5 of our favourite places to visit in the North Island

22 September 20

New Zealand is a unique destination showcasing lush, fertile landscapes, contrasted by sandy beaches, food and wine hubs and a rich culture and history. All of which can be found on the lively North Island.

Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and often mistaken as the capital. The skyline is unmistakable with the 328-metre tall Auckland Sky Tower standing at the heart of the CBD. The attraction offers 360-degree panoramic views up to 80km in every direction. Auckland’s CBD comes alive at night with a popular inner city and waterfront dining precinct. Taste your way through fresh food and wine before discovering the vibrant arts and culture scene.
For those with more time in Auckland, Waiheke island is an unmissable day trip from Auckland via a 40-minute ferry ride. The beautiful vineyards, olive groves and beaches offer a majestic getaway full of things to see and do.

Rotorua

To the south of Auckland lies Rotorua, the geothermal and cultural heart of New Zealand. Immerse yourself in the Maori culture with a Traditional Maori Hangi and Concert. Feast on delicious food, smoky in flavour and cooked in the ground using the geothermal heat. The region also boasts breathtaking scenery including 16 beautiful lakes, lush flora and redwood forests - all shaped by the volcanic activity.

There is so much to see and do in Rotorua including the Skyline Gondola and luge experience, Agrodome farming experience and even a Rotorua Duck Tour on a WWII landing craft. Check your GPT itinerary to see which highlights are included in each tour.

Napier

A national disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. The vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed in an Earthquake in 1931.

Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years. New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Local architect Louis Hay, an admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright, had his chance to shine. Maori motifs were employed to give the city a unique New Zealand character - for example, the ASB bank on the corner of Hastings and Emerson Streets features Maori koru and zigzags.

This resulted in Napier being one of New Zealand’s quirkiest cities and unique hidden gems.

Wellington

Set on the edge of a stunning harbour in the North Island’s south, Wellington offers the very best of this extraordinary land. From arts and culture, Maori heritage, and natural wonders, to wine and food, shopping and rural retreats. Wellington’s must do attraction is Te Papa, NZ’s National Museum with exhibits that embrace both Maori & European culture including Gallipoli: The Scale of our War exhibition.

Hobbiton

Be enchanted at the Hobbiton Movie Set and experience a fascinating guided tour on selected Grand Pacific Tours holidays. The rolling hills of Matamata are the perfect place for the idyllic Hobbiton Movie Set, set on a land of lush pastures that was chosen to play The Shire in Peter Jackson’s well-known trilogies The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

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