Separated from the South Island by the Cook Strait, New Zealand’s North Island is the 14th-largest island in the world. It was first settled by the Maori, who negotiated the treacherous Southern Ocean passageways in canoes, before a wave of European migration followed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Maori chiefs and the British Crown.
The North Island may be the smaller of the two main islands, however it is home to nearly three times as many people than the South Island. The country’s capital Wellington is located on the island, as is New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
- Currency - New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Population - Approx. 4.4 million
- Time Zone - UTC+12
Did you know..?
The North Island’s Lake Taupo was originally formed by the largest known volcanic eruption in the world 26,500 years ago.
Who goes there?
Small-ship and luxury cruise lines like Crystal Cruises, Oceania, Orion, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Silver Seas, and Hapag-Lloyd offer a variety of itineraries to the North Island. Larger ships such as Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, P&O Australia, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line also ply these popular routes.
Best time to go?
Cruises to the North Island are popular all year round, although the climate can differ slightly from that further south.
While it is generally slightly warmer than the South Island, the North also tends to have moderately high rainfall and weather conditions can change unexpectedly. Its warmest months are between September and February, while the coolest months are from March to August.
Things to See and Do
The North Island boasts an impressive list of cultural and geographical attractions, making it an ideal cruising destination. Why not enjoy:
- A relaxed day of sailing in Auckland's charming harbour
- A tour of Hawke’s Bay award-winning wineries
- A day of pampering in Rotorua’s hot springs and thermal baths
- Sampling New Zealand’s famous kiwifruit during a visit to Tauranga’s orchards and gardens, in the beautiful Bay of Plenty
- A day trip to Lake Taupo, the largest freshwater lake in Australasia and perhaps most recognisable from the Lord of The Rings trilogy.