North Island holidays in New Zealand allow you to enjoy some of the world’s most captivating landscapes, combined with rich Maori culture and vibrant cities. From the bubbling mud pools and gushing geysers of Rotorua, through to Auckland ‘the City of Sails’ and the capital Wellington, New Zealand’s North Island offer truly impressive sights and attractions.
Experience an idyllic combination of natural beauty and culture. Learn more about the fascinating Maori history at one of the many museums, with interactive and captivating displays. For a more hands-on experience, you can visit a traditional Maori village. Immerse yourself in demonstrations of ancient traditions, performances such as the famous Haka war dance, and savour a sumptuous hangi feast. Nature lovers will enjoy looking for dolphins and whales on a cruise around the magnificent Bay of Islands. Alternatively, simply relax as you walk barefoot along the magnificent white sandy beaches of Waiheke. For fine dining and urban adventures, don’t miss the cultural capital of Wellington, or Auckland, which are both packed with must-see sites.
Explore cosmopolitan cities on your New Zealand North Island holidays
New Zealand’s largest and most culturally diverse city, Auckland , offers a whole host of exciting things to see and do. Located between the waters of Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, you can cruise or sail or kayak around many easy to reach islands, or hike across the ice strewn plains of Tongariro National Park. Alternatively, head to the amazing limestone caves of Waitomo. You can also indulge in the incredible cuisine and enjoy the world-class wines of Hawkes Bay. For shopping, head to designer boutiques for high-end fashion, or one of the many street markets for hand-crafted items.
Whatever you’re looking for, from secluded natural gems, through to adrenaline-inducing adventure, North Island holidays have it all.
Great sample itineraries
Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for North Island holidays. With so many options for your North Island holiday package, we recommend you talk to one of our Destination Specialists to make the perfect tailor-made holiday just for you.
Explore North Island (NZ)
Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand
Translated as “container of treasures”, Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the country’s colonial, Maori and recent history and culture. It’s home to art exhibitions and interactive displays, which make it ideal for both adults and children. See the colossal squid and learn about its life and habitat and witness some of the award winning immersive displays and exhibits.
New Zealand is known around the world for its excellent wines and spectacular scenery, making it an ideal destination for wine tasting tours. Learn how the grapes are planted, grown and harvested before trying various bottles and picking up tips from expert sommeliers. Many of the vineyards also have gourmet restaurants where you can enjoy menus featuring excellent local dishes.
Te Puia is a geothermal park located just outside of Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island. It’s home to beautiful landscapes featuring live geysers and boiling water pools which are still used by the resident Maori to cook their traditional dishes. You can also see New Zealand’s natural bush, which is home to the country’s national icon, the flightless kiwi bird. Learn about these endangered birds and the ways they are being protected.
New Zealand’s Maoris have retained their original culture, with fascinating villages where you can learn more about their way of life. Learn to weave and woodwork with expert artisans or join in with a spectacular feast, featuring food cooked in pits dug into the warm earth surrounding the geothermal springs. Watch the famous Maori Haka war dance and visit their shrines and buildings.
“On the Coromandel Peninsula, near Mercury Bay, you'll find the famous Hot Water Beach. At low tide this tourist 'hotspot' turns into one big spa pool where you can dig into the sand to create your own hot bath!”
“If you're exploring New Zealand by car or motorhome, take a detour on your way south and stop off at Huka Falls between Wairakei and Taupo. The area has some of the most powerful and bluest waterfalls I have ever seen.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your North Island holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
Fireworks from Sky Tower
On New Year’s Eve, fireworks from Auckland’s Sky Tower light up the city, as the countdown to New Year begins. This is the highest fireworks display in the Southern Hemisphere and it can be enjoyed from various vantage points around the city.
Taking place on April 25th 2020, ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance for all New Zealanders and Australians who served and were killed in all conflicts and wars. It is a public holiday and a series of ceremonies take place, following a particular ritual in the form of a military funeral.
Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, which takes place on 6th February, commemorates the signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, which took place in 1840. The official festivities are celebrated at the Waitangi National Grounds in the Bay of Islands. You’ll also find lots of other events held throughout the country to mark this important occasion.
WOMAD is an annual international festival celebrating world music, art and dance across eight stages. 2020 acts include reggae icon Ziggy Marley, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the Welsh harpist Catrin Finch & Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the Auckland Lantern Festival. Running from February 13th to 16th, there are hundreds of musical acts and performances, alongside traditional Chinese arts and crafts.
NZ International Comedy Festival
NZ International Comedy Festival is held over three weeks in both Wellington and Auckland. After this, it takes to the road to bring the show to the rest of New Zealand. It features over 200 shows and 250 performers, from emerging artists, through to established household names.
New Zealand Rugby Sevens
The New Zealand Sevens is an annual rugby event that promotes both men’s and women’s teams. Expect two days of rugby-filled action and live music from top artists.
First Light Wine & Food Festival
The First Light Wine & Food Festival is Gisborne’s much-loved wine event, which is held on the Sunday of Labour weekend and brings together live music, superb wines and plenty of food for everyone to enjoy.
Auckland Pride Festival
Rainbow communities in Auckland come together in February to celebrate the city’ diverse mix of cultural and gender identities during Auckland Pride. From music performances to theatre and drag shows, picnics and marches, everyone is welcomed.
Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your North Island holiday. Here are a few of our favourite foodie experiences.
Traditionally, Maori people cooked in pits under the ground known as ‘hangi,’. During your stay, you can also enjoy this unique experience. A mouth-watering feast, including meat, vegetables and stuffing, the food is wrapped and cooked for several hours for a true smoky taste of hangi cuisine.
Add a cooking class to your New Zealand North Islands holidays experience and learn how to cook speciality food from the region’s professional chefs. From locally-caught fish, through to seasonal vegetables that grow nearby, you can cook up an appetising banquet to tantalise your taste buds.
Wine lovers are in for a treat. It is no secret that New Zealand produces world-class wines from its swathes of beautiful wineries across the region. This is a superb destination if you’re looking to fine tune your appreciation of fine wines, from pinot noir to sauvignon blanc.
Our North Island (NZ) destinations
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.