North IslandNew Zealand

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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
Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
5 out of 5
83 Symonds Street, Box 2771, Auckland
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
¥12,410
per night
Mar 15 - Mar 16

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! (3,033 reviews)

"Great location. Very friendly staff and involved leadership to ensure a fantastic experience."…"

Reviewed on Feb 25, 2020

Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
Novotel Auckland Airport
Novotel Auckland Airport
4.5 out of 5
Ray Emery Drive, Mangere
¥15,479
per night
Mar 7 - Mar 8

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! (3,045 reviews)

"The front desk staff were amazing and the airport is just across the street. So convenient. The only issue was the building work in the foyer. Those poor receptionists!"…"

Reviewed on Feb 25, 2020

Novotel Auckland Airport
Oaks Wellington Hotel
Oaks Wellington Hotel
4 out of 5
89 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington
¥9,088
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Located in Te Aro, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Courtenay Place, Cuba Street Mall, and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Michael Fowler Centre ...

4.2/5Excellent! (84 reviews)

"Location was perfect for the waterfront and the local bars and restaurants! Room service was a bit hit or miss and the gym was being used as storage room so staff were in and out a lot."…"

Reviewed on Feb 28, 2020

Oaks Wellington Hotel

Popular things to do in North Island

Sky Tower
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Sky Tower

4.5/5(520 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(59 reviews)

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

Te Papa
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Te Papa

5/5(155 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(103 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
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Auckland Ferry Terminal

4.5/5(431 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
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Piha Beach

4.5/5(114 reviews)

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

Top activities in North Island

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
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Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

94% of travellers recommend
¥5,942
Per adult
Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour
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Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour

84% of travellers recommend
¥3,891
Per adult
Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour
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Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

90% of travellers recommend
¥4,174
Per adult
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

84% of travellers recommend
¥1,769
Per adult
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

88% of travellers recommend
¥3,254
Per adult
Waitomo Caves Adventure from Auckland or Rotorua
Image for Waitomo Caves Adventure from Auckland or Rotorua

Waitomo Caves Adventure from Auckland or Rotorua

¥24,619
Per adult