New Zealand’s North Island may be the smaller of the two main islands, but that certainly does not make it lesser. The diminutive North Island is home to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, and Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. The island’s more northern location contributes to a warmer, more congenial climate and translates to a larger, more diverse population than the colder southern island.
A Maori myth tells the tale of Ma-ui, the demi-god responsible for the creation of the North and South Islands. According to the myth, the South Island was the Ma-ui’s canoe. One day, Ma-ui and his brothers were fishing when he pulled an enormous fish from the sea. His brothers fought over the fish and chopped it up. When Ma-ui saw what they had done, he flung it back into the sea and it became the North Island, and their hack marks became the mountains and valleys. The Maori name for the North Island is Te Ika-a-Ma-ui, or, The Fish of Ma-ui.
The mountains and valleys are only part of the lush locales you will encounter on North Island. From the rolling farmlands of Waikato to the rugged mountain ranges of Coromandel, from the lush, sub-tropical forests and picturesque lakes of the island’s center to the beautiful, fruitful vineyards of the east coast, North Island offers something for everyone.
There are many different regions on the North Island, ranging from the busy cities of Auckland and Wellington to the untamed and unspoiled beauty of Ruapehu’s national parks. Each region has highlights that make it worth visiting, and make it difficult to choose only one or two places to visit on a trip through the beautiful island.
Northland is a subtropical paradise of unspoiled beaches. Native culture is alive and thriving in the northern reaches of the island, where you will find stunning beaches, beautiful bays and islands. Northland is a favorite destination for those who love extreme water sports, surfing, sailing, game fishing, boating and diving are all favored pastimes in the northern island. One of the main centers for tourism in the Northland is the Bay of Islands.
2. Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands, in the Northland, is a stunning vista of sand and rock coastline that encircles a bay set with 150 islands. Islands, beaches, boats and the ocean are ever-present and offer a mind-boggling array of activities to keep any visitor entertained and busy. Paddle a sea kayak in and out of the many inlets, or board a chartered ferry or yacht for a trip to swim with dolphins. When you tire of the sea, there are historical and romantic sites aplenty to explore and enjoy.
Auckland, with a population of 1.2 million, is home to nearly one-third the island’s population. It’s a fascinating blend of cosmopolitan city and marine harbor. Enjoy fine dining, sparkling nightlife and all the pleasures of being in one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most popular and active cities.
Located just east of Auckland, Coromandel is one of New Zealand’s favorite holiday destinations. The land is rustic and unspoiled, with stunning vistas of volcanic peaks and valleys. The rugged volcanic hills are carpeted with lush, subtropical forests while the stunning beaches are dusted with glistening sand and sparkling water. Both bush and ocean are within the boundaries of Coromandel.
5. Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty has long been a tourist destination famed for its long white beaches and easy-going lifestyle. These days, visitors also have discovered the cosmopolitan flavor of its major city, Tauranga, where they can enjoy fine dining and the best wines of the East Coast vineyards in the many cafes and restaurants.
Waikato features two stunning landscapes, one above ground and one below. On the surface, the rolling farmlands offer any visitor the serenity of a bucolic land. Beneath, you will find a veritable labyrinth of caves and cave formations to explore and enjoy.
Some of the highlights of the Rotorua district include trout fishing in the volcanic lakes and relaxing in the healing waters of the seething hot springs. Volcanoes and geysers make this district a marvelous wonderland of natural beauty.
Be the first on Earth to greet the new day in Eastland, the first mainland place to be touched by the rising sun. Enjoy national parks with hiking and nature trails, and relax with the sophistication of the world’s first cultivated black truffles, fine cheeses and the finest Chardonnay.
Visit beautiful Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, or hike through the island’s oldest national park. Stunning scenery, volcanoes, trout fishing and unusual and rare wild life all combine to make Taupo a must-visit site.
Beautiful Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. Located between a picturesque harbor and majestic hills, the city offers vibrant night life and fascinating cultural experiences alongside gourmet dining and a distinctly unique urban experience unlike any other in the entire world.Related Links:
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