Seriously, where else in the world can you find such a stunning and rugged country located at the end of the world? The answer? Nowhere, except for New Zealand.

Of course, New Zealand is outrageously beautiful. We all know that it. But what you really need to discover is the secrets of New Zealand’s North Island. We’re going to take you one step further and share some of the best-kept secrets of the North Island that you need to visit.

New Zealand

Bay of Islands. 

If there were a secret hideaway that was home to over 150 islands and surrounded by idyllic turquoise waters, we bet you’d want to keep it a secret too. But today, we’re going to share the first place that sits at the top of New Zealand’s must-see list – the Bay of Islands, aka Kiwi paradise.

Go kayaking, cool off at the Rainbow Waterfall or take a boat out to Hole in the Rock. You could spend days here, and may find you will barely scratch the surface.

New Zealand.

Mt Ngauruhoe and Tongariro National Park.

Even though Lord of the Rings put Mt Ngauruhoe on the map, this region is an iconic gem that New Zealand can be proud of.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is arguably one of the best day hikes in the world, covering a stretch of almost 20km. The walk isn’t easy, but the panoramic views of the turquoise emerald pools make it seriously worthwhile.

New Zealand.

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White Island, Bay of Plenty.

Throw yourself into the deep end (quite literally) to the east coast to Whakatane where you will meet with one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

You’ll come across energetic acid pools, steaming lakes, hot volcanic mud pits and more. In the surrounding waters though, things get a little friendlier with tonnes of marine life such as dolphins and whales. The Bay of Plenty is exactly that, and more!

Geysers, Te Puia, Rotorua.

Rotorua is unlike anywhere else in the world. The best part? The Pohutu Geyser, which means ‘Splashing Maori’ that explodes every hour and is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Just make sure to stand back unless you want a geyser shower.

Unleash your inner science-geek and check out the out-of-this-world natural activity – a ‘must do’ on your next trip to the North Island.

New Zealand.

Piha.

Piha is definitely one of those untouched gems of the North Island that you need to visit. Accompanied by a natural guard of Lions Rock, Piha is a place you’ll definitely want to take time in getting to know. With a population of just 600, Piha is away from the tourist trail and just 40km from Auckland.

Top tip: Nearby Piha is Waitakere Ranges, a magical place full of rainforests, waterfalls and beaches! If time allows, make sure you check it out.

New Zealand.
New Zealand.

Lake Taupo.

Some would say if you don’t visit Lake Taupo, some would say you haven’t really visited New Zealand at all.  Taupo includes Crates of the Moon and Wairakei Terraces, both geothermal hotspots. Hike to the powerful but turquoise pools at Huka Falls, bungee 47m high above Waikato River, or even just take a boat trip across Lake Taupo for stunning scenery!

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel.

Cathedral Cove is one of those places you would want to keep a secret as long as possible. Although well known to the locals, this stunning area is both pristine and sparkling clean. If you’ve ever visited Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, Cathedral Cove might remind you a smaller, more rugged Maya Bay – minus the swarms of tourists.

Photo via Crystal Egan
Photo via Crystal Egan

Tiritiri Matangi Island.

You wouldn’t expect to see the  ‘mini Galapagos’ of New Zealand so close to the mainland, but in this country, you can visit spectacular places only short distance away. Tiritiri is an island that is dominated by bird species, some which are unique and rare, whilst other species roam too. Only so many visitors can visit per day, and there are only a handful of volunteers and conservation workers who actually live on the island.

Blue Springs, Waikato.

Not only does a large majority of New Zealand’s water flow through here, you’d think this place has been edited with the Low-Fi filter on Instagram. Why? Because the water is super blue and all natural. And as far as secrets go, this is probably one of New Zealand’s most secretive as it takes almost 5km to get here via the Ta Waihou Walkway.

South Coast Seal Colonies, Wellington.

Wellington is a city situated on the very southern points of the North Island. Some travellers even say you can spot the South Island into the distance. If you have a few extra days after finishing your Topdeck trip in New Zealand, go beyond the city and see what this incredible country has to offer. Red Rocks Seal Colony is worth the day trip to see the ancient lava rocks that still exist, playing a large role within Maori culture. Explore beyond the Red Rocks to discover hundreds of furry little guys at the many seal colonies in the area.

New Zealand.

Comment below and tell us where your favourite places in New Zealand are!

Discover New Zealand for yourself with Topdeck HERE.

Tommy Walker
Tommy has been on the road since 2012. He is a freelance travel writer, manages 150k travellers through Facebook, works in radio and travel conservation. He’s worked with the BBC, Business Insider, News.com.au, NZ Herald and Daily Express. If you don’t find Tommy working he’ll by the beach, roaming the jungle or hanging with the locals.