North IslandNew Zealand

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Sun-drenched beaches, volcanic activity and rich Māori culture make New Zealand’s northern island one of the most visited destinations in the Pacific.

The more densely populated of the country’s two main islands, the North Island of New Zealand is home to some 3.5 million residents spread out across 12 major metropolitan regions. While the guidebooks may be dominated with images of the South Island’s towering mountains and fjords, it’s on the North Island that you’ll find New Zealand’s often-overlooked beaches, bubbling geothermic activity and rich Māori culture. Rent a car to explore the coastal towns and rural villages of the island or base yourself in one of the North Island’s major cities for a cosmopolitan experience.

Visit Auckland, the bustling capital of New Zealand, to discover Kiwi culture. Sample local produce and some of the country’s famous wines at a restaurant. Visit one of the many museums and galleries found throughout the city. New Zealand’s unique position in the Pacific means the Auckland’s top restaurants have access to an outstanding standard of seafood.

In the south of the island you’ll find New Zealand’s “cultural capital”, Wellington. Visit a fashionable café to see why New Zealand baristas have a global reputation for making some of the best coffee in the world.

In both cities you’ll find rich enclaves of Māori culture but the most populated region for New Zealand’s indigenous people is in the northeast. Visit the East Cape to try local food and to take part in traditional dances.

Bubbling beneath the surface of the North Island is something very exciting. The geothermic activity of the island is responsible for a series of hot springs and an active volcano that attract visitors from around the world. Venture deep into the forest of Great Barrier Island to discover a naturally heated pool and indulge at Te Aroha in a resort-style hot spring. You don’t have to get wet to experience the Earth’s activity. Fly above the bulbous summit of Mount Tarawera and look down into its crater. In winter, ski down the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano in the south of the island.

New Zealand’s pristine beaches are remarkably free of people, even in summer. Enjoy stretches of idyllic sand and shallow water as far as the eye can see in Northland, or bring your surfboard to tackle the wild swells of the west coast.

Fly to the North Island via Auckland or Wellington, both of which have major international airports. Once on the island, navigate the cities using public transport or explore farther afield with a rental car. A network of trains and buses also service the island.

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
AU$219
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

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! (3,037 reviews)

"Quick fast service the rooms are huge, staff are so friendly and great overall service."…"

Reviewed on 23 Feb. 2020

Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
Novotel Auckland Airport
Novotel Auckland Airport
4.5 out of 5
Ray Emery Drive, Mangere
AU$295
per night
Mar 20 - Mar 21

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! (3,046 reviews)

"Very adequate airport hotel, no problems for an overnight stay, no breakfast"…"

Reviewed on 17 Feb. 2020

Novotel Auckland Airport
Oaks Wellington Hotel
Oaks Wellington Hotel
4 out of 5
89 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington
AU$144
per night
Mar 22 - Mar 23

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 ...

4.3/5Excellent! (81 reviews)

"Hotel feels pretty utilitarian, with very boring decor. Room itself was nice although an odd shape. Nice breakfast."…"

Reviewed on 23 Feb. 2020

Oaks Wellington Hotel

Popular activities in North Island

Sky Tower
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Sky Tower

4.5/5(1,138 reviews)

Gaze at the view across Auckland from the top of New Zealand’s tallest tower while dining in a rotating restaurant, or take a dive in a cable-controlled jump.

Te Papa
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Te Papa

4.5/5(969 reviews)

Get hands on as you learn about the heritage of these islands at New Zealand's free national museum.

Auckland Zoo
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Auckland Zoo

4.5/5(328 reviews)

The pygmy marmoset and the massive white rhino are among the rare wildlife you’ll find here, along with species from across New Zealand and beyond.

Auckland Ferry Terminal
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Auckland Ferry Terminal

4/5(901 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(212 reviews)

A remote and idyllic beach where striking emerald cliffs and lush rainforests meet black sandy shores and clear blue waters.

Cathedral Cove
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Cathedral Cove

4.5/5(150 reviews)

Enter the white sand beach through a natural rock archway, the perfect frame for your photos of the rocky islands and clear waters of this marine reserve.  

Top activities in North Island

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
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Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

94% of travellers recommend
AU$81
Per adult
Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour
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Waitomo Glowworm Caves Boat Tour

86% of travellers recommend
AU$53
Per adult
Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour
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Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

90% of travellers recommend
AU$57
Per adult
Auckland - Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus Ticket
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Auckland - Hop-On Hop-Off Explorer Bus Ticket

84% of travellers recommend
AU$24
Per adult
Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings
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Lake Taupo Scenic Cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings

88% of travellers recommend
AU$44
Per adult
Infinity Float Tank Experience for Couples
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Infinity Float Tank Experience for Couples

AU$73
Per adult