The North Island’s two largest cities, vibrant Auckland at the top and the capital city of Wellington at the bottom both have a fabulous dining/cafe scene with plenty of museums, art galleries and fascinating sights to explore.
Three hours drive north of Auckland is The Bay of Islands encompassing 144 islands between the Purerua Peninsula and Cape Brett. This magical region is rich in Maori culture, filled with picturesque coves, sheltered white-sand beaches and beautiful seaside walking tracks. Visit beautiful coastal towns including Waitangi and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where in 1840 New Zealand’s founding document was signed – The Treaty of Waitangi.
In the island’s centre explore the inland lakes of Lake Taupo and Lake Rotorua. Located in the heart of the Central Volcanic Plateau, Rotorua is famous for its geothermal wonders of bubbling geysers and boiling mud pools. Soaking in the natural Polynesian Spa overlooking lake Rotorua is a highlight whilst there are plenty of beautiful walking and cycling trails. Scenic helicopter flights over Mount Tarawera are also popular.
Like Australia, New Zealand has a number of renowned wine regions, none better than Hawke’s Bay, famous for producing superb Bordeaux Blends, Syrah and Chardonnay. There are plenty of bike trails to discover whilst Napier, the main city boasts beautiful Art Deco architecture. Cape Kidnappers is also worth exploring and is home to fantastic walking, a Gannet colony and one of the world’s best golf courses.