New Zealand’s North Island is blessed with a mild maritime climate ranging from subtropical in the Far North to temperate in the rest of the island.

The land was moulded aeons ago by the fierce fires of countless volcanoes – the last eruption was as recent as 1996, when giant Mt Ruapehu blew its top. Lake Taupo’s deep crater erupted in 186AD with devastating results for the pristine forests across the island. Nowhere is the island’s turbulent geological past more evident than in the country’s foremost tourist resort and thermal hotspot, Rotorua, on the Central Volcanic Plateau. Here, boiling mud pools and gushing geysers entertain visitors and demonstrate the powerful forces at work in the geothermal region that extends through the Bay of Plenty out to White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano.

Despite its volcanic creation much of the North Island is covered with emerald green dairy pasture and gentle rolling hills dotted with millions of sheep. The visitor soon gains the impression that New Zealand is one huge sheep and cattle farm, which is partly true as most of the 4 million population is concentrated in the main cities. Auckland, the Queen City of the north has one million inhabitants and welcomes around 1.4 million overseas visitors as New Zealand’s main gateway. Other main North Island centres are Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North and Wellington.

Regional differences can be discerned in this diamond-shaped island. The Far North is subtropical with deeply indented bays adorned with golden sand beaches and backed by lush forests. Tall, ramrod-straight Kauri trees tower skywards in remnant forests on the Kauri Coast. The east coast boasts a shimmering aquatic playground called the Bay of Islands.

The Waikato Basin centred on Hamilton, is the island’s richest dairy pastureland (perhaps the finest in the world). Taranaki is similarly endowed with lush grasslands formed around the distinctive volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki/Egmont. East Cape is a sparsely populated scenic touring route along a ‘Sunshine Coast’ where the world’s first light of day illuminates a picturesque coast. This leads down to the rich, fertile Hawke’s Bay plains, producing abundant fruit and wine crops. Further south are classic hill country sheep farms in the Wairarapa.

Overseas visitors can start their North Island journey with a trip to the Bay of Islands before returning to Auckland and heading to Waitomo’s dramatic caves, Rotorua’s thermal wonders, Tongariro’s volcanoes, en route to Wellington. With a few days to spare visitors can also take in the delights of Coromandel, East Cape, Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki.

The North Island can be a special haven of peace for the harried traveller. It has many quiet places where you can get in touch with nature on a walk through native bush or along an isolated beach.

About New Zealand: Recommendations, Facts, Tips & Travel Advice

  • New Zealand Food Cuisine

    Food & Cuisine

    The country’s Pacific Rim cuisine is based on its abundance of wonderful fresh produce. Tender lamb, beef, pork, venison, succulent green-lipped mussels, Bluff oysters, crayfish (lobster), paua (abalone), whitebait, scallops, salmon, deep-sea fish and, of course, kiwifruit.

  • New Zealand Shopping

    Shopping

    New Zealand offers a great variety of shopping experiences for visitors from overseas. With currency conversions invariably favouring the overseas visitor, a New Zealand shopping spree is a ‘must do’ activity. Shops are usually open from 9 am to 5.30 pm with late shopping available on Thursday.

  • New Zealand Internet Access

    Internet Access

    New Zealand has embraced the World Wide Web with a zeal and enthusiasm. Cyber cafes are widely distributed throughout the country to enable visitors to keep in touch with friends and relatives back home. Many hostels and backpackers have Internet rooms or booths, which are usually available.

  • New-Zealand-Electricity

    Electricity

    New Zealand’s swift-flowing rivers dissect steep, broken country making them ideal for generating cheap hydro power. The vast amount of energy contained in major river systems like the Waikato and the Clutha has been tapped through a series of hydro dams. The stored water is converted.

  • new-zealand-clothing-01

    Clothing

    New Zealand dress code is pretty much a reflection of the casual Kiwi lifestyle. Living the good life in ‘Godzone’ as Kiwis describe ‘God’s Own Country’, means dressing informally. This easy-going lifestyle is exemplified by the popular, sizzling backyard barbecue. To dress ‘a la mode’ in this situation.

  • New Zealand Weather

    Regional Weather

    Prevailing westerly winds have a major effect on our climate bringing warm, moisture-laden air in from the Tasman Sea. The South Island’s Southern Alps act as a barrier, creating annual rainfall of up to 7000 mm on the West Coast. By contrast the Canterbury Plains, lying in the rain shadow.

  • New Zealand Health Services

    Health Services

    New Zealand proudly boasts a ‘clean green’ image and compared to other developed world countries we are seen as a great place that provides fresh unpolluted air, low cases of disease, easy access to fresh organic produce and clean drinking water.

  • New Zealand Visa

    Visas

    A Visitors Permit is an endorsement in your passport allowing you to visit New Zealand. It states the expiry date of your permit and allows you to visit as a tourist, see friends and relatives, play sport or perform in cultural events without pay, undertake a business trip and/or undertake medical treatment.

  • New Zealand Transportation

    Transportation

    New Zealand has an efficient transport system that is designed to move visitors around the main tourist routes with a minimum of delay. Advance bookings are essential in the summer high season (December-February) but at other times there is much less pressure on transport services.

  • New Zealand Accommodation

    Accommodation

    The range of choice in larger centres is wide, from upmarket exclusive lodges and five-star hotels, through budget hotels, motels, motor inns, bed and breakfast guesthouses, homestays, farmstays, hostels, backpackers, holiday parks, holiday homes, motor camps and Department of Conservation.

  • Stewart Island New Zealand

    Stewart Island

    Stewart Island was known to the Maori as Rakiura (glowing skies) either on account of the striking sunsets or the periodic southern lights (Aurora Australis). The island is a dream location for ornithologists and bird watchers and offers the best kiwi watching in New Zealand.

  • South Island New Zealand

    South Island

    New Zealand’s South Island is a spectacular land, which has been uplifted by prodigious earth forces. The South Island landscape is so different from the rolling green hills of the north that crossing Cook Strait is akin to travelling to another country.

  • North Island New Zealand

    North Island

    New Zealand’s North Island is blessed with a mild maritime climate ranging from subtropical in the Far North to temperate in the rest of the island. The land was moulded aeons ago by the fierce fires of countless volcanoes - the last eruption was as recent as 1996, when giant Mt Ruapehu blew its top.

  • New Zealand

    New Zealand

    New Zealand holds a special place on the world travel circuit as a premier eco-tourism and outdoor adventure destination. It is also a great place for a relaxing holiday. This small, compact group of three elongated islands, stretching 1500km down the southern latitudes of the Pacific Ocean.