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The North Island of New Zealand

The North Island has a warm climate and contains nearly all of the country's volcanoes and volcanic landscapes. The island has great beaches and is a hilly island with one major chain of mountains that span the bottom half of the island. The North Island has large tracts and pockets of temperate rainforest where ferns and large trees exist together. The two biggest cities in the country are located here. Auckland the largest city lies in the north while Wellington the capital is located on the southern coastline. The regions of the North Island are as follows:


Spirits Bay Northland

To the north is Northland which lies in the sub-tropical zone. There are many superb beaches and coves in the region the most famous being the Ninety Mile Beach. Northland's west coast contains New Zealand's best preserved Kauri forests, which rate amongst the biggest and oldest trees in the world. The famous Bay of Islands is also located here. Read more


Auckland City

Further south lies the Auckland region which contains New Zealands largest city aptly named Auckland. Auckland city is home to about one third of the country's population. The Auckland region also has superb beaches and great bush walks. The landscape is dotted with many extinct volcanic cones that rise up from the surrounding plains. Read more



Next is the Waikato Region which is the richest dairy region in the world due to its temperate climate, volcanic soil, lush green grass, and millions of cows. Waikato is also home to Raglan a popular surfing destination and Waitomo Caves - a major tourist attraction. The biggest city, Hamilton is New Zealand's biggest inland city. Read more


Cathedral Cove Coromandel

The Coromandel Peninsula lies to the south east of Auckland and is a popular escape for many Aucklanders. At the northern end of the peninsula you can look across the water and see Auckland in the distance. The landscape is dominated by extinct volcanoes which are covered in temperate rain forest. Famous for mining, the real gems are lots of beautiful beaches including a thermal beach. Read more

Bay of Plenty

Inferno Crater

Further East is the Bay of Plenty region which is the main area for thermal attractions. The town of Rotorua which is New Zealands most popular tourist destination is conveniently situated near many volcanic attractions. There are also good beaches to the north with the most famous being located in the popular town of Tauranga. Read more


Mt Ruapehu

Just below the Bay of Plenty is the Taupo Region which is also a volcanic zone. Most of the country's volcanoes are situated here. The region also has the biggest lake in the country called Lake Taupo which is world famous for its trout fishing and infamous for being one of the world'ssuper-volcanoes. Most of the North Island's ski fields are located on nearby Mt Ruapehu the highest volcano in New Zealand. Read more


East Coast

On the east coast you will find Gisborne. This region was the first part of New Zealand that Europeans set foot on, ironically it remains one of the most isolated areas of the North Island today. Rugged terrain and great beaches coupled with the hottest summers in the North Island make this region a popular summer destination. Even the biggest city here, Gisborne, is famous for its superb beaches. Read more

Hawkes Bay


The Hawkes Bay Region further south also enjoys a warm climate. The town of Napier has the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world as the town was completely rebuilt during the 1930s due to a devastating earthquake. Today, the city is in a class of its own and offers fine antiques, great cafes, along side a rugged coastline with a marine park & aquarium. Read more


Mt Taranaki

On the west coast is the Taranaki Region which is dominated by Mt Taranaki a huge conical shaped volcano The nearby coastline is famous for its rugged surf and black sand due to iron deposits from volcanic eruptions. New Plymouth is the main city here and the surrounding area contains some of the richest farmland in New Zealand. Read more


Palmerston North

Further south lies the Manawatu Region which consists mainly of small towns, farms, and one city named Palmerston North. This region offers superb areas for hiking amongst dense temperate rainforest and apline regions in the Tararua Mountains. The Manawatu Gorge is also a great place to visit with access to the Wairarapa Region through the mountains. Read more



The Wairarapa Region on the east coast enjoys a warm dry climate and is a major wine producing area. This region is mainly rural, but has some large towns including: Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Featherston. There are some nice beaches here, such as Castlepoint and Riversdale, as well as some scenic coastline at Palliser Bay. Read more



At the bottom of the North Island is the Wellington region which is the location for New Zealands capital city. The city surrounds the most spectacular harbour in New Zealand. South of Wellington is the Cook Strait where whales, dolphins, and seals can be seen. The Interisland ferry transports passengers between both islands of New Zealand on this strait. Read more

Why you should visit the South Island

New Zealand Cities Travel Guide

Author & photographer: David Johnson (Virtual Oceania)



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