North Island holidays
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
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.
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.
Between stunning volcanic landscapes, sub-tropical beaches and world-class wineries, this fly-drive holiday showcases the best of New Zealand's North Island.
Top places to stay in North Island
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.
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.
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.
Where to go in North Island
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 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.
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'.
When to go to North Island
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.
North Island articles
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.
Meet our North Island experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614Meet the team