Sun-Soaked Experiences To Have This Summer | North Island

Even though we can’t head overseas this Summer, we can’t imagine a better place to be than right here in New Zealand. If you’re planning to tour around the North Island, check out a few must-have experiences that let you soak up the sun, sand and surf. 

Before we jump into it, here are a few honourable mentions:

  • Walk around the Blue Lakes (Lake Tikitapu) in Rotorua
  • Watch the sunset at Castlepoint Lighthouse in the Wairarapa
  • Sail to the Mine Bay Māori Rock Carving in Taupo 
  • Visit Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel
  • Ride the dunes in Ōpononi
  • Visit Ninety-Mile Beach in the Far North

Kayak to Rangitoto, Auckland

Visit Auckland Sea Kayaks

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Rangitoto Island then we’ve found the perfect way to do it – by kayak! Great as a solo trip, an excuse to catch-up with your friends or as a spontaneous date night idea.

By day

Their Day Sea Kayak Tour Rangitoto Island explores the landmark of the Auckland region and allows you to see Auckland city from another perspective. Paddle across glassy waters of the Waitemata Harbour and keep a lookout for friendly marine wildlife on the way.

At sunset

The Sunset Sea Kayak Tour to Rangitoto Island showcases the best of Auckland’s Waitemata harbour including Auckland’s highest and largest volcano. The trip is fully catered with a healthy kiwi BBQ for dinner and all equipment is provided.

Take a surfing lesson, Raglan

Visit Raglan Surfing School

Always had a dream of being a pro-surfer? Book a group lesson to learn the basics of surfing.

You’ll learn:

  • Stance and posture
  • Water and beach safety
  • Surfboard vocab

They’ll kit you out with a fitted wetsuit and surfboard at their Surf Trailer down on Ngarunui Beach before you regroup on the sand and get ready to hit the waves.

Already have a little surfing experience? You can also book a private lesson to help build on your skills.


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Climb Mount Manaia, Whangarei

Easy to moderate fitness, 4KM return track

A steady climb through regenerating native bush to the summit of Mount Manaia rewards you with breath-taking views of the dramatic entrance to Whangārei-Terenga-Paraoa (Whangārei Harbour).
  • One of the most dramatic harbour entrances in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Spectacular view from the Bluff lookout to Te Whara/Bream Head, Taranga and the Marotere islands (Hen and Chicken islands).

The track leads you under nīkau palms and kauri stands with glimpses of northern rātā hanging from pōhutukawa among a cluster of jagged bush-covered peaks. As you climb towards the summit of Mount Manaia, 420 m above sea level, the gradient gets steeper and the views get more impressive.


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Karangahake Gorge, Paeroa

2.5 km or 7 km

Walk along the historic railway, hire some e-bikes in Paeroa or take a trek to a picturesque waterfall.

This walkway features historic railway remains in a stunning natural gorge setting, including two steel truss bridges and a 1 km rail tunnel, and provide access to the relics of historic gold mining.

The walkway follows the railway line through the gorge and then opens out alongside the Ohinemuri River, passing through the huge Victoria Battery complex and terminating at the Waikino Station where a cafe and train rides can be investigated.

A shorter loop section can be walked, that includes both the bridges and the 1100 m railway tunnel at Karangahake.

Tandem Skydiving, Taupo

Visit Taupo Tandem Skydiving

Experience the ultimate skydiving thrill! Taupo Tandem Skydiving is New Zealand’s #1 Rated Skydive on Tripadvisor.

Skydiving in Taupo is truly an unforgettable experience – you’ll see volcanoes, coast-to-coast views of the North Island and the incredible shores of Lake Taupo. The team at Taupo Tandem Skydiving want to make this experience for you even better.

Choose from their four heights:

  • 9,000 ft
  • 12,000 ft
  • 15,000 ft
  • 18,500 ft skydive for up to 75 seconds in free fall!


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Cycle the vines, Martinborough

Plan a long weekend to the Wairarapa and have the ultimate self-care weekend with wine, cheese platters and good company.

You can’t beat an afternoon cycling Martinborough’s flat country roads, calling into vineyards and olive groves along the way – all the Italian vibes without the cost of the plane ticket.

Martinborough vineyards are so close to each other so there’s no rush. Can’t bring your own bike? No problem – hire one when you get here.

Written by Monique Renee

Usually barefoot and deep in wanderlust mode, Mon loves binging Netflix, cuddling babies and stalking through Instagram looking for boho decor inspo and hotties with man buns. You’ll usually find her on holiday, planning a holiday or thinking about holidays.

Favourite Instagram to follow: @the_female_lead


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