I will travel to the North Island for 2 weeks end of Feb. I will have a car so getting around is not a problem. I was just wondering if there are places you recommend going to, maybe places that are not well known but worth visiting, places where you can learn more about Maori culture and that are not flooded by tourists... or even places, that ARE typical tourist places but should still be visited...
Thanks for your help!
Check out Orakei-Korako if you can--it's a thermal area somewhere between Hamilton and Rotorua (sorry, but it's been over ten years since I was there, so I can't remember it's exact location). You drive down into the Hidden Valley, and then take a boat across a lake to see the thermal spots. It was really cool when I was there, and a bit off the beaten track, so it wasn't nearly as touristy as the stuff around Rotorua.
If you want a really relaxing time, and maybe want to do a bit of surfing, check out Raglan, and the Raglan Surf School (west of Hamilton). They have a bit of a hostel there too, and I had a fantastic time when I was there two years ago.
The Wellington area is beautiful (I'm a bit partial too that part of the country as I lived just north of Wellington, in Porirua, for a year). There's a fantastic museum there, some great parks, and a few beaches...
I've heard that everything north of Auckland is amazing--I never made it up that way, but Bay of Islands is supposed to be fantastic.
These are just a few things off the top of my head--there's also the East Cape area, and the Bay of Plenty, and the Corromandel Penninsula... I'm happy to answer any other questions the best I can!