North Island

The North Island of New Zealand has the capital city of Wellington along with the nation’s biggest city, Auckland. Nevertheless, the island is covered in great natural areas. Visit kauri forests in Northland, beautiful coastline on the Coromandel Peninsula, and geothermal attractions near Rotorua. The North Island has four national parks, Te Urewera, Tongariro, Whanganui, and Egmont. Tongariro National Park is home to Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a truly exceptional day hike.

Highlights of the North Island

  • Considered one of the very best day hikes in the world, this epic through-hike crosses an ever-changing volcanic landscape past craters, pools, and volcanic peaks in Tongariro National Park.
  • Walk past Frying Pan Lake, the largest hot spring in the world, and see other spectacular geothermal features while crossing though Waimangu Volcanic Valley.
  • Take three successive loops through an action-packed thermal area full of mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs, including the celebration-worthy Champagne Pool.
  • Frodo lives and Hobbiton exists! Walk past Bag End, enjoy a pint at Green Dragon Inn, and see all the hobbit holes filmed in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogies.
  • Take a thrilling trip through Okere Falls Scenic Reserve, plunging over the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world.
  • Combine tracks around the base of this extinct volcano at the end of a peninsula with tracks to the summit for a coastal hike with sweeping views.
  • This circuit in Tongariro National Park crosses volcanic landscapes to a beautiful 20-meter tall waterfall that you can stand behind.
  • These pools can be found along Waitonga Falls Track in Tongariro National Park, providing a postcard view of Mount Ruapehu reflected in an alpine bog before you reach a waterfall that plunges down a canyon wall.
  • This easy walk just outside of Tongariro National Park leads to a peaceful blue lake that reflects a view of Mount Ruapehu, the tallest mountain on the North Island.

Tracks on the North Island

This collection of walking tracks (hiking trails) on the North Island of New Zealand is listed from north to south and west to east. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next outing. Each track links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Watkin Powell Track030Watkin Powell Track
This short track crosses through bush to reach a secluded beach in Tauwhara Bay where you can continue walking up the coast.
0.33 km
20 meters
-35.4919,
174.45937
Mount Maunganui90Mount Maunganui
This trek combines picturesque tracks around the base and up to the summit of a peninsula-topping peak in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand.
3.4 - 7.3 km
20 - 230 meters
-37.63345,
176.1747
Kakepuku Track100Kakepuku Track
This trek in Kakepuku Mountain Historic Reserve near Te Awamutu ascends to a 449-meter summit with a lookout tower boasting panoramic views.
8 km
407 meters
-38.0781,
175.2625
Okere Falls Track130Okere Falls Track
This scenic walk through Okere Falls Scenic Reserve has views of multiple waterfalls, cascades, and pools on the Okere River near Rotorua.
3 km
55 meters
-38.01424,
176.34396
Crater Lake Track135Blue Lake
This circuit near Rotorua provides a pleasant loop across lakeside beaches and forests, rising to a lookout over Blue Lake and nearby Green Lake.
6.15 km
40 meters
-38.1875,
176.332
Waimangu Volcanic Valley138Waimangu Volcanic Valley
This route descends through a landscape of spectacular geothermal features like Frying Pan Lake, the largest hot spring in the world, and can be paired with Lake Rotomahana Boat Cruise for a memorable geothermal experience in Rotorua.
4.75 km
115 meters
-38.2857,
176.387
Crater Lake Track140Crater Lake
This short walk in Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve goes to an overlook with views of a turquoise pool below vibrant cliffs.
1 km
18 meters
-38.3154,
176.3759
Kerosene Creek Hot Pool142Kerosene Creek
This short walk follows Kerosene Creek down to a hot pool below a crescent-shaped waterfall. Bring your bathing suit and wade into warm, welcoming waters.
0.33 km
14 meters
-38.33425,
176.38613
Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland145Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
This thermal area full of hot pools, geysers, fumaroles, and mud pots can be explored on three successive loops.
1.35 - 3.05 km
20 meters
-38.35573,
176.3674
Huka Falls Walkway160Spa Thermal Park - Huka Falls Walkway
This walk follows the Waikato River from hot springs at Spa Thermal Park to the rapids and waterfall at Huka Falls in New Zealand's most visited scenic reserve.
7.3 km
45 meters
-38.6729,
176.08835
Lake Rotopounamu170Lake Rotopounamu
This lollipop loop visits tranquil beaches on a forest-wrapped lake in Tongariro National Park.
6.4 km
90 meters
-39.01716,
175.73165
Tongariro Alpine Crossing180Tongariro Alpine Crossing
This through-hike ventures across dynamic volcanic landscapes in Tongariro National Park and ranks among the world's greatest day hikes.
19.4 km
1125 meters
-39.144398,
175.580942
Tawhai Falls183Tawhai Falls
This out and back return hike visits a short but enticing single-drop waterfall near Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park.
0.8 km
40 meters
-39.175314,
175.5136
Taranaki Falls185Taranaki Falls
This loop crosses a variety of volcano-influenced landscapes to reach a beautiful 20-meter tall waterfall in Tongariro National Park.
6.45 km
115 meters
-39.19955,
175.5429
Silica Rapids188Silica Rapids
This track leaves from Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park and crosses alpine bogs, forests, streams, and ridges of volcanic rock to reach creamy cascades on silica terraces.
5.15 - 7.15 km
190 meters
-39.2036,
175.54015
Mangawhero Falls195Mangawhero Falls
This short, easy hike leads to a viewpoint for a 25-meter tall waterfall below Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.
0.3 km
10 meters
-39.319218,
175.502732
Waitonga Falls Track196Waitonga Falls
This out and back return hike reaches Tongariro National Park's tallest waterfall and passes through an alpine wetland that reflect views of Mount Ruapehu.
4 km
110 meters
-39.32958,
175.49579
Rimu Walk198Rimu Walk
This short, level walk explores a Rimu forest along the Mangawhero River near the town of Ohakune at the south end of Tongariro National Park.
0.8 km
8 meters
-39.39984,
175.41498
Lake Rotokura200Lake Rotokura
This out and back return hike reaches a peaceful blue lake that reflects a view of Mount Ruapehu, the tallest mountain on the North Island.
2 km
75 meters
-39.437782,
175.519195
Whitecliffs Boulders250Whitecliffs Boulders
This walk goes through sheep pastures and down cliffs by the Rangitikei River to a small forest filled with large spherical boulders that are quite unique.
4.1 km
140 meters
-39.8483,
175.7664

