New Zealand’s North Island In 8D7N: The Muslim-Friendly Itinerary You’ve Been Waiting For


Cheng Sim •  May 24, 2019

Whether you’re excited to experience the great outdoors, an adrenaline rush with adventure activities or embark on your own Middle-earth experience, travelling to New Zealand’s North Island is on everyone's bucket list! With so many unique experiences and scenic spots, you’ll be spoilt for choice and that’s why our exciting video is here to help!

If you're planning your first getaway, check out our essential tips for first-time travellers to New Zealand. Can’t wait to hop on a plane already? This itinerary is all you need to fall in love with New Zealand’s North Island in eight days!

Getting there

Fly from Malaysia to New Zealand via Singapore

  • On our Air New Zealand’s flight from Singapore, we got to try the Economy Skycouch™! Perfect for extra room during our long-haul flight, we transformed a row of Economy seats into a comfortable bed, which is great for families with kids!

  • Once we got comfy, we were glued to our screens with a huge variety of movies on Air New Zealand’s inflight entertainment system. There was even The Lord of the Rings film trilogy that kept us hooked for hours.
  • If you’re not seated next to your friends or family, not to worry because you can chat with each other using the Seat Chat function. Tell them how much you loved the movie you just watched!

Fly non-stop from Singapore to Auckland

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

  • Once you’ve arrived at Auckland International Airport, head over to the landside Arrivals area to buy Vodafone’s NZ Travel SIM that is perfect for travellers (like you!). For $49, you’ll get 4GB of data and unlimited use of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp for 30 days.
  • If you are planning to self-drive on the North Island, there are many car rental companies available at the airport, from Jucy Rental to Omega Car.
  • You can choose an economy car (for couples), SUV (for a small family), campervan (for a family with kids), and more. For our trip, we rented a Premium Minivan from Budget New Zealand, which is perfect for a group of five adults.
  • For international travellers, you need to provide your passport, international driver license, credit card and reservation number to collect your car.
  • #HHWT Tip: If you want to self-drive in New Zealand, remember to bring your international driver license (or driver permit) and book your vehicle in advance during the busy summer season (December to February).

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Drive to Devonport Wharf Ferry Terminal

  • Begin your road trip adventure with a one-hour drive to Devonport Wharf Ferry Terminal.
  • Park your vehicle at Queens Parade, just within walking distance from the ferry building entrance.
  • Enjoy the ferry ride from Devonport Wharf to Rangitoto Island (25 mins).
  • On weekdays, there are only two ferry timings: 9:25 AM and 12:25 PM so make sure you don’t miss it! Check out the full ferry schedule and rates

Explore Rangitoto Island (3 hours)

  • Start your North Island adventure at the home of Auckland’s youngest and largest volcanic cone, Rangitoto!
  • Look up and admire the world’s largest Pohutukawa forest, also known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree!
  • Next, explore the walking trails and climb to the peak of Rangitoto. It’s the best way to marvel at the pristine waters of the Hauraki Gulf and scenic horizons of the Waitakere Ranges.
  • Other activities to try: Scenic walking trails, lava fields, guided sea kayaking and four-wheel drive road train.

Choose your adventure at AJ Hackett Bridge Climb & Bungy (2 hours)

  • Take the ferry back to Devonport Wharf (25 mins) and drive to your next adventure, AJ Hackett Bridge Climb & Bungy (15 mins)!
  • Whichever activity you choose, it’ll be the most amazing and life-changing experience.

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

1. Bridge Climb (2 hours)

  • Want a 360-view of the city, waterfront and sparkling bay? The AJ Hackett Bridge Climb will give you all that and more!
  • Embark on a fully guided tour that will bring you right to the top of the bridge.
  • You’ll be walking along the custom walkways and climbing narrow steps so do wear comfortable footwear!
  • If you think it’ll be a nerve-wracking experience (especially above the heavy traffic!), don’t worry, you’ll be decked from head to toe in safety gear.
  • Perfect for groups and suitable for kids seven years and up!

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

2. Bungy Jumping (2 hours)

  • If you’re finally ready to tick bungy jumping off your bucket list, check this off at AJ Hackett Bungy Auckland!
  • Before you take the leap, the AJ Hackett team will give a quick briefing and help you with your safety gear. If you’re wearing glasses, you can keep your glasses on until moments before you jump, and you can put them back on immediately when you return to the jump pod!
  • It may seem scary, but you should give this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a try. P.S. We were all nervous too and while it was scary, it was a fun kind of scary! The AJ Hackett team was very encouraging too, which really helped.
  • Once you’re ready, stand at the edge of the platform and experience two seconds of heart-thumping free fall. Take it up a notch by requesting to touch the ocean waters. It’ll be the highlight of your day.
  • Perfect for any thrill seeker, anyone from as young as 10 years old can join the fun!

