New Zealand North Island Recap

Hello! I just finished my week-long tour of the north island of New Zealand and I wanted to put together a little recap post of all the places we visited. I spent a little over one week on the north island. A few days in Auckland on my own and then my organized tour started and made its way down to Wellington over the course of one week.

I didn’t realize this before I visited, but the weather and landscapes are completely different on the north island versus the south island. The north island is warmer and has volcanoes, hot springs, beaches, and rolling green hills. The south island is cooler with beautiful mountains, glaciers, and rivers.


I flew into Auckland from Los Angeles and spent three days in an Airbnb exploring the city. It was raining on and off the whole time so I’m glad I had my rain jacket with me.

View of Auckland from Devonport. I took the ferry across the bay to get this view of the city.

My Airbnb. I had the whole bottom half of the house to myself.
The bedroom.
Kitchen and living room.

View of the bay from the end of the street I was staying on.

Breakfast from Dear Jervois Cafe – avocado toast with poached eggs and beetroot whipped feta.
Matcha latte from Jervois Cafe.


New Zealand had a bad cyclone (hurricane) about a week before I arrived. As a result, my tour was rerouted from Cathedral Cove to Tauranga to avoid the damage done to the northern coast. Tauranga is a quite little beach town on the eastern coast of the north island. It was actually really nice so I didn’t mind the detour.

We stayed in the Pacific Coast Lodge.
I booked the cheapest trip option in New Zealand, and as a result, we stayed in hostels and slept in dorm rooms with anywhere from 4-12 beds. The dorms were mixed between men and women and we had people outside of our group staying in the same room which I didn’t expect and didn’t like honestly. We had to share bathrooms and showers with everyone as well. Let’s just say I like my space and it was hard for me being in loud hostels with people going to bed at all hours of the night. I wouldn’t recommend hostels if you can avoid them. Splurge for hotels or an Airbnb.
Since I wasn’t able to sleep the night prior because of all the noise in the hostel I got up early to watch the sunrise.
It turned out to be a really nice sunrise that morning so that was a plus!

Tofu banh mi from Rice Rice Baby.


Next up we visited Hobbiton. I wrote a separate post on my visit to Hobbiton so you can check that out by clicking -> here.


After Hobbiton we headed to Rotorua. I also wrote a separate post on Rotorua that you can check out by clicking -> here.


After Rotorua, we visited Taupo. A city built around a lake that was formed from a volcanic eruption over 25,000 years ago. We were supposed to hike one of the volcanoes in the area on our free day in Taupo, but it was canceled due to the weather. So instead we stayed around town and went sailing in the crater lake and saw some native Maori carvings.

Māori rock carvings.
I went for a morning run along Lake Taupo. There was a nice sidewalk around the perimeter of the lake.
Breakfast from The Cozy Corner Cafe – avocado toast with poached eggs and a strawberry smoothie.
Lunch from Positive Kalibrations Cafe – vegetarian sushi bowl with a chocolate and date smoothie.


After Taupo, we headed to Wellington to essentially spend the night before our 6:15 AM ferry crossing to the south island the next day. Since we arrived late in the evening and left early we really didn’t explore much of Wellington.

View from Mount Victoria.
Group picture.
Group picture with our guide Sam.
Dinner from Aroy Thai Street Food – tofu cashew nut stir fry.

Stay tuned for my posts on the south island coming up next!

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