of the best ways to experience the intensity of Huka Falls is with a thrilling jet boat ride on the Waikato River.
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