Enjoy delicious Afghan dinner (1.5 hours)

  • Treat yourself to a dinner at Samadi, a Muslim-owned restaurant specialising in Afghan cuisine.
  • Recommended dishes: Mantu (Afghan dumpling stuffed with beef mince), Kabob (meat skewers) and Qorma (beef cooked in an onion, tomato and garlic sauce).
  • Every single dish was so yummy and we’re not exaggerating!
  • Address: Samadi, Unit A, 11 Pt Chevalier Road, Auckland
  • Halal status: Muslim-owned

Day 2: Auckland

Shuck oysters at The Shuckle Ferry (2 hours)

  • Wake up early and take a 1.5-hour drive to Mahurangi Harbour.
  • All aboard The Shuckle Ferry - New Zealand’s only oyster farm tour!
  • #HHWT Tip: It was cold and windy on the waters (in summer!) when we arrived, so bring a jacket or sweater.
  • It was great to hear the owner Phil share interesting stories about the farm, oysters and harbour. We learned that Pacific oysters are left to grow naturally for a year before being farmed. It’s as natural as it gets!
  • After that, feast on a big bowl of fresh Pacific oysters! Believe us when we say it was one of the freshest and creamiest oysters we’ve ever tasted. It was perfect with a few drops of lemon juice!
  • Phil also grilled some oysters which paired perfectly with garlic butter sauce!
  • Drive an hour to Warkworth for your next stop.

Taste the sweetness of Manuka honey (1 hour)

  • For something sweet, you must visit the Honey Centre Warkworth.
  • Join the guided tour and learn everything from the life of the honey bee to the process of making Manuka honey.
  • Our favourite part was sampling various honey flavours. Try the Pohutukawa (New Zealand’s Christmas tree), raspberry and Mochaccino-flavoured honey! Do note that some flavours contain alcohol, so remember to check before you purchase.
  • Round up your trip with the sweetest Manuka honey ice cream. The perfect treat for a sunny afternoon!
  • Once done, enjoy a short drive to Parnell & Newmarket (45 mins).

Shop ‘til you drop at Parnell and Newmarket(2 hours)

Credit: @parnellauckland on Instagram

  • If shopping is your favourite sport, you’re going to spend hours at Parnell and Newmarket, locals’ favourite suburbs in Auckland.
  • There’s something for every shopper here. If you’re looking for designer goods, quaint shops and art galleries, Parnell’s the place!
  • For those who prefer high street fashion and stylish menswear, drop by Newmarket.
  • Tired from all that shopping? Stop for a flat white at any of the charming cafes.

Slurp down hand-pulled noodles at Chamate (1.5 hours)

  • Reserve a table in advance at Chamate, a restaurant specialising in modern Chinese cuisine.
  • Our favourite was ‘Da Pan Ji’, a Xinjiang-style dish with chicken, potato, vegetables and noodles. It’s great for sharing!
  • We learned that Chamate prepares their signature hand-pulled noodles from scratch. If you’re lucky, you can catch the chef pulling and stretching the noodles in the open kitchen!
  • Address: Chamate, 17 Swanston Street, Auckland CBD
  • Halal status: Halal-certified

Delight your senses with ice creams at Giapo (1 hour)

  • If you’re craving for ice cream after dinner, Giapo’s out-of-this-world ice cream creations will blow your mind!
  • Owners Giapo and Annarosa are known for combining technology, art and science to create one-of-a-kind wonder cones.
  • Snap pictures with the Wearable Cones and Selfie Cone or enjoy the crunchy Agria chips from Hot Chips In A Cone.
  • Remember to check out the chocolate-coated Colossal Squid ice cream, which is inspired by the colossal squid display at Te Papa Museum in Wellington!
  • Unlike other ice cream stores which usually have a freezer, there isn't any in Giapo. Instead, your host will give you a brief introduction to all the different flavours and you are welcome to try them all before deciding.
  • Address: 12 Gore Street, Auckland
  • Halal status: Muslim-friendly (all flavours are halal except the blackberry ice cream)

P.S. For a great foodie's adventure, check out our ultimate guide to halal food in New Zealand!

Day 3: Hobbiton

Experience the magic of Hobbiton Movie Set

  • Hobbiton Movie Set is a must-visit for all fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films! P.S. Hobbiton is a 2.5-hour drive from Auckland.
  • Your tour guide will share interesting facts about the different Hobbit holes, where famous scenes were filmed. P.S. Did you know you can guess the occupation of the Hobbit by looking at each Hobbit Hole?
  • Remember to visit Bilbo Baggins’ famous Shire beneath the old oak tree.

