New Zealand’s South Island gets most of the credit when it comes to its famous outdoor camping sites and multi-day hike adventures. Sure, there is a reason why they are commended for its beautiful and adventurous site. But New Zealand’s North Island should also receive credits for its stunning landscapes to wander through as well!
From its famous hiking spots to beaches and remarkable places to camp, these are places to wander around and adventure with your loved ones.
In this article, here are some places in New Zealand’s North Island that are highly recommended to visit which will leave you breathless.
1. Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park
The Tongariro Northern Circuit winds its way around the active volcanoes Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, showcasing the spectacular volcanic terrain of the central North Island.
The walk passes through unique and stunning landscapes, including active volcanic craters, brilliant blue lakes, and glacial valleys. The sweeping views around the North Island, this is a prime position because of its high altitude. If you are a big fan of high altitudes and a sucker for good landscapes, Tongaririo Northern Circuit will tick all the boxes for you.
In addition to the beautiful landscapes, you can witness Lake Taupo to the north, the rugged Kaimanawa ranges to the east, even as far as Mount Taranaki on the west coast. Additionally, there are interesting plants and birds that emphasize the core element of nature. With its diverse range of plants and landscapes, the element of nature is seen through Tongaririo Northern Circuit. Expect to get out of breath and be mesmerised by the stunning views.
Even so, this is the perfect habitat for many of New Zealand’s native birds. For instance, you will find robin / toutouwai, fantail / piwakawaka and many exotic animals. For some, it is the first time you will come across the diversity of flora and fauna.
Overall, this location is perfect for families and loved ones as there are a range of walking options available. Besides one-day trips, you can also do overnight trips or three-four day walks around the complete circuit. Make sure you book the early on in the year to avoid fully booked seasons!
Outdoor Photography by Wilderness Mag
1. Pouakai Circuit, Taranaki
The Pouakai circuit is an ideal circuit for adventurers seeking to experience the unexpected! Through the beauty of Egmont’s National Park’s rainforest, there are many other features in this circuit.
Well, you might be wondering how to get there? It is about a 15 minute drive from New Plymouth. You can park your campervan at the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre on Egmont Road. This should be a relatively easy process for campers.
If you are a beginner, you should try exploring other circuits as this circuit requires more advanced techniques that may be hard for beginners. Although it is undeniably beautiful, there are many risks for beginners.
Although it may not get as much recognition as the first hike on this list, Pouakai Circuit could take you through multiple landscapes over a range of 2-3 days. Although it is quite a long process compared to other circuit sites, these multi-day hikes take you through an array of different landscapes.
You can start from the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre and make your way across the many different waterfalls, lava flows, and swamps. The views are incredible - once you make it up the hill, you will be treated to a nice surprise! Despite the stunning views, the track can be very steep for some and extremely muddy especially during uncertain climates. Sometimes you can have relatively dry climates during some seasons, but most times it is muddy in places. Ensure that you pack according to the weather forecast - better to be prepared than not!
As always, there are limited spaces available in this circuit - it is a first-come-first-serve basis. In peak summer months, they can fill up relatively quickly. So if you are planning to visit this circuit, make sure to book it beforehand to get the best deal and to secure your spot.
Outdoor Photography by Department of Conservation, New Zealand
1. Aotea Track, Great Barrier Island
This is considerably the best multi-day hike spot in North Island New Zealand. This is perhaps not the best spot for beginners. However, if you are an experienced hiker, you are prepared for the hike of your lifetime! With its three-day tramp through the interior of Great Barrier Island, there are many activities that you can indulge in.
From thermal hot springs, to sweeping views from the summit of the island’s highest point, Mt Hobson, you will feel like you are on top of the world (quite literally and figuratively!). Either way, this is an incredible hiking spot for proficient hikers.
Along the three-day walk you’ll wander through kauri groves, along wetland boardwalks and down historic logging pathways trails. The highlight though could be considered to be the summit of the island’s highest point as mentioned previously. Mt Hobson is truly impeccable with top-tier views. Watch the sun go down over Little Barrier Island from the deck and stay awake to see the night sky come alive with a dazzling display of stars.
As always, there are limited spaces available in this circuit - it is a first-come-first-serve basis. In peak summer months, they can fill up relatively quickly. So if you are planning to visit this circuit, make sure to book it beforehand to get the best deal and to secure your spot. Make sure to also pack light as you want to have the most pleasant hike experience as possible!
Outdoor Photography by Great Barrier
There are many incredible multi-day hikes in New Zealand’s North Island. Depending on your proficiency and experience as a hiker, there are spots that may be better for you than others.
Despite the uncertain climate and seasons for hikers, these spots are beautiful regardless. Make sure to prepare yourself before going on any hike! The best way to enjoy your hiking experience is to pack well. Besides, remember to book your desired circuits beforehand to get the best deal and secure your hiking spots. During the popular seasons, these places may be completely booked.
1. Is camping in New Zealand safe?
Camping in non-designated campsites in New Zealand is generally not allowed. While safety is a factor, there are also many other aspects that could leave your life at stake. You may be fined up to $200 if caught wild camping - especially if you do not have access to public toilets and other camping facilities. It is better to be safe and protected than having to deal with consequences in the future.
2. Do you need to book campsites in New Zealand?
Generally no, but it is always best to book campsites upon deciding a camping date and location. You do not want to go to the campsites and suddenly, have to cancel your whole plan because it is fully booked.
Depending on the seasons, campsites are usually more popular during summer, or in New Zealand’s school holidays. In this case, some of the best campsites are typically booked up. While it is okay if you do not book your campsites, it is generally much more advisable to book it beforehand!
Photography by We Are Explorers