Exploring North Island, New Zealand

Blessed with a varied landscape, the North Island also offers a range of climates, from the "winterless" north to the snowbound mountains of the Central Plateau and the blustery winds of the south. From the tip of Northland down to Taranaki on the west and Hawke's Bay on the east, the sea lends a distinct character to each coast. Although best known for its geothermal wonders around Rotorua and the Volcanic Plateau, the North Island is also a fertile land of lush dairy pastures, highly productive orchards and rolling sheep country. The country's largest city, Auckland, and its capital, Wellington, are both located in the North Island.

The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand's most beautiful and historic areas. The warm, sparkling, aquamarine waters, year-round sunshine, sandy beaches and quiet coves make the area a paradise for deep-sea fishing, underwater diving, swimming and sailing.

Mount Taranaki / Egmont, a dormant, snow-capped volcanic peak, is the centerpiece of the agricultural rich Taranaki region and the dominant feature of Egmont National Park.

The Parliament buildings in Wellington are interesting for their varied architectural styles. The circular, copper-domed "Beehive", which houses Cabinet offices, is in complete contrast to the square marble Parliament Buildings, home to the House of Representatives.

Sky Tower is Auckland city's dominant landmark. From its four observation decks, visitors enjoy 360-degree views of the city center, its sprawling suburbs, harbors, and the Hauraki Gulf islands.

The Bath House in Rotorua , an elegant Tudor-style building located in the English-style Government Gardens, is the town's most frequently photographed building. Originally constructed as a thermal bath house in 1908, it is now home to the excellent Rotorua Museum of Art and History.

Napier's Art Deco buildings , such as the Rothmans Building, were constructed following a devastating earthquake in 1931.

Martinborough is the hub of wine growing in Wairarapa, and its wineries have gained a reputation as producers of red wines. A good way to experience the area's wineries is to join one of the many vineyard tours that leave from Wellington.

Source by Kristie Haller

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