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North Island

North Island Highlights

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest urban area with a population of just over a million people. Historically, it has been the main point of arrival for visitors to New Zealand, although in recent years, new gateways have opened. It is not, however, the capital, although it was at one time, until the capital moved to Wellington.

Auckland is the centre of commerce and industry, and is perhaps the most vibrant, bustling and multicultural city in New Zealand. Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in the world, and this cultural influence is reflected in many different aspects of city life.

The city’s landscape is dominated by volcanic hills, the twin harbours, bays, beaches and islands. Its nickname ‘the city of sails’ is very apt. Auckland has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Auckland is still the main gateway to New Zealand and a starting point from which to explore New Zealand’s North Island.

The North Island offers a wide range of experiences for the visitor and a well-planned itinerary is essential to getting the best from this great region of the world.

The North Island is less mountainous than the South, but is marked by volcanism. The tallest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2797 m/9176 ft), is an active cone volcano. The North Island can be divided into its regions as follows:

  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Coromandel
  • Rotorua
  • Waitato
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Eastland
  • Taranki
  • Ruapehu
  • Lake Taupo
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Manawatu – Wanganui
  • Wellington
  • Wairarapu


Click the thumbnails to see larger images

A note about Wellington

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand/Aotearoa. Two aspects of the city that will immediately strike any visitor are the sprawling harbour and the dramatic, hilly terrain.

Wellington is a vibrant, scenic, windy, cosmopolitan, diverse, eccentric, maddening and hilarious place. It has the some of the best museums, art galleries, restaurants, microbreweries, and coffee houses in the country. It is the storehouse for the nation’s historic, cultural and artistic treasures. Being the first place European settlers arrived, it also boasts lots of historic streets and buildings.