North Island Jaunt

North Island Auckland skyline

New Zealand’s North Island offers a treasure trove of destinations perfect for an impulsive adventure. From vibrant cities to stunning coastlines and cultural wonders, each stop promises unique experiences. Let’s delve into a detailed guide that covers accommodation, dining, adventure activities, and travel tips for each location mentioned in our North Island itinerary.




Accommodation: Auckland boasts a range of accommodations to suit all budgets. For luxury, consider staying at the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, known for its waterfront views and impeccable service. Mid-range travelers might enjoy the Grand Millennium Auckland, centrally located with comfortable amenities. For budget options, the YHA Auckland International offers clean, affordable rooms with a friendly atmosphere.


Restaurants: The food scene in Auckland is diverse and vibrant. For fine dining, visit The Grove, which offers contemporary New Zealand cuisine. Head to Depot Eatery for a casual yet delicious meal featuring fresh local produce. For something quick and tasty, try the various food trucks at the Auckland Night Markets, where you can sample dishes from all over the world.


Adventure Activity Providers: Auckland is a hub for adventure activities. SkyJump and SkyWalk at the Sky Tower offer adrenaline-pumping experiences. If you prefer water activities, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium offers diving experiences with sharks. For a unique adventure, book a sailing trip on the Hauraki Gulf with Explore Group.


Travel Tips: Public transport in Auckland is efficient, but renting a car offers more flexibility to explore the surrounding areas. Be sure to visit during summer (December to February) for the best weather. Pack layers, as Auckland’s weather can be unpredictable.


Bay of Islands


Accommodation: The Bay of Islands offers luxurious resorts to cozy B&Bs. The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell combines historic charm with modern comfort. For a mid-range option, Paihia Beach Resort & Spa Hotel offers stunning views and excellent amenities. Budget travelers will find Base Backpackers Paihia a friendly and affordable choice.


Restaurants: The Gables Restaurant in Russell offers fine dining with a focus on seafood. Alfresco’s Restaurant & Bar in Paihia is great for casual dining with beautiful waterfront views. For a quick bite, try Charlotte’s Kitchen in Paihia, known for its delicious wood-fired pizzas.


Adventure Activity Providers: Explore the Bay of Islands with Fullers GreatSights, which offers dolphin-watching cruises and trips to the famous Hole in the Rock. For a unique adventure, try parasailing with Flying Kiwi Parasail. Fishing enthusiasts can book a deep-sea fishing trip with Bay of Islands Swordfish Club.


Travel Tips: The Bay of Islands is best visited in the warmer months (October to April) for optimal conditions for water activities. Take a ferry from Paihia to Russell to explore both towns. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and swimwear for spontaneous dips in the ocean.




Accommodation: Rotorua offers various stay options to cater to different tastes. The Regent of Rotorua is a luxurious boutique hotel with chic decor. For mid-range options, try the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, which offers geothermal spa pools. Backpackers will find Rotorua Central Backpackers a convenient and affordable place to stay.


Restaurants: For fine dining, visit Atticus Finch, which offers a modern take on New Zealand cuisine. The Fat Dog Cafe & Bar is a great spot for a hearty meal in a relaxed setting. If you’re in the mood for something quick, try the authentic Maori hangi meals at Mitai Maori Village.


Adventure Activity Providers: Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activities and Maori culture. Visit Te Puia for geysers and cultural performances. For adventure seekers, ZORB Rotorua offers the unique experience of rolling downhill in a giant inflatable ball. For a more relaxed adventure, soak in the Polynesian Spa’s hot mineral pools.


Travel Tips: Rotorua can have a distinct sulfur smell due to its geothermal activity, which can take some getting used to. Wear comfortable shoes as many attractions require walking. Plan visits to geothermal parks early in the morning to avoid crowds.


Hawke’s Bay


Accommodation: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers luxury accommodations with stunning views and exceptional service. For a mid-range option, consider the Scenic Hotel Te Pania, located on Napier’s waterfront. Budget travelers can stay at the Napier Beach Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels.


Restaurants: Craggy Range Winery in Havelock North offers fine dining with breathtaking vineyard views. Mister D in Napier is a popular spot for contemporary New Zealand cuisine. For something quick and local, try the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market, where you can sample fresh produce and local delicacies.


Adventure Activity Providers: Hawke’s Bay is renowned for its vineyards. Book a wine tour with Grape Escape to visit some of the best wineries in the region. For a different kind of adventure, try the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Safari to see the world’s largest gannet colony. Cycling enthusiasts can explore the Hawke’s Bay Trails, offering scenic routes through vineyards and along the coast.


Travel Tips: Visit in autumn (March to May) to enjoy the harvest season and vibrant fall colors. Rent a bike to explore the region’s extensive cycling trails. Make time to visit Napier’s Art Deco buildings and learn about the city’s unique history.


Coromandel Peninsula


Accommodation: The Coromandel Treehouse is a luxurious and secluded retreat. The Oceanside Motel in Whitianga provides comfortable mid-range accommodations with stunning beach views. Budget travelers can stay at the Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park.


Restaurants: Salt Restaurant & Bar in Whitianga offers delicious seafood with ocean views. The Pepper Tree Restaurant & Bar in Coromandel town is known for its local cuisine and cozy atmosphere. For something quick and casual, visit Luke’s Kitchen in Kuaotunu for wood-fired pizzas and great coffee.


Adventure Activity Providers: Explore Cathedral Cove with Sea Kayak Tours for a unique perspective of this iconic location. The 309 Road in Coromandel offers a scenic drive with numerous walking tracks and waterfalls. For a fun experience, visit the Lost Spring in Whitianga for thermal pools and spa treatments.


Travel Tips: The Coromandel Peninsula is best visited in the summer months (December to February) for warm weather and clear skies. Plan your visit to Hot Water Beach around low tide to dig your own hot pool. Pack a picnic for Cathedral Cove, as the walk can take up to an hour each way.


With this comprehensive guide, you’re well-prepared to explore the North Island’s top destinations. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, these quick jaunts offer something for every traveler.