Information and Tourism
The North Island often plays second fiddle to its quieter and more photogenic neighbour, the South Island
. It is true that parts of the island can seem particularly busy. In fact, the city of Auckland covers the largest urban area in New Zealand. This low-rise city has something of a suburban feel, though, perhaps because it is grown up within the confined limits of a narrow isthmus. On one side it faces the Pacific Ocean, and on the other the Tasman Sea. Known as the 'City of Sails', Auckland has a healthy boat-to-resident ratio. Around a third of households here own some sort of yacht or launch.
New Zealand's capital Wellington sits at the most southerly point of the North Island. Film crews are a common sight in the city and surrounding region, not least since the 'Lord of the Rings' movies hit the big screen, whetting global appetites for this part of the world.
For peace and quiet, Northland - the most northerly part of the North Island, is the place to be. Long beaches, crystal clear waters and a climate that is a fair deal milder than elsewhere in New Zealand all combine to make this spot something of a holidaymaker's dream. One of its best-known landmarks is Ninety Mile Beach, which, it turns out, is considerably shorter than its name would suggest. Once a landing strip for the first airmail letter service, today it is more popular with bodyboarders.
The cliff headland in the region of Gisborne was the first part of New Zealand to be spotted by James Cook and his crew, whilst travelling on his ship the 'Endeavour'. Gisborne's other claim to fame used to be that it was the first place where the sun rises each day, a claim that it can no longer make because of Samoa's decision to miss out a day in order to realign with the international dateline.
The Bay of Plenty region was named by the explorer James Cook, because he found rather abundant supplies here. It is ironic, therefore, that the area is nowadays one of the least economically vibrant in New Zealand. Tourists visit mainly to marvel at the thermal hot springs of Rotorua and the volcanic island of Whakaari (White Island).
Other North Island regions include Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui and Hawke's Bay, the latter being perhaps best known for the full-bodied red wine produced by its many wineries.
North Island Information and Fast Facts
- Country: New Zealand
- Biggest city and urban area: Auckland
- Population: approximately 3.4 million
- Language: English
- Area: 43,910 square miles / 113,730 square kilometres
WORLD GUIDES TO THE NORTH ISLAND
World Guide to Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is New Zealand's largest and most exciting city and Auckland is located on the North Island of New Zealand. With a breathtaking coastal location, Auckland lies next to the Hauraki Gulf and contains many bays and harbours.
World Guide to Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is situated on the southern coast of New Zealand's North Island and is the second largest city in New Zealand. The important city of Wellington boasts a number of harbours, scenic views and a thriving city centre.
Map of New Zealand