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North IslandNew Zealand

A sub-tropical paradise with pristine beaches, verdant forests and plenty of culture, New Zealand’s North Island is a delightful all-round travel destination.

From its live volcanic interior to its beautiful, empty coastlines and pristine forests, the North Island is a nature-lover’s dream. Choose between spectacular hikes up stunning mountains, adrenaline-fueled activities like skydiving or whitewater rafting or calmer pursuits like spending a day by yourself on a perfect, empty beach.

Auckland and Wellington are the island’s two major cities. They provide everything that the modern culture buff could desire. Visit great galleries, eat international cuisine in superb restaurants and experience the excellent festivals and events throughout the year. Both cities are surrounded by water and offer stunning walks around their respective harbors and coastlines.

You can’t visit New Zealand without leaving the city though; the North Island’s best features are beyond the suburbs. The east coast has endless picture-perfect beaches with pristine white sand draped by pohutukawa trees. Northland and the Coromandel are especially blessed in this regard. On the west coast, surf the world-famous breakers at Raglan or Piha or walk alone for miles on empty black-sand beaches.

The North Island is where Maori culture still thrives. Attend one of the cultural shows and enjoy a hangi feast (pork and vegetables cooked underground) when you visit the volcanic region of Rotorua. For a less staged introduction to Maori life, take a drive around the beautiful East Cape, where many Maori communities have been built.

Because it is a long, thin island, the climate ranges from the “winterless north” to the more unpredictable and damper south, with Wellington particularly famous for its rain and wind in the colder months. Summers are hot and sometimes humid, while autumn can often bring long spells of crisp, dry weather.

A good network of buses will transport you around the major sites, but to really experience the best of the North Island attractions, you should rent your own car. Beautiful beaches, pristine lakes and countless other treasures are waiting to be enjoyed.

Top Hotels in North Island

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
The Grand by SkyCity
The Grand by SkyCity
5 out of 5
90 Federal Street, Auckland
The price is ¥12,485 per night

Located in Auckland Central Business District, this luxury hotel is steps from Sky Tower and SkyCity Casino. Auckland Ferry Terminal and University of Auckland ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (3,212 reviews)

"Bed sheets were clean but had stains. Tv had usb port but remote control would not allow playback. Staff were pleasant and allowed late checkout."…"

Reviewed on Mar 23, 2020

The Grand by SkyCity
Auckland Harbour Suites
Auckland Harbour Suites
3.5 out of 5
16 Gore Street, Auckland
The price is ¥7,706 per night

Located in the heart of Auckland, this apartment building is within walking distance of Britomart Transport Centre, Auckland Ferry Terminal, and Queen Street ...

3.7/5Good! (2,420 reviews)

"Nice view and walking location. Was able to walk to Cruise ship with luggage in tow."…"

Reviewed on Feb 29, 2020

Auckland Harbour Suites
Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
5 out of 5
83 Symonds Street, Box 2771, Auckland
The price is ¥12,501 per night

Located in Newton, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Karangahape Road and Queen Street Shopping District. Auckland City Hospital and The Civic are ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (3,108 reviews)

"Wonderfully friendly and helpful staff. The location was very handy to everything I required."…"

Reviewed on May 23, 2020

Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group

Popular places to visit in North Island

Sky Tower
Image for Sky Tower

Sky Tower

4.5/5(536 reviews)

Enjoy fine dining in a rotating restaurant, dive off the tower on a cable-controlled jump or simply enjoy the views from New Zealand’s tallest tower.

Hobbiton Movie Set
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Hobbiton Movie Set

5/5(60 reviews)

Enjoy a trip to Hobbiton Movie Set, a well-known attraction in Matamata. Discover the area's hot springs and coffeehouses.

Te Papa
Image for Te Papa

Te Papa

4.5/5(160 reviews)

See, smell and touch the exhibits at New Zealand’s hi-tech and interactive free national museum.

Auckland Zoo
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Auckland Zoo

4.5/5(105 reviews)

Encounter rare and endangered species from New Zealand and across the globe, including the pygmy marmoset and the huge white rhino.

Auckland Ferry Terminal
Image for Auckland Ferry Terminal

Auckland Ferry Terminal

4.5/5(446 reviews)

Combining historic architecture with modern facilities, Auckland’s harbourside transport terminal is the place to embark on an adventure or simply sit with a coffee and watch the world go by.

Piha Beach
Image for Piha Beach

Piha Beach

4.5/5(117 reviews)

Clear waters, rolling surf and black sand shores are surrounded by emerald cliffs and sub-tropical rain forest at this remote beach.

Top things to do in North Island

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
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Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

94% of travellers recommend
¥5,867
Per adult
Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Tour
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Tour

Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Tour

90% of travellers recommend
¥30,260
Per adult
Sky Tower Observation Admission Tickets
Image for Sky Tower Observation Admission Tickets

Sky Tower Observation Admission Tickets

88% of travellers recommend
¥1,830
Per adult
Waiheke Explorer Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Image for Waiheke Explorer Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Waiheke Explorer Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

82% of travellers recommend
¥3,065
Per adult
Taste of Waiheke Island Tour
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Taste of Waiheke Island Tour

90% of travellers recommend
¥11,786
Per adult
Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer Half-Day Tour
Image for Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer Half-Day Tour

Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer Half-Day Tour

90% of travellers recommend
¥4,789
Per adult