North Island of New Zealand

The North Island of New Zealand is the most densely populated of two main islands. The city of Auckland in the north is by far the largest city in New Zealand and our capital Wellington sits on the south coast.

People are quick to classify the North Island as less visually stunning to the South, but this is a large generalisation that does not always hold true. Discover black, white and golden sand beaches in the subtropical the Far North, climb volcanoes with breath-taking views and geothermal landscapes in the central regions and enjoy the vineyards of Hawkes Bay and Martinborough further South.

What to see and do in North Island of New Zealand?

Must do's include: Tongariro Crossing one day trek, early New Zealand history at Waitangi, a visit to “the coolest little capital in the world” Wellington, and an escape to Kapiti Island to view native birdlife.

Read our travel articles below to learn more about our first-hand experiences travelling in the North Island and plan your itinerary.

Get Inspired

  • Twin Coast Cycle Trail

    The "Twin Coast Cycle Trail" is 87km long and crosses Northland from Opua to Hokianga Harbour. It can be divided in 4 sections and ridden in both directions. Due to its sub-tropical climate, it is available all year round and suitable for most riders as it is mostly flat with gentle climbs.

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  • The Timber Trail

    Timber Trail is nestled in Pureora Forest, between Lake Taupo and Te Kuiti, in the Central North Island. Begin your journey at Pureora Village in the north, ending at Ongarue in the south. Experience the full grandeur of the forest, open to cyclists and walkers alike.

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  • Gannets in Cape Kidnapper

    10 Best Spots in New Zealand for Wildlife Lovers

    New Zealand isn’t particularly well known overseas for its wildlife but there are a wide variety of species to see. The animal life that you can find in the North and South islands is quite different so if you’re a big nature lover we recommend exploring them both.

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  • 4 Geothermal Hotspots Not to Miss in Rotorua

    Rotorua is the most visited city in the country, so we tend to recommend you avoid some of the geothermal areas closest to the city itself, and instead focus on those further south between Rotorua and Taupo...

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  • Whareama Coastal Walk

    Whareama Coastal Walk

    The Whareama Coastal Walk is a fantastic 2 or 3 day fully catered New Zealand walking experience over private farmland and isolated Wairarapa coastline on the East Coast of the North Island.

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  • Forgotten World Rail Trail

    The Forgotten World Rail Trail Adventure

    Nestled within the deep hidden valleys of New Zealand’s Forgotten World Highway is the ultimate way to explore rural New Zealand. Travel along decommissioned railway lines, through tunnels, over bridges and rivers and to townships that time forgot.

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  • Before jumping - final check!

    Bungy Jumping from Auckland Harbour Bridge

    If you are not able to reach the remote places where you can experiment bungy jumping in New Zealand, then Auckland's Harbour Bridge is here waiting for you.

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  • A Lifetime Challenge - Skydiving

    In life you should never say never… and yet I did, “I will never ever go skydiving!”

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  • Kawau Beach House

    An Escape from Auckland City: Kawau Island

    Let yourself be tempted by Kawau Island, a unique island utopia not far from Auckland.

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  • Walking Cape Brett: From Bush to Sea

    New Zealand has a few walks which for some reason “fly under the radar”. And yet, once you have walked them, you can’t help but wonder why. Cape Brett belongs to this category.

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  • Auckland Sea Planes Scenic Flight over Rangitoto

    Even though I call Auckland home this scenic flight truly blew me away. It’s the perfect option for anyone who is a little short on time and it allows you to see Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf in a way that no one else is able to, from both the harbour and the air.

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  • Waitomo Caves: A More Personal Approach

    At Once Upon A Trip we know you want authenticity when you travel - so we were thrilled to come across a small family-run business, Cave World, that are able to give you a much more intimate, personalised visit to Waitomo's infamous glowworm caves.

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  • Kayaking in Cathedral Cove

    If you've been wanting to kayak in North Island, think about the Coromandel, and in particular about Cathedral Cove - it is a fantastic spot and one of the few places where children can kayak too.

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  • Auckland Whale and Dolphin Watching

    The most popular place for whale watching in New Zealand is Kaikoura but we would like to venture that an even better one is the city where most travellers arrive: Auckland. Laura explains why.

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  • A Scenic Flight Above Tongariro National Park

    An amazing scenic flight, great as an alternative or to complement the Tongariro Crossing day walk.

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  • The Whanganui River Canoe Trip

    Laura and I set off one long weekend to try out the only one of New Zealand's 9 "Great Walks" that is done in canoes or kayaks; the Whanganui River Journey.

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  • America’s Cup Sailing in Auckland

    In September I decided to try out the adventure of sailing on one of the former America’s Cup yachts in Auckland. NZ was the first country to be able to wrestle the cup out of the Americans hands and it is a feat that is very proudly regarded here.

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  • Red Pohutukawa on the beach

    Kiwi Spotting Day Tours from Auckland

    Just an hour north of Auckland is a special opportunity to spot kiwis in their natural environment. Pam and Tristan from Habitat Tours got in contact with our team in October 2014, to explain their idea of proposing kiwi spotting tours and we jumped on this incredible experience.

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  • Discovering Kapiti Island Tours

    Kapiti Island Tours is an experience that falls into many of the New Zealand categories that we choose to highlight including Maori culture, wildlife and private conservation initiatives.

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  • The Tongariro Crossing

    The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered to be the most stunning day walk in New Zealand. Here is our guide to the best way to do it.

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  • Walking the Kaipara Track

    Situated north of Auckland, the Kaipara Track offers walkers of all levels a fantastic experience with great accommodation along the way

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Releated Itineraries

  • 9 Day North Island Family Holiday in New Zealand

    9 Day North Island Family Holiday in New Zealand

    9 Days

    This 9 day kiwi adventure is great for families – especially with children from 8 years and up as this means everyone can take part in the activities we have chosen.

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