It’s impossible to encapsulate the stunning beauty and diversity of New Zealand’s North Island in just sixty seconds. You’d need hours and hours of footage to do it justice. However, for a one minute video, we’ve managed to capture some of the main highlights to give you an overview of what there is to see and experience there. Including idyllic beaches, volcanic mountains, pristine lakes, geothermal oddities, Maori culture, Hobbit lore, sophisticated cites, rolling pasture and glow-in-the-dark caves, there’s a world’s worth of wonders packed into one relatively small island, and that’s only the top half of this extraordinary country. Sit back and watch the North Island of New Zealand in One Minute – but don’t blink, as you don’t want to miss anything.
Highlights of New Zealand’s North Island
Here are some of the breathtaking sites featured in the video.
Bay of Islands
There are over 140 subtropical islands at the tip of New Zealand, with beaches and coves to rival just about anywhere on earth. It’s a good place to spot penguins, dolphins, marlin and whales. Don’t miss the “Hole in the Rock” and the quaint towns of Opua, Russell, Paihia and Kerikeri.
This 85 km stretch of land not too far from Aukland encompasses rainforests, hot springs, pastures and pristine beaches. Picturesque Cathedral Cove is one of it most popular features. Hikers and bikers will love the Hauraki Rail Trail.
Often mistaken for the capital (that’s Wellington), cosmopolitan Aukland is the major urban center in New Zealand. It is set on an isthmus between two harbors, so there are plenty of viewpoints over the water. It always rates high in terms of quality of life and livability.
Even if you’re not a big Tolkien fan, you have to pop into Hobbiton when you’re on the North Island. The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film franchise became a significant part of the local economy for the past decade or so. Touring the set and learning about some of the incredible CGI effects is a must.
Rotorua and surrounding area is literally bubbling with geothermal activity. Geisers, mud pools, hot springs and volcanoes can be seen (and smelled) around here. It’s also a great place to experience some of the traditional Maori culture.
You simply must check out these caves that are illuminated in hundreds of thousands of tiny glowworms. Take a black water rafting trip through this cavern system for an out-of-this-world experience.
Tongariro National Park
New Zealand’s oldest National Park is also one of its best (and that’s saying something). If you’re into mountains, crater lakes, volcanoes, waterfalls and glaciers, you’re in for a spectacular treat here. LOTR fans will recognize Mt Ngauruhoe which played Mt. Doom in the films.
Yet another reason why New Zealand is the ultimate natural playground is stunning Lake Taupo and area. The freshwater lake is the caldera of a volcano, and is teeming with recreational opportunities from hiking trails, hot springs, sailing cruises and more adventurous pursuits like bungy jumping and skydiving. Don’t miss Huka Falls or the Moari rock carvings.