  • If you want to take a photo with a Hobbit Hole, look out for the house with a red door. It’s the only one that you can enter!
  • Quench your thirst at The Green Dragon Inn with a non-alcoholic ginger beer.

  • To feast like a Hobbit, go for the Evening Banquet and Hobbiton Movie Set Tour + Meal Combo where you’ll enjoy golden roast chicken, salmon fillet and lamb shank. Remember to book in advance!
  • Halal status: While all meats are halal-certified, we recommend that you to dine at your own discretion.
  • #HHWT Tip: Since tickets sell out quickly and you’ll have a slim chance of entering if you walk-in, book your tickets online!

Perform Solat at the Hamilton Mosque (1 hour)

  • Take a short drive to Hamilton Mosque (45 mins).
  • Perform your prayers and meet the Muslim community too!

Admire the blooms at Hamilton Gardens (2 hours)

  • Hamilton Gardens is a well-loved attraction that tells the story of gardens through various times and civilisations. Today, there are 24 themed gardens to explore!
  • Our favourite is the Katherine Mansfield garden that took our breath away.
  • While walking around the Maori-themed Te Parapara garden, we were pretty surprised to find sweet potatoes which the locals call it kumara! We were told that the potatoes would be presented to the Maori king and local communities once harvested. How cool!

  • If you have more time or you are visiting the gardens around lunchtime, pre-order a picnic basket from Hamilton Gardens Cafe!
  • Halal status: All meats are halal-certified and while the cafe serves pork, pork dishes are prepared separately. Do note that alcohol is served on the premises.

Feel closer to home at Lazat Malaysian Restaurant

  • Craving for flavours closer to home (Malaysia and Singapore)? You’ll find nasi goreng, murtabak and even Milo Dinosaur at Lazat Malaysian Restaurant!
  • Address: 803 Victoria Street, Hamilton 3204
  • Halal status: Lazat serves Muslim-friendly food but do note they serve alcohol on the premise too.

Day 4: Waitomo and Rotorua

See the glowworm at Waitomo Caves (3 hours)

  • Begin your morning with an hour-long drive to Waitomo from Hamilton.
  • Waitomo is known to have the biggest and brightest glowworm display. If you want to take photos and videos on your tour, we recommend Spellbound Glowworm and Cave Tour which will lead you to Waitomo Caves!
  • Put on your helmets and follow your guide to the first cave where you’ll see beautiful rock formations. It’s a dark cave, but don’t worry! Just switch on the lights on your helmets.
  • The second cave is even more breath-taking! We got on a raft and saw the most magical glowworms display.
  • We tried taking pictures using our phones, but the cave was too dark! This golden moment was shot using our Sony A7Riii.
  • Next up, take a 2-hour drive to the next highlight of your day.

Catch the adrenaline at Skyline Rotorua (2 hours)

Credit: Skyline Rotorua on Facebook

  • For an afternoon of adventure, there are many things to do at Skyline Rotorua!
  • If you love anything fast-paced, you’re going to love riding the luge, ziplining down the Redwood Forest, going downhill mountain biking and screaming your lungs out at Skyswing, a swing that hoists you over Lake Rotorua and you decide when to release the swinging drop!
  • When you’re riding the gondola, check out the beautiful scenery of Lake Rotorua and geothermal vistas.

Day 5: Rotorua

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Visit the Maori village at Whakarewarewa (1.5 hours)

  • If you’re curious about the Maori culture (the indigenous people of New Zealand), head over to Whakarewarewa to see a living Maori village where you can interact with Maori residents.
  • Aside from being a cultural attraction, you’ll get to watch a Maori dance performance and explore the geothermal sites.
  • The village also serves a traditional Hangi dinner where meat and vegetables are cooked in an underground pit. While the kitchen does not serve pork, do note that the chicken and beef are not halal. We recommend that you dine at your discretion.

P.S. You can savour traditional Hangi dinner in South Island too. Check out 10 halal food stops (near top attractions) in New Zealand's South Island

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Appreciate the Maori arts and crafts at Te Puia (1.5 hours)

  • Just a 15-min walk from Whakarewarewa, view the numerous traditional Maori artforms at Te Puia, also known as New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.
  • Admire the intricate Maori carving and weaving pieces as well as spectacular geothermal geysers nearby.

