New Zealand is an incredibly wide ranging country, a place which seems recognized by a dichotomy between Maori and European culture, between the old and the new, the rural and the metropolitan and of course, the north and the south. This amalgamation, even if sometimes contradictory, produces one of the most unique luxury holiday experiences in the world, asserting New Zealand as one of the most consistently popular tourist destinations for families, couples and honeymooners, asserting New Zealand as one of the most consistently popular tourist destinations for families, couples and honeymooners alike.
The North Island of New Zealand is where a majority of the nation's 3 million or so residents live with the largest municipality of Auckland and the capital of Wellington both located there. Auckland is a beautiful city, diverse and vibrant an alien urban center that immediately feels like home. A very international coalescence of cultures and people makes a stay in Auckland an exciting and ever changing experience.
Particularly worth your while is a boat trip around the harbor, the community's nickname being 'the city of the sails' due to vast number of yachts and boats that are moored around the extensive dock. North of Auckland, the Coromandel and the Bay of Islands offer visitors a more secluded and laid back experience. The Bay of Islands is regarded as one of New Zealand's most famous landmarks and as you may imagine is characterized by a myriad of small volcanic islands spread out across the North Eastern peninsula as well as the many Ninety Mile Beach (actually closer to seventy miles) .
Further south the Waitomo Caves make an excellent day excursion for the more adventurous. The deep network of caverns are navigated quite exclusively, by floating along an underground stream on rubber rings; the area is particularly famous for the glow worms that light up the roof of the caves like a starry night sky. Rotorua a well established township in the center of the island has gained notoriety as one of the most actively geothermic communities in the world, even the slight whiff of sulphur can be noted as you approach the town and geysers, mood pools and thermal springs can be seen all around and steam can even be seen hissing out of roadside vents.
As you snake south down the island another natural feature certainly worth a visit is the vast Lake Taupo, one of the world's largest inland lakes. The nearby town of Taupo is a friendly and charming place to spend a day or two and for anyone with an iron constitution, the region is famous for its skydiving over the lake.
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and although smaller than Auckland you may argu boasts even more character and charm. Established around the eponymous Wellington Bay this pretty community enjoys an excellent boutique shopping and café culture and a particular highlight is Te Pa Pa National Museum which charts the fascinating history of this relatively young nation from the Pacific Islanders who first landed here to British colonial rule and modern day innovations.
Although I have picked out some of the more conventional and well known sights there is so much more to the North Island than just this, from the national parks and unique communities such as Napier and Hastings to the calm of Cap Reinga, the most northern point of the island. What is even more incredible is that this is only one side of New Zealand and after you have explored the glories that this place has to offer there is another island to the south filled with even more wonder and beauty.