1. Bay of Islands
Well, it’s called the ‘winterless north’, but if you are seeking hot temperatures then Bay of Islands is the best place to go. Temperatures can pass 30C. Indeed, there are some beaches to sunbathe on but out on the water is where you want to be to cruise around the 144 islands, home to many fascinating bird species, and go swimming with dolphins.
From December to January is the renowned Festival of Lights. This is a music festival with some epic light displays around the town’s parks. Along the Coastal Walkway are a number of beaches for excellent surf breaks. Summer is also the best and safest time to climb Mt Taranaki. Find out more about New Plymouth and the Taranaki region in: Taranaki Guide for Backpackers.
On the East Cape, this is the 1st city in the world to see the sunrise. In turn, that means the 1st city to see the New Year! Celebrate the New Year in Gisborne with the epic Rhythm & Vines Festival a 3-day music event with international, national and local acts. Find out where else you can enjoy New Year’s Eve in 10 NYE Events in New Zealand You Can’t Miss!
4. Mt Maunganui
The seaside resort, on a thin arm of land, is a top summer holiday destination for locals and backpackers. With long stretches of white-sand beaches on either side of the arm, its ideal for beach bums. The town has a pretty hectic New Year’s Eve also with entertainment in the streets, on the beach, and, of course, fireworks. For more things to do, check out Tauranga and Mt Maunganui Guide for Backpackers.
5. Waiheke Island
A quick ferry ride from Auckland brings you to the beautiful Waiheke Island. Do a beach crawl and a vineyard crawl by hiring a bike, kayak or scooter. More New Year’s celebrations happen here with Decks on the Beach.