New Zealand North Island offers a myriad of adventures for the family. There is the steaming hot nature adventure with volcanoes, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, “foamy” waterfall and a soaring geyser. There is an animal adventure where the kids saw the kiwi bird, farm animals, watched the demonstrations for sheep shearing and cow milking, and stayed at an animal farm. There is also a fun adventure where we rode downhill in a Luge, rolled downhill in a Zorb ball, and went sailing; and last but not least a cultural adventure with the Maoris.
Our 10-day New Zealand North Island Itinerary
We did a 10-day road trip around New Zealand North Island with 3 kids. My youngest kid was barely a year old at that time and was just learning how to walk. Our itinerary is detailed below. Click on the links for more details.
Arrive in Auckland.
Travel from Auckland to Tirau and stay at Belmont Farm.
Discover one of the most magical caves in the world at Waitomo Glow worm Cave. View spectacular limestone formations in Ruanuki Cave. Overnight in Plymouth.
Have a picnic at Egmont National Park with a scenic view of Mt Taranaki. Overnight at Howards Lodge at the Tongariro National park.
Take the volcanic loop around the Tongariro National Park. See the beautiful Lake Taupo and visit the thundering Hukafalls before heading to Rotor.
Witness the eruption of Lady Knox geyser. Explore the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and mudpool. Take the Skyline (cable-car) ride & ride downhill in the Luge. Visit the Maori Village for a traditional Maori dinner and performance.
Zorb down a hill in a ball before heading to Agrodome to tour an organic farm and see an entertaining live sheep show. Visit Rainbow Springs to see kiwis and explore beautiful native trees and streams. Unwind and soak in the natural hot pool at the Polynesian spa. Visit Rainbow Springs again in the evening and view wildlife and streams under an array of colourful lights.
If time permits, visit the Hobbiton town made famous by the Lord of the Rings movie at Matamata. After which, drive to Auckland. Go up to the Auckland tower before sun sets and witness the Auckland city transformation from day to night.
Visit Bees Online to buy the famous Manuka Honey. Head to the Auckland harbour and set sail in the City of Sails.
DAY 10: AUCKLAND – HOME
View 10-day NZ North Island map in a larger map
Tips on Planning this trip
There is no better way to travel around New Zealand than to drive. Travelling by camper vans is also quite common. An alternative was to join the day tours but that was more expensive than self-drive.
There was an additional charge for renting a car from the airport, and it was cheaper for my family to take a cab to town and rent the car from town the next day. The car was returned at the airport.
Attractions in New Zealand North Island
- Waitomo Caves (www.waitomo.com, 39 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo Caves, Private Bag 501, Otorohanga) Booked tour online
- Mt Taranaki (www.taranaki.co.nz)
- Tongariro National Park Volcanoes (www.nationalpark.co.nz)
- Huka Falls, and Huka Falls River Cruise (www.hukafallscruise.co.nz)
- Lake Taupo (www.greatlaketaupo.com)
- Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland (www.waiotapu.co.nz, 201 Waiotapu Loop Road, RD 3, Rotorua 3073)
- Rainbow Springs (www.rainbowsprings.co.nz, Fairy Springs Road, PO Box 25, Rotorua, New Zealand)
- Skyline and Luge (www.skyline.co.nz, Fairy Springs Road, PO Box 2353, Rotorua New Zealand)
- Mitai Maori Village (mitai.co.nz, 196 Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua, )
- Zorb (www.zorb.com)
- Agrodome Show and Farm Tour (www.agrodome.co.nz, Western Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua)
- Polynesian Spa for a dip in the hot springs pool (www.polynesianspa.co.nz, 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand)
- Muriwai Beach and Gannet Colony
- Auckland Sky tower (www.skycityauckland.co.nz/Attractions/Skytower)
- Pride of Auckland Cruise (www.prideofauckland.com, Explore NZ Booking Kiosk, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland)
Other places considered
- Hell’s Gate Geothermal park and mud spa (www.hellsgate.co.nz, SH30, Tikitere, Rotorua, New Zealand)
- Tepuia Whakarewarewa Thermal Area (www.tepuia.com, Box 334, Hemo Road, Rotorua, New Zealand)
- Lord of the Rings Hobbiton movie set tours (www.hobbitontours.com, Rings Scenic Tours Ltd, 101 Arawa Street, PO 366, Matamata, New Zealand)
It was easy to find decent accommodations for a family of 4-5 in New Zealand. Most of it provided a kitchenette and all provided free parking. These were the places I stayed in New Zealand North Island.
- 1N farm stay in Tirau (I stayed at Belmont Farm, which had a cottage with 2 bedrooms)
- 1N in New Plymouth (I stayed at Coronation Court Motel, which had a 2-bedroom apartment)
- 1N in National Park (I stayed at Howards Lodge which had a Deluxe Family Room)
- 3N in Rotorua (I stayed at Brylin Motel which had a Family 2-bedroom apartment)
- 2N in Auckland (The place I stayed is no longer available)