With the modern cities of Auckland and Wellington, and scenery that ranges from rugged coastlines and ancient kauri forests to spurting geysers and bubbling hot springs, New Zealand's North Island is as exciting as it is varied. Discover ancient Maori culture, relax on golden beaches and explore some of the country's most spectacular hiking routes. And, It's all washed down with an abundance of world-class food and wine. Speak to our destination specialists, who'll use their expert knowledge of the country to plan your perfect New Zealand holiday.
Having first made land here, 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.
Rotorua's geothermal pools
A spectacular natural world
In the far north, the sun-filled Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s top tourist draws, an area of beautiful sandy beaches and calm waters ideal for sailing and swimming. And, the coastal delights continue in the Coromandel Peninsula, where bubbling volcanic beaches are framed by spectacular coves and caves. Meanwhile, in geothermal Rotorua, impressive geysers, natural hot springs and bubbling mud pools form an otherworldly landscape, one which continues as you head south through Taupo and to the magnificent Tongariro Crossing – one of New Zealand's most famous walks.
The Tongariro Crossing
Cities & towns full of charm
With a population just shy of 1.7 million, Auckland is by far New Zealand's largest city. But, despite its size, it's still packed full of charm, not least in neighbourhoods such as Ponsonby and Parnell, where hipster locals congregate in trendy cafes and uber-hip restaurants, and weekend markets sell artisan trinkets to backdrop of spectacular street art. And, you’re never far from the water. Indeed, this is a city that has more recreational boats per capita than any other in the world, earning it the title, ‘City of Sails’. Then, over on the east coast in picturesque region of Hawke's Bay, Art Deco Napier is home to a delightful collection of low-rise 1930s architecture as well as some of New Zealand’s oldest wineries that trace their roots back to the French missionaries. And let's not forget the ever-so-compact capital, Wellington, where some of the country's finest museums, galleries and theatres are centred on a gorgeous harbour.
Wellington, New Zealand
Stunning self-drive adventures
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. Starting in Auckland, head north to the Bay of Islands and the kauri forests of Waipoua and Whangarei, then hit the Thermal Explorer Highway to visit the geysers and mud pools of Rotorua en route to Napier. Pausing to sample the wines of Hawke’s Bay, head southwest to explore the compact, cosmopolitan capital Wellington. From there you can also take your hire car on the Interislander Ferry to the South Island to continue your New Zealand adventures and complete a circuit of the whole country.