Cruising the North Island is a spectacular way to see the best of New Zealand. But before you arrive at each port, it’s good to know what’s on offer so you can make the most each destination. From the top of the Bay of Islands down to the capital city of Wellington, here’s a closer look at North Island’s top ports and top experiences to discover.
Known as the city of sails, Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand and boasts more boats per capita than anywhere else in the country. Recognised as one of the world’s most liveable cities, get a glimpse at all that Auckland has to offer and a taste of the incredible lifestyle you can easily fall in love with. With an abundance of natural wonders in and around the city, Auckland is the perfect destination to discover.
Escape to Waiheke Island for the day, take on the iconic SkyTower with options to SkyJump, SkyWalk or simply soak up all the views at one of the fine dining options. If you want to an incredible Auckland adventure, there’s also the Auckland Bridge Climb or the Auckland Bridge Bungy to experience in the heart of the city.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is aptly named for a subtropical coastal paradise in New Zealand’s Northland region. With 144 islands interspersed between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula, the stunning natural beauty of this place makes the Bay of Islands a truly captivating area to explore. With hidden coves and breathtaking beaches along with spectacular dive sites and marine life, find your adventure here from the land to the sea and to skies.
Skydive Bay of Islands is truly the top of the top – home of the highest skydive in New Zealand at 20,000 feet, you can experience 85 seconds of exhilarating freefall and discover the Bay of Islands from above. As the warmest and sunniest dropzone in New Zealand with the best beach scenes you can imagine, this is an unforgettable experience that feels out of this world.
A thriving harbourside city built on lumber exports and farming, Tauranga is the most populated city in the Bay of Plenty surrounded by stunning natural attractions. From beach life to city life, this metropolitan hub framed by beautiful coastline has a buzzy waterfront with cafes, restaurants, and pubs galore.
Take a day trip to the Hobbiton Movie Set or discover the rich culture, history and geothermal wonders of Rotorua. Or stay closer to shore and take on the Mount as known by the locals or officially Mount Maunganui. Also known as Mauao in te reo M?ori, the Mount rises 232 metres from the sea with fantastic walk tracks leading up to the top of this extinct volcano.
Known as the art deco capital of the world, Napier in sunny Hawke’s Bay is a fantastic destination for a day trip. What feels like stepping into a 1930’s film set, this delightful seaside city boasts a downtown dotted of bold, angular architecture with fantastic geometric shapes and bright colours – all of which were beautifully restored after a massive earthquake destroyed the centre of Napier in 1931.
Whisk yourself away on a wine tasting tour for the day or journey on a 4x4 safari with Gannet Safaris to the world’s largest and most accessible gannet colony at the top of Cape Kidnappers.
A sophisticated yet down to earth vibe is all part of Wellington’s charm. Although situated at the southern tip of the North Island, Wellington is the coolest little capital in the world that feels like the centre of it all. From the harbours to the hills, beaches and forests, Wellington offers an unforgettable mix of arts and culture as well as nature and wildlife that you won’t want to miss.
You can easily explore Wellington for the day on your own by foot and enjoy strolling through the streets of the capital’s best landmarks like by foot. Take the fantastic Wellington Cable Car ride up to the Wellington Botanic Gardens or visit the country’s national museum Te Papa Tongarewa – a definite must-do! Grab a long black or a flat white at one of the many buzzy cafes along Cuba Street, or shop till you drop along the ‘Golden Mile’ of high fashion and boutique stores formed by Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place.