Savour hearty Tunisian cuisine (1 hour)

Credit: @our_family_our_fun on Instagram

  • For a taste of Tunisian cuisine, savour lamb kebab, Arabian pizza, Al-Tunisia pasta and Amazigh rice meal at Ali Baba's Tunisian Cuisine!
  • Address: 1146 Tutanekai St, Rotorua 3010
  • Halal status: Muslim-owned

Experience the natural splendours at Redwoods Treewalk (2 hours)

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

  • Anyone who loves the outdoors will fall head over heels with Redwoods Treewalk, just a 20-min drive from Te Puia.
  • A popular spot for recreational activities, you can see beautiful lakes, panoramic views and exotic native trees (spot the Californian Redwood tree!) in this forest.
  • For short walks, wander the boardwalk of Redwood Memorial Grove Track (30 mins) to see towering Redwood trees and a thermal pond filled with aquatic plant life.
  • Otherwise, the Waitawa Walk (1 hour) will take you through Redwoods to see towering Douglas fir trees. Challenge yourself and see if you can spot New Zealand's famous Silver fern and the massive Mamaku ferns!

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Visit the famous Lake Rotorua (1.5 hours)

  • Since you're around Redwoods, it’d be a shame to skip Lake Rotorua, the second largest lake on the North Island.
  • This lake is more than a scenic spot for pictures. It's a sulphurous lake in a volcanic crater!
  • Besides sitting by the lake to relax and unwind, you can kayak and swim too.

Day 6: Taupo

Say hello to Huka Falls (2 hours)

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

  • You know what would be amazing after a one-hour drive from Taupo? Admiring the Huka Falls that cascades straight from Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river.
  • Besides admiring the waterfall, you can join a river cruise or hop on a jet boat ride for a close-up experience.
  • #HHWT Tip: For the best spot of Huka Falls, go to the footbridge located at the top of the waterfalls.

Find serenity at Lake Taupo (1.5 hours)

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

  • Drive to the iconic Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand! Do you know Lake Taupo is roughly the size of Singapore?
  • Snap lots of photos by the crystal-clear lake and drop by the geothermal hotspots too.

Explore a different world at Craters of the Moon (1.5 hours)

Credit: Brian on Flickr

  • Take a 15-minute drive to Craters of the Moon that is named after the many craters of boiling mud.
  • You’ll be amazed by the natural geothermal activity happening here. Picture clouds of steam and bubbling mud pools at this geothermal spot!
  • Join the Geothermal Walk (45 mins) to explore the pathways and elevated platforms surrounding the crater.
  • Get enough rest because it’s going to be a long drive from Taupo to Wellington (5.5 hours). Otherwise, you can catch a domestic flight from Rotorua to Wellington (1 hour and 10 mins).
  • #HHWT Tip: Remember to schedule rest stops where you can get coffee and snacks. Keep an eye out for scenic lookouts for road trip pictures too!

Day 7: Wellington

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Te Papa Museum (1 hour)

  • See the cultures and histories of New Zealand come to life at the most visited museum in Oceania, Te Papa Museum.
  • Filled with interactive and engaging exhibits, you’ll learn about geology and natural environment, Maori cultural treasures and more.
  • Remember to check out the world’s only Colossal Squid display here too. That’s right, it also inspired Giapo to create The Colossal Squid ice cream!
  • #HHWT Tip: Make the most of your trip by joining their daily tours.

Credit: Andrew Currie on Flickr

Cap it off at Cuba Street (1.5 hours)

  • Round up your trip with a 7-minute drive to Wellington’s popular street.
  • Take a walk and explore this bohemian paradise at Cuba Street filled with independent boutiques, a night market, and a local theatre.
  • Since New Zealand is known for its thriving coffee culture, pick a cafe you love and enjoy a cup of flat white to conclude your afternoon. We’re missing the flat whites we had in New Zealand already!

Day 8: Heading back

Drive to Wellington Airport

  • Start your morning with a 15-minute drive to Wellington Airport.
  • When you arrive at Wellington Airport, park your vehicle at the ‘Car Rental’ carpark and drop the keys at the Budget New Zealand counter (Arrivals Hall).
  • Remember to refuel your vehicle before returning the keys.
  • If you’re early, go crazy and shop for souvenirs at the airport like Kiwi mugs, Manuka honey facial scrub and Maori wood sculpture.

Credit: Tourism New Zealand

You may need more than a week to explore the best of North Island, but we hope this itinerary is enough to make the most of your trip! If you're ready for spectacular landscapes and stunning beaches, it’s time to book your flight to New Zealand with Air New Zealand and enjoy all-in Economy fare from Singapore (starting from SGD988) and Malaysia (starting from RM2,878)! Can’t wait to plan your trip? Find out more about what you can do in New Zealand.

P.S. After conquering North Island, continue your adventure with our 8D7N Muslim-friendly guide to New Zealand's South Island!

This article is brought to you by Tourism New Zealand.