7 Gram-Worthy North Island Destinations for the Summer Holiday You Deserve

Following on from our selection of South Island Summer Spots it’s now time to identify our go-to, Gram-Worthy North Island destinations for the holiday season. The same idea will be promoted; to embrace this time of year, what this country has to offer and that you experience the summer, you deserve. And just like the South #nofilter will be needed for these Instagram hot-spots this summer.

So fill the chilly-bin, load up the car and hit the road with your favourite playlist raging throughout. Whether you are with your mates or family, surfing or sun-bathing, call it a bach or a crib, it’s time to experience the best of summer, creating lasting memories along the way.
Seriously, it is definitely crib.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel   Source: thecoromandel.com


Mt Maunganui/Tauranga

They say almost one million people annually make the trek to one of Tauranga’s biggest drawcards, and I would believe it, going by the wealth of snaps you scroll through on an Insta newsfeed, come holiday time. And no wonder going by a backdrop that captures clear blue skies atop wave-capped waters, lapping onto white-sanded beaches. A poetic description that matches the perfect, idyllic surrounds the resort-like region has to offer.
A temperate climate and vibrant city life, with shopping, bars, and restaurants adorned harbour-side. It’s not hard to see why Tauranga and the greater region is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas. The Bay of Plenty region is sure to be one of the country’s most popular spots yet again these holidays so make sure you find a good spot for fish n chips at the beach this summer.


Waiheke Island

Take a ferry and escape the hustle-and-bustle of Auckland city life for Waiheke Island, the sun-and-wine-soaked gem of the Hauraki Gulf. An excellent day trip attraction, ideal for families or romantic getaways alike.
Waiheke boasts an array of boutique vineyards with tours available complimented by tasting sessions. Follow this up with a meal involving oysters and cheese at one of the many eateries accompanied by locally produced fine wine. Ideal.


Gisborne (Rhythm & Vines)

Not only is Rhythm and Vines (R&V) the ultimate place to spend New Year’s, amongst a 3-day music extravaganza that is destined to amaze, but, Gisborne is also the first place in the world where you see the sunrise – what better way to farewell 2017 and welcome 2018.
R&V is an annual music festival held at Waiohika Estate Vineyard, several kilometres from Gisborne. Routinely a sell-out, the event that brings in the New Year attracts Internationally-renown acts with over 25,000 party-revellers from all over the world to the most Eastern point of New Zealand.
Gisborne itself is also a great spot, affectionately known as the ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand,’ a testament to the numerous vineyards in the region. Gisborne is also known for its surf beaches, Maori culture, and heritage.


Coromandel Peninsula

Another very popular summer getaway destination that is sure to please. Just one and a half hours drive from the drain and demands of Auckland, discover one of the many spectacular beaches, top cafes, and bars the region has to offer. An ideal camping site, with scenic bush walks, wineries, hot pools, diving, kayaking, charter fishing and boating right at your door-step.
Highlights in the area include Hahei Beach, Whitianga, Matarangi and Hot Water Beach where you can even dig yourself a hot spa pool in the sand! And make sure you pay a visit to Cathedral Cove, the much-photographed cave, accessed best via kayak or the Hahei Explorer unless you take the scenic coastal walk. Either way, just think of the rewarding Instagram snaps to result!


Lake Taupo

Almost smack-bang in the middle of the North Island is a big lake. In fact, according to ‘Ask Jeeves,’ the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand. And also a holiday-goers dream. You’ve got adrenaline seeking activities covered by way of skydiving, white water river rafting and the Huka Falls – the most visited and photographed natural attraction in New Zealand. Get your polaroid’s ready!
Or if your adrenaline-meter isn’t as high as others perhaps experience some of the best trout fishing spots around, or have a round of golf at one of the 9 courses in the region – Kinloch Club and Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary are two of the best in the country.
And I haven’t even mentioned the iconic ‘Lake Taupo Hole-in-One Challenge’ yet, where you hit your ball 100m aiming for the hole on the floating pontoon – you could win yourself $10,000.


Pukekura Park

Situated right in the heart of New Plymouth, Pukekura Park is one of New Zealand’s premier botanical gardens. A tranquil, peaceful area with something for everyone. Native bush, birds, a lake and waterfall, and even a small zoo – an ideal spot for a summer stroll, with ice cream in hand. Pukekura Park lights up over summer with the annual ‘Festival of Lights’ – a popular attraction for families and visitors alike.
The alternative angle to Pukekura Park we can take is its use as a cricket ground. Summer is all about cricket, and Pukekura Park is one of the best, if not the best, scenic venue in the country to catch a game. Albeit boutique, the grassy banks and general greenery combined with the terraces allow for a very picturesque sports ground coupled best with a few summer brews.


Hobbiton Movie Set – Matamata

Experience the set of Middle-earth from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings film Trilogy, directed by New Zealander Sir Peter Jackson. Whether you are a Lord of the Rings aficionado or not the Hobbit holes, Mill and Party Tree will still captivate and have you marvelling and wondering how a simple piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into ‘The Shire’ from Middle-Earth, earning multiple Oscar awards and putting New Zealand on the map along the way.
A must-do attraction, one that may appear very ‘touristy,’ albeit an activity that certainly fulfils the old adage of experiencing and appreciating things on our very own doorstep before venturing abroad.


The festive season is fast approaching so make sure you embrace summer and take the break you deserve. While many of the attractions highlighted will come at a cost, you will gain a money-well-spent appreciation once you have endeavoured to treat yourself. Experiences matter. You don’t want to spend your summer lying on the couch watching everyone else enjoy themselves from your Instagram account now do you?

Now to think of a crib, or bach-related caption for each of these snaps…

Apply here for an NZCU South Travel Loan to experience the summer you deserve.