More outdoor fun

Hobbiton Movie SetHobbiton Movie Set Tourist Farm
Fantasy becomes reality when you visit the filming location for Hobbiton from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. See Bag End, get a drink at Green Dragon Inn, and walk past hobbit hole after colorful hobbit hole on a tour through Hobbiton Movie Set.
Kaituna River Whitewater RaftingKaituna River Whitewater Rafting
Take a memorable trip down the Kaituna River (Okere River) through Okere Falls Scenic Reserve that includes a thrilling plunge over Tutea Falls, the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world!
Lake Rotomoahana Boat CruiseLake Rotomoahana Boat Cruise
Take a boat tour over the lake at the bottom of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, getting close to steaming vents and geysers right along the lakeshore for a unique on-the-water experience. The cruise is reachable by bus or a hike down Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

 

Camping on the North Island

Places to camp can be found all over New Zealand, including Department of Conservation campgrounds and holiday parks that are usually run privately. Holiday Parks offer powered sites where campervans and RVs can plug in. They also offer kitchens and dining areas, bathrooms with showers, and other amenities. Most Department of Conservation campgrounds are fairly basic, but some offer extra amenities as well. There are also huts for backpacks throughout New Zealand’s parks. Pricing in New Zealand is done per person and not per site. Checkout time is typically 10 a.m. and you can check in in the afternoon.

Mangawhero CampgroundMangawhero Campground
This campground in Tongariro National Park near Ohakuna, New Zealand has twelves sites on two loops with views of Mount Ruapehu.
Otamure Bay CampgroundOtamure Bay Campground
This 131-site campground lies between farm-covered hills and a charming beach framed by rocky points.
Papamoa Beach ResortPapamoa Beach Resort
This oceanfront holiday park offers scenic lodging and campsites on grass-covered dunes above a beautiful beach on the Bay of Plenty near Tauranga.
Rawene Holiday ParkRawene Holiday Park
This holiday park offers tent sites, campervan sites, and cabins on a hill on a peninsula jutting into Hokianga Harbour in Northland, NZ.
Rotorua Top 10 Holiday ParkRotorua Top 10
This holiday park has campsites, cabins, and motel accommodations in a fun setting near the center of Rotorua with amenities that include mineral hot pools.
Whakapapa Holiday ParkWhakapapa Holiday Park
This holiday park in Whakapapa Village offers tent sites, campervan sites, cabins, and a backpackers lodge along a stream below Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.

