Legend has it that one day, Maui, the clever and adventurous demigod known throughout Polynesian and Maori mythology, was not invited to go on a fishing trip with his brothers. Not wanting to miss the chance, he hid under the floorboards of his brother’s waka (canoe), and when they were too far inland to turn back, he revealed himself and carved his hook from his ancestral jawbone. to be able to participate.
While fishing, Maui casts a powerful spell with a hook deep in the water. Not long after, he realized he had caught something big… very big. Spinning his catch with the help of his brothers, his hook floats with an entire island. Named Te Ika-a-Maui (The Fish of Maui), we now recognize the land as the North Island of New Zealand.
The North Island offers amazing landscapes, fascinating Maori heritage, and thrilling adventures for every passionate traveler. To help you plan your upcoming adventures, here we’ve rounded up the top 8 things to do and see in Te Ika-a-Maui while in New Zealand!
1) Explore the city of Auckland
A perfect starting point on your New Zealand adventure, greet the North with a big hello Kia Ora and discover this cosmopolitan city known for its food, music, art and culture. The ‘City of Sails’ is based on two different harbors and even has an extinct volcano to walk on. From the iconic Sky Tower you can see Viaduct Harbor – full of gorgeous restaurants and high-end bars where you can spend the night eating, drinking, laughing and getting to know locals and guests alike travel. Auckland’s cafes take themselves very seriously and you’ll find that the talented baristas and locally roasted beans create a great coffee culture. Need an activity for the day? Climb Mount Eden for one-of-a-kind panoramic skyline views, or tour Auckland’s museums and galleries for a glimpse into the nation’s history and culture. You never have to go too far to go hiking, to the beach or to indulge in shopping in New Zealand’s urban heart.
2) Immerse yourself in the Maori heritage
The Maori have such a deep and rich history, and the best way to learn about it is to hear directly from the people who are still alive and breathing their ancestors. Many Maori still live in the places on which their stories and legends are based, passing on their legacy through word of mouth to the next generation. One such place is Rotorua, a geothermally active area that is a center of cultural activity. By visiting a traditional Maori village, you can step back to a time when warriors proudly defended their land for an evening of education, laughter, and a full stomach. old forest scene. Expect traditional performances, Hangi festivals, and loads of other surprises.
3) Spend a day in Middle-earth
The Lord of the Rings is a very important part of New Zealand’s modern history and is often referred to in the same way as other iconic New Zealand things like All Blacks and Kiwis. No trip to the Land of Long White Clouds would be complete without a visit to Hobbiton, the real-life Tolkien village. Fans of this epic trilogy may be ready to explore one of the most iconic movie settings of all time and immerse themselves in every little detail this enchanting village has to offer. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Hobbit or LOTR, you’ll still appreciate the details and marvel at the beauty of The Shire’s fertile landscape. End your time in Middle-earth by relaxing with a beer at the Green Dragon Inn.
4) Visit Lake Taupo
Located in the middle of the North Island is the huge Lake Taupo. About the size of Singapore, it is the second largest freshwater lake in Oceania and well worth exploring. Home to a lovely small town and water sports center, this place will win your heart. Getting out on the lake is the best way to experience it, regardless of New Zealand’s unpredictable weather. Imagine a somber, sombre evening, with a low ethereal mist hovering over the water, as you explore ancient Maori rock carvings, or the pristine clear waters reflecting the royal sun. Beautiful kiss in the sky above. Be in awe as the colors change while sailing into the sunset, surrounded by native birds hovering beside you.
5) Chasing the waterfall
All that water from Lake Taupo has to go somewhere! Experience the raw power of Mother Nature at Huka Falls, a massive waterfall that sucks Taupo’s fresh water across the Waikato River. Usually 100 meters wide, this river is forced into a narrow canyon 20 meters long, spewing more than 220,000 liters of water per second. Pure power. Stroll across the bridge for sweeping views of the beautiful blue water and explore at your own pace in a 30-minute walk as you explore the thunderous falls from every angle.
6) Bathing in Kerosene Creek
This natural hot spring is a hidden gem, where you’ll often find locals rejuvenating both body and mind in the perfect warm waters on weekends or after work; Look up at the open sky and marvel at the natural beauty of the area. One of our favorite features about the creek is the small waterfall where you can let the hot water from the volcano wash away all your worries… especially needed after a few days of exploring! It’s a place you’ll always remember chatting with friendly locals, sharing a moment and perhaps a cold bevvie.
7) See fireflies at Waitomo Cave
Featured in an Attenborough documentary, it goes without saying that a visit to Waitomo is a top experience when traveling the North Island. Under the lush hills of Waitomo lies a maze of limestone caves, steep gorges and winding underground rivers, and if it’s good enough for Sir David, it’s good enough for us too! Hop aboard a small boat for a quiet, mystical excursion underground beneath thousands of fireflies as you listen to ancient Maori stories (often told by descendants of local chiefs side!) You won’t be blamed if you think you’re looking at the night sky. Looking up at the vivid lights is an experience not to be repeated – so make sure this is on your New Zealand travel list!
8) Pretend you’re on another planet at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
This otherworldly experience is probably the closest you’ll ever get to Mars. Iron in the soil here transforms the landscape into an orange wonderland carved by thousands of years of volcanic activity. The bubbling mud pools in action, the famous Champagne Pool (so named for the bubbles that constantly rise to the surface) and Lady Knox Geysers are all natural sights here when mate Flags stroll along, taking advantage of the perfect picture of the landscape by filling your camera roll with snapshots. Word of warning: don’t swim here unless you want to turn into soup.
Feeling inspired? Check out our other New Zealand travel blogs here for more New Zealand travel tips!