Stretching from the sparse, coastal Northlands to the lush pastural land in the south, New Zealand’s North Island is home to more places and experiences than anyone can fit into a single vacation. Why do you need to go? Here are our top 5 reasons (but seriously, there are sooo many more).
If beautiful beaches and jaw-dropping coastlines are on your check list for visiting a destination, the North Island does not disappoint. How about deep blue inland lakes, thermal pools, rivers and waterfalls? You can check those off too! A spectacular subtropical micro-region of the North Island, The Bay of Islands is a must-see, filled with sheltered beaches and coves perfect for kayaking, sailing tours, biking and hiking. It’s more than enough reason to stay in Paihia and explore the surrounding historic towns of Russell and Kerikeri while you are there. Keep your camera charged, you are going to need it.
Lake Taupo is another natural icon not to miss. Stretching 46km long (that’s 28 miles), fishing, boating and watersport enthusiasts flock to this inland paradise for year-round fun. You’ll also find plenty to do around the water’s edge with great golf courses, bars, restaurants and a lively calendar of events making Taupo one of the North Island’s top destinations to visit. On the southern shore of the lake, Turangi offers a more relaxed pace. With streams, rivers and gorges to explore, it’s the perfect outdoor playground for nature lovers.
Maori culture runs deep in many aspects of daily life in New Zealand. At the tip of the North Island at Cape Reinga, you can witness the meeting point of two oceans. Dubbed the ‘Place of Leaping’, Maori culture believes deceased spirits leap from the 800 year old Pohutukawa tree that stands here and into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki. If you’re in the Bay of Islands, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is one of the most historically significant locations in the country. Step back in time in the museum, watch traditional Maori performances or test your skills paddling in a Maori canoe.
Need we say more? It’s like a spa in the ground, and you’ll find them all over the North Island. The geothermal areas are arguably one of New Zealand’s most famous attractions. These natural wonders are a result of heat produced from the Earth’s mantle, warming the deep underground springs. Perhaps the most well-known is the North Island town of Rotorua, but if you are staying in Turangi, don’t miss the chance to visit the Tokaanu Thermal area for a soak to remember.
Guys, in case you didn’t already have enough reasons to visit the North Island – this is the homeland of the Hobbits! If you’re looking for the ideal day trip anywhere from your accommodation, it doesn’t get much better than a tour of Hobbiton (especially great if you find yourself in Tauranga or Mount Maunganui, as it is less than an hour’s drive inland from the coast). Soak in the picturesque views of the New Zealand countryside and imagine yourself in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world as you explore The Shire on the Lord of the Rings movie set.
You'll find Kaimanawa Lodge in the town of Turangi at the southern end of Great Lake Taupo. The town is nestled in the bend of the mighty Tongariro River, bounded by the majestic mountains and the expansive lake. Moody. Powerful. Elemental. Breathtakingly beautiful! It is a place that eases itself into your soul and never leaves.<br /><br />Modern and comfortable, the resort is perfect for those wanting to make the most out of their New Zealand escape. During the winter months, the towering snow-capped mountains are a haven for winter sports and the air reverberates with the gentle whisper of skis on fresh fallen snow.<br /><br />In the warmer months, the mirror-like surface of the lake gets whipped into a frenzy of activity. There's everything from swimming, water skiing and paddle boarding to kayaking. While the adventurous can throw on a life vest and get an adrenaline hit with a little white-water rafting or jet boating in the nearby rivers. Brilliant fun! For those that prefer to keep their clothes on, there are plenty of bushwalks through spectacular countryside and, of course, you can always give trout fishing a go.<br /><br />A trip into Turangi is a must. It has a number of excellent restaurants serving fresh local cuisine, and cafés serve a mean espresso. A tour of a Turangi vineyard is a definite too. But whatever you do, make sure you take time to relax in one of the famous thermal pools. You'll feel the stress gently melt away. Exquisite! <br /><br />For a holiday with more, visit Kaimanawa Lodge.
Club Paihia is poised upon a leafy and scenic hillside on six-and-a-half acres of native North Island bushland. This is the ideal location for making the most of the awe-inspiring beauty of the magnificent Bay of Islands. Even at the busiest of times, the wealth of secluded coves and quiet island walks will have you feeling like you're the only ones enjoying the serenity of this seemingly endless maritime playground. After a day of exploration, make the most of excellent resort amenities that include three swimming pools, spa pools, barbeques, a gymnasium, tennis court, petanque, outdoor chess and bicycles. The Club even has its own private bushwalk, incorporating a magnificent orchid house. In the building housing the owners lounge, you will find the library, pool table and table tennis. Here, the booking kiosk will organise tours and help you make the very most of this aquatic wonderland. In the town of Paihia, you'll find everything from fine art to fine wine and a selection of world-class restaurants. Enjoy a little recreational boating and then, having got your sea legs, tackle up for an unforgettable deep-sea charter in the game-fish-rich waters of the Bay. Visit fascinating historic sites. Revitalise and recharge on one of the many unspoiled beaches. Play a round of golf on world-class local courses. Have a tramp along the Northland's most spectacular bushwalks. Watch the whales. Swim with the dolphins. Dive the Rainbow Warrior. Discover a holiday you'll treasure for years - at Club Paihia.