North Island Scenic Highlights
Stunning islands, beautiful picturesque lakes, awe-inspiring volcanic peaks, intriguing geothermal activity and long white surf beaches characterise the North Island.
North Island Scenic Highlights Overview
The North Island is strewn with beautiful harbours, long white surf beaches, rugged mountain ranges, volcanic peaks and plateaus, and so much more. No trip to New Zealand is complete without visiting the stunningly beautiful Bay of Islands, the rustic and unspoiled glory of the Coromandel ranges and the untouched nature of Wairarapa's wild areas.
Only three of the regions of the North Island are not bound on at least one side by ocean. These are Taupo, Rotorua and Ruapehu. Located in the centre of the island, these regions are primarily volcanic landscape with vast forests, volcanic peaks, and picturesque lakes.
Rotorua - Geothermal Activity Everywhere
Sneaky threads of steam issue from parks, pathways and streets in Rotorua, and the occasional scent of sulphur wafts through the air.
Minutes from the city centre, geysers of steaming water roar from the ground. Pools of bubbling mud gurgle and belch. In geothermal fields around Rotorua, steam rises from placid lakes and flowing streams. Dazzling silica terraces display a kaleidoscope of colour.
Towering volcanoes, now sleeping giants, are unmistakable reminders of the landscape's turbulent past. Extinct volcanic craters provide the vessels for Rotorua's crystal lakes.
And to round off a day of geothermal exploration, relax in pools of naturally heated mineral water and experience for yourself why Rotorua is called 'Nature's Spa of the South Pacific'.
Lake Taupo - A Crater as Big as an Inland Sea
Just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you'll see a volcano. The most serene is Lake Taupo itself, created by an eruption so big the sun went hazy in China.
Lake Taupo is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia with water so clean a few zillion trout call it home. The Lake is 616 square kilometres�that's about the same size as Singapore! Water activities take place in the lake all year round, including water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing, fishing, cruising, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and landing in it by float-plane!
There are 47 rivers and streams feeding into Lake Taupo, and just one outlet—the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. Taupo township is located right on the edge of the lake, with many hotels offering views across the lake to the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park.
Bay of Plenty - White Island, New Zealand's only Active Marine Volcano
White Island is the perfect example of an active volcano. It breathes, it roars, it hisses, it's spectacular.
The island is unique in a number of ways. The vent is below sea level but shielded from the sea by high crater walls. Although surrounded by sea water, the vent is chemically sealed from it. This sealed zone traps an acid hot water system, which is derived from rainwater. As the island is also very accessible, it is internationally important for scientists and vulcanologists.
The volcanic structure of the island is thought to be two million years old, with the volcano itself between 100,000 and 200,000 years old. White Island is one of the most amazing natural experiences in New Zealand.
Hawke's Bay - Art Deco Architecture in Napier
Napier City was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive Richter 7.9 earthquake. Subsequent fires destroyed most of its commercial heart. By the end of the decade, Napier was the newest city on the globe.
Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930's—Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco—in such a concentrated area. And Napier's Art Deco is unique, with Maori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
Useful North Island Links
To help plan your North Island holiday choose from the main categories below:
- North Island Accommodation
- North Island Tours
- North Island Attractions and Activities
- North Island Transport
- North Island Shopping
- North Island Visitor Information
North Island Wide Information
Key information and facts about the north-island region.
Major activities and attractions in the north-island region.