Do not miss out on these 5 places on the North Island of New Zealand

Should you skip the North Island of New Zealand?

During our 5 week campervan trip around the North and South Island of New Zealand we met many travelers who were skipping the North Island.

We get that this is often because of being short on time but missing out on the North Island means skipping the best surfing beaches, hot springs in Rotorua, stunning active volcanic landscape and Maori vibes. It's like having only half the Kiwi adventure – hit up both for the full deal!

We hand-picked 5 places you should not miss on the North Island,

let's get into it:

Explore the pins


Original movie set of the Hobbit movies

New Zealand, North Island
3 hours

Hobbiton, tucked away in the New Zealand countryside, is like stepping into a real-life Middle-earth party. You've got these adorable hobbit holes, beautiful gardens, and even the cozy Green Dragon Inn.

It's the spot where "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" came to life, making it a must-see for fans and anyone up for a magical adventure.

At Hobbiton you can book a guided tour which shows you the original film set of the Hobbit triology. Even if you are not a Lord of the Rings or Hobbiton fan, we would recommend to go as this tiny village of small houses and this beautiful New Zealand landscape is very picturesque.

At the tour you will learn what happened to the original film set from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and at the end of each tour you will get a beer or other non-alcoholic drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Cheers to Hobbiton adventures!

Get your tickets on Klook!


  • Book one of the last tours of the day in summer or at sunset to avoid large crowds and enjoy a nice cold beer while looking at the Shire with no visitors walking around.
  • Book well in advance!
  • Stay at Brock's Place - Matamata, a small picturesque camp ground close to Hobbiton.

Waiheke Island

Paradise island close to Auckland

New Zealand, North Island
Nature & Animals
daytrip, multidays

Waiheke Island is the get-away island for Aucklanders and just a short 45min ferry ride away from Auckland CBD.

The island is very green, offers nice beaches and you can enjoy good food and drinks, especially wines at the local wineries. It is perfect for a day trip or if you can stay longer which we would recommend, you can book a AirBnB or hotel. We used the buses to get around which worked like a charm or you can rent a bike or even car as well.

And the ferry ride? It's like a bonus scenic tour. So, if you're up for good times, Waiheke's the spot!


Use the bus or bike to get around the island.

Here are some of our favorite things to do on Waiheke Island:

  • Enjoy exquisite wine and cheese platters at Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant
  • Do a wine tasting at Tantalus Estate, a renowned boutique winery
  • Breathe in the fresh ocean breeze during a beach walk at Oneroa Beach
  • Stay at this affordable Airbnb with the best views onto a peaceful bay and relax in the hot pool at night.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

See glow worms shining in the dark

New Zealand, North Island
2 hours

The Waitomo caves are famous for the glow worms, extensive underground river system and stunning stalactite and stalagmites formations.

You can either do a guided walking tour, guided boat ride or cave black water rafting to see glowworms in the dark and explore the cave. Blackwater rafting is like a wild water ride underground! Depending on your time, budget and fitness level all experiences are worth it.

Because of the glow worms this is basically nature's own disco party in a cave – pretty awesome!


Book the tour a few days in advance in summer.

Ngarunui Beach / Raglan

Stunning beach and perfect surf beginner spot

photo of Ngarunui Beach / Raglan
New Zealand, North Island
1-4 hours

Ngarunui beach is an awesome black sand beach in Raglan which is is this chill coastal spot on New Zealand's North Island.

Raglan is basically a surfer's paradise and one of the best spots to learn surfing. Flo had his first surfing lesson there and it went pretty smooth. There are 2 really good surfing schools directly at the beach offering courses and renting surfing equipment.

Whether you're into surfing, beach bumming, or just soaking up the coastal vibes, Raglan's the spot for a real chill time!


Take your first surfing lesson with Green Wave Raglan

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland

One of the most stunning thermal wonderlands to see volcanic activities

New Zealand, North Island
2 hours

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland in New Zealand is like this crazy-cool place full of geothermal wonders.

It offers many pools with unusual colors, just to name a few: You have got the famous Champagne Pool, looking like a fizzy, colorful hot tub. Then there's Lady Knox Geyser that puts on a daily waterworks show – pretty wild, right? Devil's Bath is this neon-green hot pool, and Oyster Pool has these trippy terraces.

The whole place is like a nature party, and you can wander around, learn stuff on the trails, and soak up the geothermal vibes.


The park is just for wandering around and not for swimming