8 MORE reasons to love New Zealand’s north island

I’ve written before about all of the reasons the north island of New Zealand is amazing. It makes me so sad when people choose to skip it, or simply rush their way through. If you want to break my heart just tell me you’ve heard there’s nothing much to see. But do be aware that will initiate a good 45-minute lecture. With slides.

Of course, you might say I’m not one to talk as somehow we’ve gone full cliche and ended up living in Queenstown. But the reason we chose the south is because of our in-laws in the north – we know we’ll be spending plenty of time up there anyway. In fact, we’re going to be exploring the north island for the rest of our lives!

After spending a lovely few weeks up north before Christmas I found even more reasons to love New Zealand’s north island. And they don’t even involve wine!


I’ve waffled on before about how much I fell in love with Wellington. It’s unlike any capital city I’ve been to, feeling more like a big town than a bustling metropolis. Pair that with friendly locals, bright blue ocean and a quirky culture and you’ve got the recipe for a long and loving relationship.

wellington mount victoria lookout

Te Waihou walkway and The Blue Springs

One of the best things about new Zealand is how many hidden gems there are. Tucked around the corner from my in laws house is an unassuming looking little stream. Follow the path alongside it and you’ll soon see some of the clearest water in the world. The blue pools are becoming a lot more well known nowadays, but the Te Waihou walkway is not something to be missed either.

Blue pools putaru walk springs water

I mean come on – will you just look at how clear that water is!

Raglan’s Beaches

Gah, seriously guys the coastline around Raglan is just superb. All that black sand and blue ocean framed by some crazy beautiful cliffs. We only went for an afternoon but I could easily spend a week exploring the many coves and bays around the area.

Raglan surfers coastline beaches north island new zealand

Postcard perfection, if you ignore the fact that he fell off his board.

The Desert road drive

When we were planning our drive down south Mikey had only one option when it came to our route. We were going to be driving the desert road. The south island tends to get all of the kudos when it comes to scenic drives, but there’s something to amazingly eerie about the volcanic landscape of the desert road. Add in the fact that you’re driving past mount doom and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect road trip.

desert road mt doom

Source, because I formatted my memory card without saving my photos. Such a rookie error

So. many. waterfalls

I had no idea about how many waterfalls there were to discover in the North Island! Bridal veil falls piqued my interest slightly (under-exaggeration if I ever heard one) and now I’ve got a huge list of places to visit when we head back up. Huka and Bridal veil falls are the tip of a very large iceberg – Wairere falls is currently calling my name.

Bridal veil falls bottom raglan waterfalls new zealand north island sunny day

That’s one sexy waterfall.


A second flying visit to Rotorua only reminded us of how much we still have to explore there. It’s the town that has everything – geothermal activity, amazing spas, crazy activities and that’s barely even scratching the surface! I think you could easily spend a week here and not spend a second feeling bored. Hopefully one day we will!


Nothing to see here, just a huge geothermal lake in the middle of town.

Camping in the Waikato

DOC campsites are a little thin on the ground in the Waikato, so we were pleasantly surprised to learn about a free council site on the banks of Lake Karapiro. The Little Waipa Reserve is free for the first two nights so you can pretend you’re living in a real life Hobbiton for a day or two. It has beautiful lake views and we spent a lovely evening there watching the sun set.

lake karapiro campsite little waipa reserve waikato free camping campervan new zealand

Not a bad view to wake up to!

South Island Coastline

The interisland ferry is something of a must-do for road trippers. As in – you really must do it if you’re driving the length of the country! It must be one of the most spectacular ferry rides out there and felt more like a scenic boat trip than a form of transportation. I braved the ferocious winds and watched the coastline of the south island slip away with awe. Then shuddered as I realised I just added ‘road trip the coast around Wellington’ to my ever growing New Zealand to-do list.

south coast wellington interislander road trip new zealand

A little different than getting the ferry to France

There is still so much for me to see in the north island! I’m desperate to watch sunrise over Mt Taranaki, walk the Tongariro alpine crossing, drive to the tip of Cape Reinga, have a city break where I eat my way through Auckland, and drink all of the wine that Napier has to offer.

Skipping the north island when you visit New Zealand is down right crazy. Why on earth would you want to miss out on all of these amazing things, just to spend more time in the mountains?

Mountains schmountains I say!


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  • Reply Rachel

    This is my fave!! It annoys me also how under appreciated the north island is.

    February 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm
    • Reply Cheskie

      I’m glad it’s not just me that feels this way!

      February 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm
  • Reply Jill Beckett

    I felt exactly the same about the interisland ferry too! Stunning. You have given me lots of ideas when I for when I next visit – but glad to say I have the sunrise over Mt Taranaki under my belt – definitely worth doing!

    February 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm
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