Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand - known to the native Maori as Aotearoa (meaning the "Land Of The Long White Cloud"). New Zealand is one of this world's must-see pieces of paradise and is a favorite of many a seasoned traveler. New Zealand is an archipelago with two large islands and a host of other small islands. In this article, we will talk about how to have the perfect holiday on the North Island. We will discuss the South Island in a separate article.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

New Zealand: The Facts

  • Population: 5 Million (North Island 3.9 Million; South Island 1.1 Million)
  • Land Area: 104,000 Sq. Miles (North Island 44,000 Sq. Miles; South Island 58,000 Sq. Miles)
  • Official Languages: English And Maori
  • When To Go: Late Spring, Summer, Early Autumn
  • Ski Season: Winter

The two main islands of New Zealand are the North Island (home to the largest city, the capital, and Hobbiton), and the South Island (home to the dramatic lakes, mountains, and fiords). If you are short on time, then remember New Zealand is all about the grand outdoors and you can skip the cities.

Some things to know about New Zealand. One is that is nothing like Australia - which is not actually close, it's 1,500 miles away. New Zealand's landscapes resemble more that of England, Norway, Switzerland, and Middle Earth. Another thing is that New Zealand is remote. If you make the logical choice and visit, give yourself plenty of time to visit this jampacked country - at least 2 weeks and no less than 10 days (the first day or two will be just recovering from jetlag anyway).

Related: Hobbiton Is On New Zealand's North Island, And This Is Everything You Need To Know Before You Go

The Northern North Island

If you are starting in Auckland - the largest city, then first head north to Northland and visit The Bay Of Islands, the massive Kauri Trees, and Cape Reinga - allow at least two days.

Heading back and south of Auckland first call into Hobbiton a little way out of Auckland. If you do choose to stay in Auckland then consider taking a ferry out to the stunning islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Choose between the vineyards of Waiheke Island or the 600-year-old volcanic island of Rangitoto where pioneering forests are struggling to take root in the fresh jagged rocks. Then travel south and spend a night on the stunning Coromandel Peninsula. Here you can bathe in the hot springs bubbling up on the beach.

Optional Extra: Visit The Coastal Resort Village Of Raglan Famous For Black Sand, Surfing, and Partying

Next, spend a day checking out the volcanic and geyser wonderland of Rotorua. Make sure you get an early night's sleep because the next day will be a big day. From here you should hike the Tongariro Crossing - this was the filming location for Mordor in Lord Of The Rings. It is a solid day's hike.

Spend some time in this central region of the North Island as it has some of the island's most stunning scenery. If your legs aren't killing you after the Tongariro Crossing, do some hiking around Mt Ruapehu (the North Island's highest maintain, a prominent semi-active volcano, and home to the island's ski resorts).

Before heading away from this central region, spend some time at Taupo on Lake Taupo - New Zealand's largest lake. Lake Taupo is a caldera created by a supervolcanic eruption around 26,500 years ago.

Related: 10 Etiquette Tips To Know Before Traveling To New Zealand

Another must is the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. These are some of the largest and most famous caves in New Zealand (there are more in the South Island). Get a tour of these caves and gaze up at the cave ceiling lit up like the night sky with scores of glowworms. These glowworms (scientifically Arachnocampa Luminosa) are a species found only in New Zealand. They use their glow as bait to lure their unsuspecting prey.

Next, one really ought to visit the utterly stunning snowcapped cone volcano of Mt Taranaki - this was the mountain seen in Tom Cruise's movie The Last Samuari as Mt Fuji of Japan. From here if you are short on time you can head down to Wellington.

North Island Musts

  • Sail: The Bay Of Islands
  • Visit: Cape Reinga
  • Pose: In The Lord Of The Rings Movie Set "Hobbiton"
  • Hike: The Tongariro Crossing
  • Visit: Mt. Taranaki
  • Explore: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

We said before that you needn't spend time in Kiwi cities if time is tight. But if you have time then Wellington is well worth a visit and does not feel much like a city at all. It only has a population of around 400,000 with part of the city hugging the Wellington Harbor, while the rest extends up in different valleys forming distinct smaller towns.

This is the capital of New Zealand so be sure to explore the house of parliament and the museum here. And check out the wildlife sanctuary of Zealandia. This pest-free reserve boasts many of New Zealand's most iconic and endangered species including the Kiwi, the tuatara, and the Takahē.

Zealandia

  • Opening Hours: 9.00-17.00 (Winter Closes 16.30)
  • Days Open: Every day

Hopefully, you now have time for the more dramatic South Island. And hopefully, you have enjoyed the stunning scenery and attractions unique to the North Island.

Next: 10 Of The Best Things To Do In New Zealand