View Map

Overview

The North Island is New Zealand's volcanic heartland, its ragged mountains sporting lava lakes and the odd smoking cone. A highlight is the blasted landscape of Tongariro National Park, which can be traversed via sensational walks that include the Tongariro Crossing, arguably the country's best one-day hike. The intense subterranean activity sustains the thermal springs and geysers that have made Rotorua the island's number one attraction, though visitors have to endure the stench of sulphur while enjoying a steaming spa. The North Island is not all volcanoes, however. In the north is the desolate Aupouri Peninsula and eastwards are the ...

The North Island is New Zealand's volcanic heartland, its ragged mountains sporting lava lakes and the odd smoking cone. A highlight is the blasted landscape of Tongariro National Park, which can be traversed via sensational walks that include the Tongariro Crossing, arguably the country's best one-day hike. The intense subterranean activity sustains the thermal springs and geysers that have made Rotorua the island's number one attraction, though visitors have to endure the stench of sulphur while enjoying a steaming spa. The North Island is not all volcanoes, however. In the north is the desolate Aupouri Peninsula and eastwards are the little-visited forests of East Cape, while Auckland and the sparkling Bay of Islands allow locals to hone their world-famous sailing skills. The island is also a treasure chest of Maori culture. Waitangi National Reserve has an extraordinary, hand-carved whare runanga (meeting house), traditional concerts are performed in Rotorua, and Wellington's Te Papa museum showcases fascinating Maori history.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

view full overview

Paul Smitz for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Now Happening in New Zealand's North Island

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in the South Pacific. The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, the other being the South Island.
  • Language: English, Maori, NZ Sign Language
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The warmer months from November to April