Our Favorite New Zealand Hikes

New Zealand is an amazing place for hiking, and Kiwis are hard core trampers. We spent six months between the North and South Islands and did a lot of hiking, along beaches, up volcanoes, and to wineries and glaciers. Here are some of our favorite New Zealand hikes.

Hiking Volcanoes in New Zealand

Since New Zealand is known for its volcanoes, we had to walk some of them! It means a lot of vertical walking, but there’s usually a payoff of a good view. The North Island has nine active volcanoes, and much of the land features like in Rotorua, are results of volcanic activity.

Here are some of the volcanoes we hiked in New Zealand’s North Island:

Maungawhau/mount eden, auckland

Mount Eden is a great hike to do when you spend a couple of days in Auckland. It’s conveniently located to downtown, and an easy walk to do without any hiking gear. As a result, it’s popular and can be mobbed with tourists on a nice day. Still, it offers nice views and there’s good restaurants and bars to reward yourself after the volcano hike!

hiking Mount Eden NZ
Lots of people on the footpath at Mount Eden
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New Zealand’s Top Attractions

After six months exploring one of our favorite countries on earth, we have some recommendations. This is our list of New Zealand’s top attractions, so you know where to go when you visit.

New Zealand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The country has world class museums and attractions, but there’s also a lot of hype, and you can’t do everything! Hopefully this list of what we loved helps.

Best Museums

We couldn’t talk about New Zealand’s top tourist attractions without mentioning museums. On a rainy or cold day, or the day after a long hike or bike ride, a museum is a good option. Some of New Zealand’s museums are among the best we’ve ever visited.

auckland war museum

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Street Art in New Zealand’s North Island

We love street art, and after travelling around New Zealand for months, by boat and campervan, enjoyed the varied street art in New Zealand. I found the best street art in New Zealand’s North Island.

Some cities are infinitely better than others for street art. It seems like you need a confluence of artists and unused building and enlightened sponsors. Like other places with excellent street art, many of the best towns for street art in New Zealand’s North Island host festivals devoted to the craft.

Street Art in New Zealand’s North Island: Subjects

The subjects of street art in New Zealand run the gamut, as they do in most places with good outdoor art. Here they range from beautiful fantasy women to real people to birds and fish to Maori mythology. Themes and subjects which are important to the culture get repeated more often.

Cowboy street art in New Zealand
“Alex and Carmilita” by LISA KING, Whangarei
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Sailing Around Auckland

Auckland is known as The City of Sails. So many boats sail and anchor in the waters around New Zealand’s biggest city. The islands and bays near Auckland are some great cruising grounds. We enjoyed sailing around Auckland.

Auckland city from the water
Auckland city from the water

Getting to Auckland by Boat

We sailed from Fiji to Whangarei, New Zealand in November, and spent a few months in the marina there. With friends on board in late December, we took our catamaran to several anchorages before berthing in Auckland for a couple of nights.

The anchorages were varied except for a few things: they were all beautiful, very busy with mostly Kiwi boats, and had good holding. Finding a place to anchor is easy. Being a liveaboard is relatively painless when you’re sailing around Auckland.

sailing around Auckland map
The waterways between Whangarei and around Auckland

We spent most of our time motoring or motor sailing around Auckland. The winds were not strong, but they were mostly with us, at least. We chose not to sail further south because the winds get a lot stronger, and further south there are nowhere near as many places to anchor.

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Auckland Favorites

We don’t normally get to spend large chunks of time in big cities on the boat, so we tried to maximize every minute in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. Our conclusion: we could live there! Auckland is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a lot to offer, from museums to excursions to food. This post details our Auckland favorites.

About Auckland

I thought it was the capital, but that’s Wellington, at the southern end of the North Island. Instead, Auckland is New Zealand’s most populated city, with nearly 1.7 million people.

Located in the north of the North Island, Auckland is on a narrow isthmus between two large harbors and is known as The City of Sails. With it’s waterfront location, Auckland is home to beautiful beaches, waterfront trails, fish markets, and scores of sailboats. It’s also based around multiple volcanos, great for hiking.

Auckland Harbor
Auckland from the water
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