New Zealand’s North Island, or Te-Ika-a-Maui as it is colloquially known by the Maori people, is a mere 113,729 km². This small island packs a huge punch though thanks to its extreme beauty, natural and geographic wonders and vibrant, fun-loving cities.
From North to South, the North Island is only home to twelve main urban cities, which include Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings, Whanganui, Palmerston North and Wellington. Wellington is the country’s capital and houses 77% of the New Zealand population.
So just what are the must-see cities when discovering the North Island?
Whangarei – Northland
Stretching up from Auckland to the top of the North Island, Northland is a subtropical paradise which is any beach-lovers dream. Take a boat cruise to the Bay of Islands where you can scuba dive, snorkel, swim and fish to your heart’s content. Learn more about the Maori culture at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds too.
Auckland boasts first-world connectivity and vibrancy but is surrounded by nature and adventure. Take a wine and food tour through an exquisite, booming vineyard, or a walking or hiking tour through a natural forest, all of which are a short ferry ride away from the bustling CBD.
Hamilton – Waikato
Lush, green and hilly is what made Hamilton the perfect film location as The Shire in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Its sumptuous beauty and dark, sandy beaches make it a sun-seekers perfect spot. Its pulsating city centre offers great shopping and an even better nightlife.
Rotorua – Bay of Plenty
If it sounds prehistoric, it’s because it almost is. Rotorua boasts many natural geysers, mud baths and hot pools that offer weary travellers a great chance to relax and unwind. It is also rich in Maori culture, which should be explored. Take a trip to the Bay of Plenty for great surfing, swimming and even some laid-back coastal shopping.
At the very bottom of the North Island lies its biggest city, Wellington; a hub of culture, wildlife, shopping, cuisine and nightlife. Make sure you visit New Zealand’s National Museum, Te Papa, walk the waterfront from city to sea, and eat out at one of the cities gastronomic hubs and restaurants.
A short flight away from Sydney, New Zealand’s North Island is packed with beauty and culture and is definitely a destination for the bucket-list. Contact a Travellers Choice agent if you'd like to visit!