While the North Island of New Zealand is slightly smaller than its southern sibling, it accounts for 4/5 of New Zealand’s 5 million population. The nation’s capital, Wellington sits at the southern tip of the island and is a vibrant blend of cosmopolitan arts, music and culture. While Auckland in the north is the country’s largest city surrounded by a beautiful harbour and a charming skyline of city skyscrapers.

The island’s centre is home to a volcanic hotbed of activity, from Lake Taupo, the remains of a super volcanic eruption, to the thermal activity and hot pools of Rotorua. However, no trip would be complete without undertaking one of the world’s best day hikes, the Tongariro Crossing. Whereby one is quite literally transported to another planet as you hike past acidic emerald, blue lakes and ancient lava flows.

Mt Taranaki in the west can be seen for miles around. A hike to Pouakai Tarn captures the mesmerising mountain from this unique perspective, perfectly reflected on the tarn’s still waters. Additionally, travel up the east coast to sample the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Or head east to Napier and Hawks Bay. For those after relaxing beaches, a trip to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsular and Waiheke Island is a must. As well as venturing north from Auckland to Paihia and the Bay of Islands.

Included amongst all these natural wonders is the rich heritage of the Māori. Who called Aotearoa home long before the historic explorers brought with them a European influence. Be sure to find time to sample the rich cultural heritage of the country or similarly grab a cold one with a friendly local.

Top Recommendation

  • Take a hike to Pouakai Tarn, plus spend a night in Pouakai Hut within Egmont National Park
  • Complete the world’s best day hike, the Tongariro Crossing
  • Relax on beautiful Coromandel Penisular beaches, or dig your own personal hot tub, on Hot Water Beach
  • For a touch of island life visit the tranquil Waiheke Island
  • Bay of Islands, for amazing marine life and lush tropical islands
  • Volcanic mud bubbles, spurting geysers and neon geothermal pools at Rotorua

When to Visit

As with all of the southern hemisphere, it’s essential to remember the seasons are in reverse compared to those in the northern hemisphere. The next thing to be mindful of is that being an island nation surrounded by ocean, New Zealand has a maritime climate, meaning it’s not unusual to experience four seasons in one day. Due to the North Islands’ higher latitude, the weather variations aren’t quite as extreme compared to that of the south. Yet as one ventures further north, the more tropical the climate becomes.  

Spring is a great time to visit, with warm sunny days and a countryside bursting into life. The summer months of December to February offer the best weather but equally busier footfall and higher prices. While Autumn is often considered the best time to visit with many long sunny days still on offer and few crowds to contend with. For those after some winter snow, the months of June to August give rise to snow coverage on the high peaks, leading to skiing and beautiful crisp winter days.

Average monthly high and low temperatures, plus average monthly rainfall and days with rain can be seen below for Auckland & Wellington.