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Kiwi towns

New Zealand pretty as a picture NZ, 10 North Island small towns

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Picturesque kiwi towns places to go

Ten pretty as a picture, beautiful small kiwi towns in the North Island, New Zealand worth a detour. Or in the case of Taupo, it is one of New Zealand’s top sights for visitors. Edwardian grandeur in Fielding or Russell’s 19th century glamour. Then there is the iconic gumboot in Taihape and Mt Maunganui where the beach competes with the town in the gorgeous stakes. Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the kiwi towns check Kiwi Towns for nearby attractions and events.

Duke of Marlborough Russell, New Zealand
Duke of Marlborough, Russell

Pretty as a picture Russell, Northland is a top drawcard for visitors to New Zealand. The curving Kororareka bay with mature pohutukawa trees, a 19th century canon, a busy jetty bustling with visitors intent on exploring the Bay of Islands is an idyllic setting. The main street fronting the harbour has the glorious ornate splendor of the Duke of Marlborough hotel and Pompallier Print. The first European settlement has a colourful history adding to the charm. Russell offers visitors a chance to explore the beginnings of modern Aotearoa New Zealand history and walk in the footsteps of Maori chiefs, missionaries and whalers. The town is easily accessible by passenger and vehicle ferries from Pahia and Waitangi. Learn more about Russell, Bay of Islands things to do.


Grab an opportunity to visit a town overlooked by many visitors. The riverside precinct with its marina, the sculpture Hatea trail, the galleries and bustling cafes is a great place to relax in a balmy sub-tropical climate. The flourishing art scene adds flair to stunning gardens and parks. There are great short walks with panoramic views of the city and harbour a short distance away… learn more about Things to do in Whangarei § Attraction, Activities, & Magical Places.

Whangarei The Hub heritage centre, New Zealand
Whangarei The Hub heritage centre
Taihape, New Zealand

Discover a town with more to its name than a great coffee stop on State Highway one, North Island, New Zealand. The major attraction, an enormous corrugated iron gumboot is eye-catching. Nothing like upscaling a functional farm gumboot to distinguish a rural agricultural service town from its neighbours. Taihape is home of the annual Gumboot Day, first celebrated on 9 April 1985.  The town’s prosperity as a service centre is reflected in the large commercial buildings on the side streets radiating from the main street. Today the focus is visitors intent on enjoying the walks, trails and rafting the Rangitikei River. The natural valley location of the high country town is adds to the attractive townscape.


Unwrap a scenic corner of Auckland, New Zealand where the places to go lie between surging ocean beaches to a tranquil estuary harbour, a sand spit, dramatic dunes and vibrant village community. Mangawhai is where rural lifestyle living meets urban vibe creating a favoured holiday destination for Auckland residents. Ceramics, painting, sculpture, foodie treats such as Bennetts Chocolates and local wineries add depth and favour for visitors … learn more Mangawhai Heads 10 things to do.

A view along the coastline of the pacific ocean from the famous mangawhai heads walk in northland new zealand1
A view from the Mangawhai Heads walk
Raglan Te Kopua Estuary Beach high tide, New Zealand
Raglan Te Kopua Estuary Beach high tide

Have you got a surfboard bolted to your vehicle? Raglan, Waikato, New Zealand is a seaside village with a surf culture overlaid with arty crafty energy. Raglan is the place to go for city visitors from either Auckland and Hamilton. Visitors relish the beach culture and are often spotted spending the weekend in Raglan soaking up the holiday vibe. The town has a main street with a centre strip full of colour and a number of vintage buildings gives the town a pleasant outlook. Shops with fluttering beachwear, surfboard sales and artists all add to an atmosphere of wanderlust. Learn more Raglan travel guide, best activities, things to do & see.


Lake Taupo is staggeringly beautiful with streams, creeks and roaring rivers contributing to the scenery.  Taupo, New Zealand is an attractive resort town where the outdoors is woven into the charm of the district. Undoubtedly the strip mall effect of motels, hotels and accommodation providers can be off putting yet the powerful drawcard of the lake, the beauty of the surrounding hills softens the obviously commercial aspects of the hospitality trade. The town buzzes with tourists in the peak summer season yet the wide open spaces and the sheer breadth of attractions and things to do weaves its magic. The town and district is entrancing, nature in all its glory … learn more Things to do in Taupo – Attractions, Activities, & Adventures.

Lake Taupo Sunset, New Zealand
Lake Taupo Sunset
Feilding town clock, Wellington, New Zealand
Feilding town clock

Pretty as a picture. The town is a peacock for the Edwardian gilded age with its delightful red bricked pavements, sharply ordered public flowerbeds and detailed elegance. You would not look out of place wearing gloves to visit the local shops. New Zealand moments have slipped into the English architectural style with the very large, functional and busy weekly (animal) stock sales held in the saleyards only a 100 metres from the main street. The town is supported by a prosperous rural sector earning the town the reputation of ‘Friendly Feilding’.


Visit on Friday and book a guided tour of the Saleyards – fascinating (gloves optional).


Discover a town where the beach is perhaps better known than the actual town. Mt Maunganui beach and its harbour companion Pilot beach are TV celebrities with the drama of lifeguard rescues and storylines of visitors and locals hanging out on the swathe of beautiful gold sand stretching for kilometres around the bay. Mt Maunganui is a jewel focused on the beach, the promenade with its shops and nearby summit for its spectacular views. Attractions include an iconic salt water pool, superb shopping precinct adjacent to the beach and a relaxed summer holiday culture… learn more Mount Maunganui, activities, events, attractions – Best Bits.

Mount Maunganui beach panorama, New Zealand
Mount Maunganui
Art Deco street light Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Art Deco street light Napier

Delve into the layers of Napier architectural beauty and discover the story of a massive earthquake. Napier, New Zealand with its promenade of Norfolk pines gracing the foreshore, the sunken gardens and water themed attractions is a heady introduction to the attractive intact art deco loveliness of Napier. Learn more about the Hawke’s Bay and Things to do in Napier Attractions, Activities & Places to Visit.


Victorian splendor smack bang in the middle of a boutique wine district and you have the makings of a pretty as a postcard town. Martinborough, New Zealand is blessed with ornate timber framed main street, a central park designed in the form of the Union Jack (UK flag) and vineyards that actually run into the main street. Together with fascinating rural walks to geological oddities, a lighthouse and the chance for a leisurely stroll to a winery for brunch Martinborough is a local favourite for nearby Wellingtonians. Definitely a place where checking into the Martinborough Hotel is a must-do. Learn more 10 things to do in Martinborough, trip guide, what to see.

Martinborough Hotel and main street, New Zealand
Martinborough Hotel and main street


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