Six places you must visit in New Zealand’s North Island

New Zealand is a stunning country to visit. If you haven’t already been, then you must add it to your bucket list of holiday destinations. So with that in mind, here are the sights and restaurants you should check out on any trip to Auckland and Rotorua.

Waiheke Island is one of the most popular destinations in the North Island. To get there, you can either take a 40-minute ferry from downtown Auckland or take a ride in a helicopter. The boat ride offers beautiful scenery all round. Think 360 panoramic views!

The island has an abundance of world-famous vineyards heralding award-winning wines and oils, and the best way to see them is to go on a private guided tour with Ananda Tours.

During the wine tasting tour, you can visit the beautifully renovated Tantalus Estate, Mudbrick, which has one of the best views you’ll ever see. There’s also Stonyridge Vineyard, made famous for it’s AU$600 award-winning Larose from 2014.

Waiheke has a unique micro-climate, which means it’s usually 2-3 degrees warmer than Auckland. It’s a must do destination when you’re on holiday in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Auckland has an abundance of world-class restaurants and bars. One favourite is the Depot Eatery, run by New Zealand celebrity chef, Al Brown. It perfectly reflects his attitude towards food: in season, delicious, to be shared by friends, and visually stunning. The Turbot sliders are to die for.

Rotorua is just over a two-hour drive from Auckland, and it is one of the most scenic places in the world. The 18 lakes of Rotorua are beautiful. If you’ve hired a car or a camper van, go for a drive. You won’t regret it.

If you want a magical experience learning about the deep history and culture of the Māori people, or if you want to get a closer look at the unique geothermal geysers, check out the Te Po – Indigenous evening experience. You will be treated to a cultural performance, enjoy a delicious hangi dinner, and then see the illuminated Whakarewarewa thermal valley.

And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll see a demonstration of the Tai Aha in the carving centre at Te Puia:

The Redwoods Trail in the Whakarewarewa forest and the Canopy Tour will delight those seeking nature and adventure. You will get the chance to zip line through breathtaking ancient forests.

Off the beaten track, the Hamurana Springs are a special place to visit when staying in Rotorua. The crystal-clear water will take your breath away.

Vinnie toured New Zealand compliments of 100% Pure New Zealand, who organised the sight-seeing activities around Auckland and Rotorua ahead of the Lions rugby series.