North IslandNew Zealand

Image for Wellington showing cbd, a city and a high rise building

Visit North Island

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
Grand Millennium Auckland
Grand Millennium Auckland
4.5 out of 5
71 Mayoral Drive, Auckland
¥12,506
per night
Dec 22 - Dec 23

Located in Auckland Central Business District, this hotel is steps from Aotea Centre and Auckland Town Hall. Queen Street Shopping District and Sky Tower are ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (3,357 reviews)

"Location is very convenient. Parking charge of $25 per day for guests is not highlighted when you book and should be part of the accommodation charge"…"

Reviewed on Dec 9, 2019

Grand Millennium Auckland
Jet Park Hotel Auckland Airport
Jet Park Hotel Auckland Airport
4.5 out of 5
63 Westney Road, Mangere
¥9,653
per night
Jan 12 - Jan 13

This family-friendly Mangere hotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Butterfly Creek, Villa Maria Estate and Crater Hill. Otuataua Stonefields ...

4.4/5Excellent! (3,055 reviews)

"I like the accessibility to the airport which is very convenient for my early morning flight."…"

Reviewed on Dec 12, 2019

Jet Park Hotel Auckland Airport
Novotel Auckland Airport
Novotel Auckland Airport
4.5 out of 5
Ray Emery Drive, Mangere
¥15,839
per night
Jan 13 - Jan 14

Situated in Mangere, this luxury hotel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Butterfly Creek and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Villa Maria Estate. Rainbow's End and Otuataua Stonefields ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (3,073 reviews)

"Quiet. Friendly staff. Delicious room service. I loved the shower."…"

Reviewed on Dec 8, 2019

Novotel Auckland Airport

Popular things to do in North Island

Sky Tower
Image for Sky Tower

Sky Tower

4.5/5(482 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.

University of Auckland
Image for University of Auckland
trover photo by Nayika's footprints

University of Auckland

4.5/5(160 reviews)

Walk around the campus of University of Auckland, a top college in Auckland. Discover the area's fascinating museums and shops.

Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World
Image for Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World
trover photo by Neil Peel

Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World

4.5/5(82 reviews)

Take the family to visit the sea creatures you'll find at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and learn why this is a favorite attraction in Orakei. Check out the shops and top-notch restaurants in this walkable area.

Mt. Eden
Image for Mt. Eden

Mt. Eden

4.5/5(177 reviews)

Take a walking trail that visits a volcano crater, a 19th-century prison and the historic buildings of this quaint village.

Te Papa
Image for Te Papa

Te Papa

5/5(147 reviews)

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

Auckland Zoo
Image for Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo

4.5/5(90 reviews)

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

Top activities in North Island

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

¥5,907

Step into the world of Middle-earth, the Shire, and Hobbiton as you head to the movie set where acclaimed director Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved books to life. Find out how this once-sleepy sheep farm was turned into a movie set and take an up-close look at real sets and props.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour
Image for Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour

¥3,868

Venture inside the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and enter a magical world shimmering with thousands of tiny glowworms. After discovering the incredible acoustic properties of the chamber known as the Cathedral, board a boat and glide beneath a dazzling ceiling illuminated by living lights.

Auckland - Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus Ticket
Image for Auckland - Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus Ticket

Auckland - Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus Ticket

¥1,745

Explore Auckland in a day at your own leisure with a 24-hour hop on hop off pass. Climb aboard your Auckland sightseeing bus, cruising through downtown districts and quaint suburbs as you listen to informative commentary about Auckland history and culture from your knowledgeable driver guide.

Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings
Image for Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings

Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings

¥3,210

A daily 1.5 hour scenic cruise. Explore the largest Crater Lake in the world aboard Chris Jolly Outdoors Cruise Cat. Sit back and enjoy the picturesque northern bays of Lake Taupo and learn about Maori mythology as you view the Maori Rock Carvings up close.

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Discovery & Hangi Feast
Image for Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Discovery & Hangi Feast

Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Discovery & Hangi Feast

¥9,073

Experience the authentic Tamaki Maori village nestled in the lush Rotorua forest. Discover the unique culture, customs, and traditions of the Maori people, then feast on a delicious Hangi-cooked meal and witness the traditional Maori war cry, the famous Haka dance.

Piha Beach and Waitakere Ranges Adventure
Image for Piha Beach and Waitakere Ranges Adventure

Piha Beach and Waitakere Ranges Adventure

¥6,402

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Stop At: Arataki - Waitakere Ranges, 300 Scenic Drive, Oratia, Piha, Auckland 0604 New Zealand Arataki Visitor Centre is a gateway to the Waitakere Ranges where you will experience views of the rainforest, harbour and city.