Things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains

Things to Do in the North Island of New Zealand When it Rains

Before going to New Zealand I was looking forward to exploring the amazing nature, going on hikes, relaxing at beaches and so on. Then I actually went to New Zealand and it rained a lot! Most of our plans fell into the water. We were just lucky enough to escape the big floods by moving south. So even though there are things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains, keep your mind open to discarding all your plans and going somewhere where the weather forecast looks a bit brighter.

You can have a great time even if it rains a little, but heavy rain can be dangerous! During the time we spend on the North Island of New Zealand, 4 people died because of floods and landslides. So listen to the news and keep driving away from the rain if the weather gets too bad. We decided to skip many attractions and keep driving south to escape the rain even before hearing about the tragedies and couldn’t have been more glad about our decision.

But now let’s get to the great things to do in the North Island of New Zealand even when it rains.

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Get lost in New Zealand’s biggest city: Auckland

The only international airport in New Zealand is located in Auckland so you’re probably in the city anyway at some point. And in New Zealand’s biggest city, there are always things to do in the rain. You can go for some delicious vegan food in Auckland or hide all day in a mall if it’s raining too much outside. So being in Auckland is one of the things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains. But also it can be a sucky place to be stuck in if all international flights are cancelled, yes that did happen to me but more to that in a different post.

When we arrived in Auckland at the beginning of our New Zealand holiday we actually had great weather. So we could do more outdoor things as well like walk up to Mt Eden, a dead volcano just outside the city, from where you have an amazing view of the city.

me sitting on Mt Eden, looking down on Auckland
Enjoying the view from Mt Eden

Hobbiton is always worth a visit

Hobbiton is always worth a trip no matter how much it rains. You can even borrow an umbrella before the tour starts if it rains and you didn’t bring one of your own. The only way to see the original filming location of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is on a guided tour.

It’s a very popular thing to do on the North Island of New Zealand, so you should book your tickets on the official Hobbiton webpage in advance. In case you don’t have a car to go to Hobbiton yourself this is the best day tour to Hobbiton from Auckland.

Me in front of a Hobbit hole; things to do in the north island of New Zealand
Walking through the shire is amazing even in the rain

On your walk through the shire, you learn all about the filming location from an apple tree turned into a plum tree by changing all the leaves and fruit to the amount of time the shire is actually visible in the movies. But it’s best to learn about those things while being in Hobbiton.

At the end of the tour, you get a free drink at the Green Dragon Inn. You can choose between two ales and a ginger beer. Then you can take a seat in front of the fire, if you’re lucky and get a free chair. Soak in the last bit of magic from the shire before you have to go back to reality.

Green Dragon at Hobbiton
Enjoying my ginger beer at the Green Dragon

Soak in some natural hot springs

My favourite thing to do of things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains is soaking in hot springs. You’re wet anyway, might as well be in some hot water. And the best thing is that there are free accessible hot springs in New Zealand.

Unfortunately, not all hot springs are the same. The first one we visited was so amazing that we wanted to recreate that experience at other hot springs, but we ended up disappointed.

Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs

The Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs are right next to a quiet road which is perfect for when it rains. You can leave your clothes in the car or van and they’ll stay nice and dry. In hindsight, we should have left our towels in the car as well, by the time we got out of the hot water the towels were soaked from the rain.

The hot springs are called Hot ‘n’ Cold because there’s a hot and a cold stream merging. So you can walk a bit around in the stream to find the right temperature for you. To be honest the water looks a bit dirty and smells of sulphur but it’s so worth it for the amazingly warm water.

hot springs in NZ
People relaxing in the Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs

Tips for going to hot springs:

  • Don’t wear your best swimwear, sulphur can discolour it.
  • Schedule a trip to the laundry after your time in the hot springs, your towel and swimwear are gonna stink afterwards of sulphur.

Hot spring I cannot recommend when it rains

Since going to hot springs is one of the best things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains and we enjoyed our time at the hot ‘n’ cold hot springs so much we looked for more hot springs on our way.

We learned two things:

  • Some hot springs are not hot any more when it rains. This happened at the Otumuheke Stream. We found the hot springs but because it had rained so much the water wasn’t really that warm.
  • Sometimes you can’t find the hot springs even though CamperMate and GoogleMaps both say they exist. But more to this in my post about the South Island of New Zealand.

Visit New Zealand’s capital: Wellington

New Zealand is one of those countries where people always mix up the capital because the capital is not the biggest city. The. capital of New Zealand, Wellington, is located on the southern coast of the North Island and from there you can catch a ferry to the South Island. It’s well worth scheduling some time in the city before hopping on the ferry.

One of the best things to do in the North Island of New Zealand is visiting the Te Papa museum in Wellington. This multiple-story museum is free to enter and you can learn everything about New Zealand’s history. Just behind the museum on the harbour, you can find the Wellington sign.

Wellington city sign
I love city signs where I can be a letter

Afterwards, you can walk up Wellington’s best-known and best-loved Cuba street, do a little shopping, enjoy the show of some street performers and look for a great vegan restaurant in Wellington.

If you have more time on your hand and you haven’t had your fill yet on Lord of the Rings, the movie studio is close to Wellington. There you can go on a journey through Middle-earth.

Things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains

Visiting Auckland and Wellington, relaxing in natural hot springs and walking around the shire are pretty much the only things we did of the things to do in the North Island of New Zealand when it rains. Because it’s just not fun in a camper van when it rains every day all day long and you have to. constantly worry that the roads are gonna get flooded and then you’re stuck. So we left the North Island of New Zealand after only 5 nights and headed straight for the South Island.

I hope you have better weather on your New Zealand holiday than I did. And if it rains for one day just try to make the best out of it and find things to do in the North Island of New Zealand in the rain.

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