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North Island

North Island holidays

Introduction

With the modern cities of Auckland and Wellington, and scenery that ranges from rugged coastlines to ancient, immovable kauri forests, spurting geysers and bubbling hot springs, the North Island of New Zealand is an exciting and varied place, quite different from the South Island.

This volatile landscape is also the heartland of Maori culture; the stories and traditions of New Zealand's indigenous people can be experienced throughout the island but they are most prevalent in Northland, East Cape and Rotorua, where a traditional hangi feast is a must for any visitor.

In between are sprawling winelands and scenic sailing spots, golden beaches and remote offshore islands, as well as still-active volcanoes and world-class fishing rivers.

A self-drive tour is one of the best ways to get around the North Island and the relatively short distances between the main sites mean it's possible to fit in much of the island, even if you only have a short amount of time. You can also take your hire car on the Interislander Ferry to the South Island if you decide to continue your New Zealand adventures and complete a circuit of the whole country.

Top itineraries in North Island

Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,190 pp incl. flights

Free Singapore stopover

With boutique hotel stays and car hire included throughout, this curated road trip perfectly showcases the unique cultures and natural wonders of New Zealand's North and South islands.

Cultural Highlights of New Zealand

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,345 pp incl. flights

Free Singapore stopover

A tip-to-toe tour of New Zealand, taking in the best of its landscapes and culture, and calling into filming locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Best of the North Island

17-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,945 pp incl. flights

Free Singapore stopover

Between stunning volcanic landscapes, sub-tropical beaches and world-class wineries, this fly-drive holiday showcases the best of New Zealand's North Island.

New Zealand by Motorhome

20-day motorhome self-drive from £3,515 pp incl. flights

Free Singapore stopover

From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.

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Top places to stay in North Island

Solitaire Lodge, Rotorua, New Zealand

Small & intimate lodge

Originally built in 1980 as a luxury fishing lodge, Solitaire Lodge enjoys commanding views over beautiful Lake Tarawera and offers guests a stylish and relaxing base from which to explore.

Treetops Lodge and Estate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Small & intimate lodge

Set amidst a beautiful forest just outside the town of Rotorua, just two hours drive from Auckland on New Zealand's picturesque North Island, Treetops Lodge and Estate is a haven of peace and tranquility, surrounded by sparkling streams and 800 year old trees.

Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island

Small & intimate lodge

Just 35 minutes from Auckland in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, Delamore Lodge on beautiful Waiheke Island offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in one of the North Island's most picturesque locations.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

Small & intimate lodge

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is set amid 6,000 acres of rolling countryside in New Zealand's picturesque Hawke's Bay, one of the country's most important wine producing regions.

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Where to go in North Island

Rotorua, Taupo & Coromandel

Dramatic volcanic landscapes and Maori culture are the key reasons to visit the North Island's central thermal region. Rotorua offers geysers and hot springs, while sacred Mount Ruapehu, trout-filled Lake Taupo and the surging Huka Falls nearby provide more essential New Zealand experiences.

Napier & Hawke's Bay

Napier and Hawke's Bay are popular for their rolling pastures and fertile vineyards and you could easily spend your entire New Zealand holiday enjoying the attractions of this one region alone.

Auckland

You're never far from the water in Auckland, a city that has more recreational boats per capita than any other city in the world, earning it the name the ‘City of Sails'.

Northland & Bay of Islands

The waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet at Cape Reinga, mainland New Zealand's northernmost point.

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When to go to North Island

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The North Island can be visited year-round although most people arrive in the summer (December to March) when the weather is at its warmest. If you’re planning a Christmas break then book early as hotels in the most popular spots fill up fast. October, November and March are mild, while winter brings more rainfall to lower lying regions. Head for the hills, however, and there’s some decent skiing to be had at Mt. Ruapehu near Taupo.

See regional weather

North Island articles

  • New Zealand’s Top 7 Wilderness Highlights

    From the subtropical Bay of Islands to the glaciers and mountains of the south, here we look at New Zealand's most spellbinding landscapes and how to explore them.

  • Silversea: Seven cruises, seven continents

    Wexas cruise specialist Tim Tan picks out his seven favourite Silversea sailings for the coming months, one from each continent.

  • Top 10 things to do in New Zealand

    The land of mountains, Maori and winelands offers possibilities on an endless scale. That's why we've collated this list of the top 10 things to do in New Zealand, curated by our specialists, to help you get the most out of your trip.

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Meet our North Island experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0614 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 45 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Wexas Travel App
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected