North Island Introduction
Here in the North Island you should book early for your favourite spot. Another option is to try somewhere new. Why not choose a region and go for a tiki tour? Check out the map and browse though the listings; the selection of places range from cold-water camping to all the luxuries of a holiday resort. The next decision is whether to tour, taking your sense of adventure to unknown spots, or to settle on a special place for a home-away-from-home.
The North Island is not known as the “Mainland” despite its larger population than the south. Certainly the land area is smaller but packed into the North Island are fabulous beaches. extensive thermal area and even some challenging mountains.
There is a more intimate feel to the countryside with cows, sheep and horses for miles or kilometers, the only exception being the Desert Road part of State Highway One, right in the middle of the island, south of Taupo. Although the longest river in New Zealand, the Waikato River starts from Lake Taupo and wanders all the way through the Waikato and finally into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato which is just south of Auckland.
Regions of interest: Waikato, Central Plateau
We start our itinerary in the Far North where Cape Reinga divides the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea. From here there are endless beaches merging towards the citrus orchards of Kerikeri, the Bay of Islands and the spectacular Hokianga Harbour. Further down the coast to the magnificent the kauri forests of Northland on the west and the bustling city of Whangarei and the slices of history in places like Waipu on the east. Do the Twin Coast Highway.
Regions of interest: Far North, Northland
The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland City and has the contrasts of tallest building in the southern hemisphere with a breath taking adventure ride from the top to the bottom, to the ethnic markets in Otara and back to the Viaduct Basin. There are a number of populated off shore islands and you can go completely off the grip at Great Barrier Island. The “Sea Bird Coast” will take you around to the Coromandel for hot water beach and gold mining.
Regions of interest: Auckland, Coromandel
The volcanic heritage of the central North Island is still alive with thermal activity and there are plenty of opportunities to experience this. Adventure sports have been built around alpine grandeur but the scenery alone is quite spectacular. If you head east the Bay of Plenty has the climate, the beaches and the fresh produce that the name implies and then round the East Cape where the vista of the Pacific Ocean is never far from your side.
Regions of interest: Central Plateau, Bay of Plenty/East Cape
To the west caving, glowworms and adventure await along with the conical vista that is Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont). The bridge to nowhere is off the beaten track. To the east coast where Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sunrise, the Napier, Art Deco capital of New Zealand cities, gannet colonies and south down the coast to the wild isolation of cliff faced beaches.
Regions of interest: Taranaki, Gisbourne/Hawkes Bay
All roads lead to Rome…well not quite but State Highway One takes you further south through the beautiful Whanganui/Manawatu all the way into the Capital City of New Zealand, Wellington or cross through the Manawatu Gorge from the Wairarapa. Stunning coastline and interesting towns lead down to a progressive and cosmopolitan city that will intrigue you with delicious food and interesting sights including the Weta Workshop where the Lord of the Rings was created. The International Airport here has huge models suspended from the rafters…it’s fantastic to see. From Wellington you catch the Cook Strait Ferries to the South Island.
Regions of interest: Manawatu/Whanganui, Wellington/Wairarapa
Although all this mobility is a popular summer past time, the freedom of camping need not be confined to summer. Many holiday spots are very comfortable for other, less busy, seasons.
Enjoy our beautiful country and make new friends. Be kind to each other.