 

Whakaipo Lodge
Whakaipo Lodge

Lodging on the North Island

Matariki Motor LodgeMatariki Motor Lodge
This motor lodge in the town of Te Awamutu is halfway between Hobbiton and Waitomo with studio and one-bedroom units with lots of conveniences for travelers.
Murupara Motor CampMurupara Motor Camp
Set in a small town in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand, this motor camp is half holiday park and half motor lodge, offering a variety of accommodations in a location that is both removed from busy tourist centers and close to lots of fun outdoor activities.
Rathmoy LodgeRathmoy Lodge
This lodge along the Rangitikei River is in a beautiful country setting that is private, elegant, and comfortable. Relax in and around the lodge, go for a swim, or tackle one of the area’s adventures.
Whakaipo LodgeWhakaipo Lodge
This lodge near Lake Taupo blends comfort with luxury and has welcoming owners who can help you take advantage of the area’s abundant outdoor opportunities.

 

View New Zealand tracks, campgrounds, and lodging in a larger map
Or explore hikes in New Zealand on the Oceania Hike Finder Map
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Devils Punchbowl Falls Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Devils Punchbowl Walking Track Arthur's Pass Village Hiking Track Devils Punchbowl Waterfall New Zealand Devil's Punchbowl
Devils Punchbowl Falls is a star attraction in Arthur's Pass National Park. The dynamic waterfall plunges 131 meters into a canyon near Arthur's Pass Village. The area's Māori named the waterfall Hinekakai, taking inspiration from its beautiful threads of water. Visitors can reach the waterfall on a 2-kilometer (1.4-mile) round trip walk beginning from Arthur's Pass... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: August 31, 2016
Otira Valley Track Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Arthur's Pass Village Hiking Track New Zealand
Just over the north side of Arthur's Pass and 5 kilometers from Arthur's Pass Village, you'll find Otira Valley Track, which ascends a trough-shaped valley off the west side of the pass. The track ends at Otira River Footbridge. Under normal circumstances, a bridge would be an odd place to end a hike (since a bridge lead to something on the other side). The route beyond... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Creeks · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 3.8 kilometers / 2.35 miles · Elevation change: 125 meters / 410 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 29, 2016
Bealey Chasm Walk Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Bealey River Hiking Track Bealey Valley Track Footbridge Arthur's Pass Village New Zealand
North of Arthur's Pass Village, Bealey River passes through a narrow gorge, creating a mix of tumbling white water and blue pools. A footbridge on Bealey Valley Track crosses over this point on the river, called Bealey Chasm. Visit the chasm on a short walk beginning from State Highway 73. Bealey Chasm Walk starts with a short section of Arthur's Pass Walking Track and... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Creeks · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 0.65 kilometers / 0.4 miles · Elevation change: 12 meters / 40 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 9, 2016
Old Coach Road Walk Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Greyneys Shelter Arthur's Pass Hiking Track New Zealand
This mostly unremarkable woodland walk explores the forest a few kilometers south of Arthur's Pass Village. Much of the track follows an old coach road that went to Arthur's Pass so the walk provides a history lesson on the area's earlier travelers. The easy walk is 1 to 1.4 kilometers long, starting and ending at Greynes Shelter Campground. With just 15 meters of... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 1.4 kilometers / 0.9 miles · Elevation change: 15 meters / 50 feet
By: Published: Last updated: July 1, 2016
Millennium Walk Avalanche Creek Waterfall Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Avalanche Creek Falls Arthur's Pass Hiking Track New Zealand
Millennium Walk is a very short hike from the visitor center for Arthur's Pass National Park to a viewing platform alongside Avalanche Creek Waterfall. This walk is 500 meters round trip with only a few meters of elevation change, covered over stone steps at the end of the walk. If you stop by the visitor center in Arthur's Pass Village, this short walk to the waterfall... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: December 8, 2016