Experience the real Middle-earth™ at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set, where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire™, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Discovering the North Island of New Zealand
We talk a lot about the beautiful South Island (showing our bias just a little!) but many of our customers pick up their vehicles from us in Auckland and enjoy the roadtrip south to Christchurch or beyond, so we thought it was time to cover a few of the highlights to be enjoyed on the North Island of New Zealand.
Rotorua - Geothermal Wonderland
Historically, Rotorua is one of New Zealand's best known tourist attractions and considered as a "must see" if you are travelling in the North Island.
What makes Rotorua so special? Well the ever present smell of sulphur (aka rotten eggs) provides a clue. This is a part of the country blessed with natural geothermal activity that results in geysers and natural bubbling mud pools.
Nowhere else in the country offers this unique combination, so if you love a good mud pack, or the surprise of a geyser erupting very close by, make sure you include Rotorua on your itinerary.
The town is also well known for the local Maori culture, and provides you with opportunities to enjoy a cultural show created and performed by New Zealand's indigenous people.
Find out more about what Rotorua has to offer right here.
At Taupo's Huka Falls you can witness more than 220,000 litres of water per second barreling over 11 metre high waterfall.
The Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, meanders north from Lake Taupō between banks 100 metres apart, but just before the Huka Falls it enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. The effect is nature's large-scale equivalent of a fire hose feeding into a very fine nozzle.
The previously placid waters rush at great speed along the ravine before bursting out over Huka Falls to crash into the pool 11 metres below.
A footbridge right at the top of the falls puts you in a prime position to get up close and witness the powerful display of water blasting by. If you'd like to see the power and fury of the falls up close, try a jet boat ride or river cruise.
This region is one of the North Island's most beautiful, so plan to spend a little time exploring around the Falls, Lake Taupo itself and place nearby. Check out some of the tours and activities in the area here.
Waitomo - Glow Worm Caves
Waitomo Caves is one of the must-see natural attractions in the North Island of New Zealand. This is a special experience - enjoying the magical glow worms twinkling against a pitch black background while floating through the caves.
Guided tours are available to book - plus you can experience black water rafting at the same location if you are feeling adventurous!
Start at the Waitomo Caves official i-SITE visitor information centre and for free and up to date information on all your options for every activity both above and below ground.
Hobbiton - Movie set for The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings
Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson did, as you journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance.
Your guide will escort you around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made.
Please note: pre-booking your tour is essential.
Hot Water Beach and the Coromandel
There are beautiful beaches in many parts of the world, but the Coromandel Peninsula brings you something unusual at Hot Water Beach, thanks to the local geothermal activity.
On this beach you can dig yourself your own hot water pool to enjoy! This is a great novelty and fun to dip in and out of while you are relaxing on the sand.
Check out more information about how to get there and when the best times of day are to enjoy the beach.
Napier - Art Deco Capital
The city of Napier was badly damaged in one of New Zealand's worst earthquakes in 1931, and was largely rebuilt in the Art Deco architectural style of the era.
As a result, Napier is the purest example in the world of Art Deco and attracts fans from around the world. If you are planning to be in New Zealand during February, you might be lucky enough to get tickets to the annual Art Deco Festival.
In 2020, this will be held from 19 - 23 February. Check out what's in store at the Art Deco Napier website.
There are plenty more great things to see and do in the North Island, but hopefully this post has given you a little sample of what to explore.