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Fun North Island & Auckland Day Trip Ideas

  • Monday 6th January 2020

Whether you’re road-tripping or you want to escape the city, this list of day trip ideas has you covered. Auckland is a great jumping-off point for exploring pockets of the North Island.



A Lord of the Rings-inspired adventure, this is a must-do excursion from the city. If you’re a big fan of the trilogy, you won’t be disappointed; look around the hobbit holes that were constructed for the filming of the much-loved movies. While you’re probably here for the whimsy, stay for the area’s stunning natural scenery. Opt for a guided tour or DIY exploration, and don’t forget to snap a selfie in front of a hobbit hole.



For something away from the trodden tourist spots, this hidden peninsula is 2 hours from Auckland, across the Hauraki Gulf. Gorgeously green, this considerable mountain range is blanketed in an age-old forest. And if you’re keen to learn about the real, local culture, the small towns of this region offer an authentic insight.


Underwater Adventure

Built by the visionary inventor, Kelly Tarlton, his namesake Aquarium, SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium is a world-class underwater world. An all-weather experience, you can spend time with delicate seahorses, vibrant tropical fish, rescued sea turtles and the largest colony of penguins in the world. And did you know, the shark tunnels were Kelly Tarlton’s brainchild! Check out the schedule of talks to uncover the incredible creatures and get educated about life in the Southern Ocean. If you’ve got little ones in tow, there’s plenty to keep them entertained, like the Shipwreck Shores indoor playground.



Although it’s a more extended trip, this is a place not to miss. Set around Lake Rotorua, choose an adventure-driven day on the go-kart track or a more educational experience at one of the Maori cultural centres, where you can learn about indigenous history. There are hikes through the redwood forest, and of course, there’s the geothermal activity which Rotorua is famous for; natural spas and steam with a side of rotten-egg aroma!


Waiheke Island

Just a quick boat trip from Auckland’s CBD is this gorgeous island known for vineyards where you can sip local wines with stunning backdrops. Fill your belly at one of the many cafés for some ocean-fresh oysters. If the beach is more your vibe, there are a number dotted around the island – if you’re lucky, you might even get a whole one to yourself. With both hippy communities and high-flying socialites, this island has something for everyone.


Bay of Plenty

Aptly named for its plentiful produce and stunning coastline and, this is a must-do destination. If you want to explore under your own steam, cycle the Dunes Trail, which will take you through sand dunes with outlooks over the Pacific and East Cape. Access the famous glowworm canyons by kayak on Lake McLaren; magical and memorable natural lights! Visit the bubbling mud pits, and acid steams of Whakaari, White Island, the country’s only active marine volcano; by boat, helicopter or on foot.