What can you do and see here that you can’t do in the South Island, or anywhere else on the planet, for that matter? Here’s what we love about the New Zealand’s North Island and what people tell us makes it so much fun:
All New Zealand’s volcanoes are in the North Island. You can visit an active one, hike on one, climb one and spend the night in comfort sleeping in the shadow of one. The city of Auckland is even built on a cone of extinct volcanoes! Volcanoes above ground means boiling mud and shooting geysers under it, all our geothermal areas are in the North.
The North Island is the centre of the universe for Maori culture. The main cultural centres are all in the North, there are maraes and even living Maori villages you can visit easily, plus some really amazing places like the Hokianga harbour where the first humans landed to discover the last major landmass on earth.
If you ask most Kiwis what their memories of summer holidays as kids are and they’ll say something about playing cricket and wearing jandals on the beach. Kiwi parents will remember cars filled with sand on the way back from the beach! As New Zealand is upside down (hottest bits in the north, coldest bits in the south) all our best beaches are in the North Island.
Yes, New Zealand has cities too and our best are in the North. Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’ was ranked the 3rd in the world in the 2016 Global Quality of Living List and Wellington has been dubbed ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet. Or how about Napier, a wee gem of a city just a little off the beaten track, blessed with sunny weather, friendly locals, great wine and an architectural style of their own.
Birthplace of the Nation
The story of how New Zealand came to be is unique, the joining of the Maori and European worlds. From a historical perspective, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was ground breaking. So was the first instance in the world of an indigenous people gifting land to a colonising government, this is how Tongariro National Park came to be.
So roll all this up and here’s what we’ve come up with as our best New Zealand North Island Itinerary. Cut and dice this as you like, it makes for a comprehensive ‘best of the North Island’ itinerary, a short fun filled Northland itinerary, or from Auckland south a cultural, volcanic and culinary theme to your trip.