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North IslandNew Zealand

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
The Grand by SkyCity
The Grand by SkyCity
5 out of 5
90 Federal Street, Auckland
The price is AU$203 per night

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

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,402 reviews)

"The location and staff are fantastic. Beware the cost of house wines down at the bar though."…"

Reviewed on 6 Aug. 2020

The Grand by SkyCity
Avani Auckland Metropolis Residences
Avani Auckland Metropolis Residences
4.5 out of 5
40 Kitchener Street, Auckland
The price is AU$157 per night

Located in Auckland Central Business District, this luxury apartment building is steps away from High Street and Queen Street Shopping District. University of ...

4.4/5Excellent! (944 reviews)

"We stayed as a family. The check-in was efficient, room immaculate and spacious. Indoor spa and pool great for after a days excursions and beautifully maintained. Clean, modern and excellent kitchen and bathroom facilities. Close to inner city vibe, train and bus stations"…"

Reviewed on 16 Jul. 2020

Avani Auckland Metropolis Residences
SkyCity Hotel
SkyCity Hotel
4.5 out of 5
Corner Victoria and Federal Streets, Auckland
The price is AU$188 per night

Located in Auckland Central Business District, this luxury hotel is steps away from SkyCity Casino, Sky Tower and SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre. Queen Street ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,428 reviews)

"Fabulous friendly hotel right in the middle of it all"…"

Reviewed on 2 Aug. 2020

SkyCity Hotel

Popular places to visit in North Island

Sky Tower
Image for Sky Tower

Sky Tower

4.5/5(1,179 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.

Piha Beach
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Piha Beach

4.5/5(219 reviews)

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

Te Papa
Image for Te Papa

Te Papa

4.5/5(1,004 reviews)

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

Top activities in North Island

Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Tour
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Tour

Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Tour

AU$428
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend
Hobbiton Movie Set/Waitomo Glowworm Caves Day Trip
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set/Waitomo Glowworm Caves Day Trip

Hobbiton Movie Set/Waitomo Glowworm Caves Day Trip

AU$224
Per adult
98% of travellers recommend
Small group Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Auckland
Image for Small group Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Auckland

Small group Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Auckland

AU$289
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Sail Barbary - Eco sailing to the Maori Rock Carvings
Image for Sail Barbary - Eco sailing to the Maori Rock Carvings

Sail Barbary - Eco sailing to the Maori Rock Carvings

AU$39
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
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

AU$45
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Infinity Float Tank Experience for Couples
Image for Infinity Float Tank Experience for Couples

Infinity Float Tank Experience for Couples

AU$70
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend