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Serene lakes, enchanting glow worm caves and ill-tempered volcanoes

Central North Island covers the heart of New Zealand’s upper land mass, home to many of the country’s most beautiful natural attractions and dramatic landscapes.

Some of the most popular places to visit in this region include Lake Taupo - New Zealand’s largest lake, Tongariro National Park and its triple dose of volcanoes, as well as thermal hot springs created by the fierce volcanic activity.

Lake Taupo was created over two thousand years ago, when a super-volcano exploded and blew itself apart, leaving behind a crater that later filled as the lake.

Fed by numerous streams and rivers, the lake is a great spot for fishing, with brown and rainbow trout being the most popular catches of the day; while the hammering rapids of the nearby Waikato River draws adventure-seekers for white-water rafting.

To the south of Lake Taupo, the rambling topography of Tongariro National Park attracts skiers and snowboarders in the winter, then hikers in the summer.

After so much outdoor activity, you’ll be needing some time to relax. Marvel at jewel-toned thermal pools, bubbling mud ponds and shooting geysers at Rotorua. Then, recline in the mineral-rich hot spring pools to rejuvenate, ready for the next leg of your New Zealand trip.

There are great opportunities for learning about Maori culture against these inspiring natural backdrops, with experiences including traditional dances and the famous haka, arts and crafts such as Arawa carvings, as well as a taste of Maori cuisine, including meat that falls off the bone, served with vegetables cooked in a hangi (underground steam oven).

This region is also where you’ll find the labyrinthine glow worm caves of Waitomo, which can be visited via an underground tour, as well as Middle Earth movie sets from the popular (and now somewhat synonymous with New Zealand) Lord of the Rings films.

Central North Island is a volcanic melting pot of geological thrills, epic outdoor experiences, rich Maori culture and an endless choice of excursions and activities. A trip to the fiery heart of New Zealand is a must for every Kiwi itinerary.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Best times to visit Central North Island

As with much of New Zealand, summer (December, January and February) brings comfortably warm temperatures, but also crowds of international and local tourists. However, the altitude of the Volcanic Plateau means that Lake Taupo and Tongariro experience a crisp climate all year round, while the freezing temperatures of winter months (June, July and August) lend themselves well to winter sports, such as skiing.

Plus, if you’re feeling chilly you can always take a dip in the hot spring pools of Rotorua or curl up by the fireplace at your lodge with a warming glass of New Zealand red wine. Look out for New Zealand Rugby Sevens in Hamilton in February, the Running of the Sheep in Te Kuiti as part of the Great New Zealand Muster in April and the Graffiato Street Art Festival in Taupo in October.

New Zealand's monthly weather chart

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Accommodation in Central North Island

As reflecting the diverse geography and many attractions of the Central North Island region, we have a range of accommodation options to choose from including the Bayview Chateau Tongariro, Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa, Huntington Stables Retreat, Acacia Cliffs Lodge, Whakaipo Lodge and River Birches Lodge.

Many of these luxury properties are independent and family-run, so you can experience true Kiwi hospitality in a cosy lodge or boutique hotel setting, complete with delicious local cuisine and stunning views of the lush surroundings.

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