Auckland New Zealand

Best time to go: The warmer months are November to April.

The ancient Maoris call the North Island of New Zealand ‘Te Ika a Maui’, meaning the ‘Fish of Maui’. According to legend, Maui hooked North Island whilst fishing with his brothers in the ocean. His ravenous brothers began to eat the fish causing it to writhe and thrash about, this frenzy creating the mountainous landscape that captivates so many visitors to the North Island.

North Island is part of the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire‘ and is volcanically active. The North Island is home to Rotorua, a geothermal hotspot where the earth’s crust is so thin that boiling mud bubbles to the surface and high pressure spouts of steam explode through the ground forming tall geysers. .

The island also has beautiful forests and long sandy beaches. The island’s two largest cities are Auckland to the north and Wellington (the country’s capital) to the south

Wellington is a lively city, full of culture, situated on a picturesque harbour on the southern tip of the island.

But, Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, situated at one of the narrowest points on the island and almost enclosed by water. The spectacular harbour attracts many yachting enthusiasts, and has been referred to as the ‘City of Sails’.

Did you know?

  • Kiri Te Kanawa was born in 1944 in Gisbourne, North Island
  • New Zealand’s 45 million sheep apparently outnumber the country’s human population by more than 11 to one
  • Kiwifruit were originally called chinese gooseberries, but were renamed in honour of the kiwi – New Zealand’s national bird