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Major Tourist Attractions - North Island




Escorted Tours
New Zealand is made up of two main islands, called the North and South Islands, and a third smaller island in the remote south, called Stewart Island.

NORTH ISLAND : The subtropical Northland experience promises a contrast between the relative sophistication of the east coast and the soulful simplicity of the west coast.

Much of Northland's extensive coastline remains unspoilt - an aquatic playground for adventure activities and escapist relaxation. Whangarei and Opua are havens for international and local yachts; Tutukaka and Russell are game fishing hot spots; the beaches of Doubtless Bay are endlessly beautiful.

AucklandThroughout the region you'll also enjoy the shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities that stem from the distinctive local culture, which embraces art, creativity, organic farming and alternative thinking.

Northland's history is rich and interesting. It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in Northland during the 11th century. Today Waitangi is the seat of Maori culture, which is very much alive in this region (32 percent of the population are Maori). European settlement began in the 1840s, further enriching the region's colourful past.


MAIN VISITABLE PLACES IN NORTH ISLAND


Auckland
Auckland is New Zealand's largest city. Half urban and half marine, it's a cosmopolitan experience wrapped up in a fascinating water world that's dotted with more than 50 islands.

In just half an hour you can be almost anywhere - sailing to an island, trekking through a rainforest, picnicking on a volcano, sampling wines at a vineyard or wandering a wild, black sand surf beach.

A diverse range of cultures adds flavour and interest to the city's style of life. As a result, Auckland has perfected a style of cuisine called 'Pacific Rim', which blends Asian and Pacific flavours.

Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for Outstanding food, wine and shopping - you're beginning to get the picture of Auckland.

In the Maori language, Auckland is known as Tamaki-Makau-Rau - 'the maiden with a hundred lovers'. It earned this name because it was a region coveted by many tribes.

Auckland's blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city environment has created a lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world.


The natural assets of Auckland have made it a dream destination for all kinds of travellers, from doing-it-on-the-cheap backpackers to cost-is-no-issue super yacht owners.


Coromandel
Cathedral CoveRustic, relaxed and unspoiled, the Coromandel is one of New Zealand's best-loved holiday destinations.

The rugged volcanic hills are cloaked in native rainforest, and more than 400 kilometres of spectacular coastline promises you can find the beach of your dreams. The Coromandel is a place where bush and beach are both easily accessible. In the same day, you can experience the blue dazzle of the Pacific Ocean and calming greenness of the kauri forest.

Inspired by the region's idyllic setting, many artists and crafts people have made the Coromandel their home - visitors to the area are welcome in their studios. The area's fascinating history is evident in gold mining relics, logging dams and ancient Maori pa sites. The past can also be found in the charming colonial architecture and historical buildings preserved in several towns around the region.
» Cathedral Cove : A 20 minute walk, or a guided kayaking trip, will bring you to the white sands and arches of Cathedral Cove. It's an idyllic place to swim, snorkel, picnic or simply relax under the pohutukawa trees.
» Hot Water Beach : This beach lives up to its name. For two hours either side of low tide, you can create your own hot pool by digging into the sands. The hot spring bubbling up through the sand is the legacy of an exciting volcanic past.
» The 309 Road : From 'The 309 Road' you can walk to the foot of the Waiau Falls, where the Waiau River crashes over a rock face. Another 10 minute track will take you to the 309 Kauris, the finest stand of kauri trees in the region.

Waikato
The Waikato region has two spectacular landscapes - one above ground, the other below. In both cases, nature has been generous. on the lush surface, the scenery is green to the extreme. Fertile soils, reliable rainfall and kind temperatures have created a pastoral heaven.
Below the surface, miracles have been wrought with water and limestone. Vast cave systems, huge sink holes and underground streams provide huge scope for adventure.


Waikato was the scene of significant battles during the Maori Land Wars of the mid 19th century. Visit the monuments and museums and discover the fierce history of the region.

In the fast-growing city of Hamilton, the serpentine beauty of the Waikato River is maximized at every opportunity. You can discover parks, gardens and river walks where the forethought of the town planners is plain to see.

» Waikato River : The mighty Waikato River travels through the region. At 425 kilometers from end to end, it is the country's longest river. As well as providing recreational opportunities, the river drives eight hydro dams.

» Waitomo Caves : The Waitomo Caves were formed over 30 million years ago, and drip by drip they're still changing. The natural beauty of stalactites and stalagmites lit by the blue light of glow worms has to be seen to be believed.

» Hobbiton : On a Matamata sheep farm, you can visit the remnants of Hobbiton, the hobbit village created for the Lord of the Ring's movie trilogy. View the hobbit holes and find out how the set was created on a guided tour.

Rotorua
A steaming, hissing landscape complete with exploding geysers greets you on arrival in Rotorua, along with a tradition of hospitality and warmth more than one hundred years old.

Geothermal phenomenaEach and every day is a fresh one in Rotorua, with tourism pumping through the veins of the city. Rotorua knows how to do tourism well - and it should. It was the birthplace of tourism more than a century ago when visitors from foreign shores came to marvel at the awe-inspiring Pink and White Terraces set on the side of Rotomahana. Sadly these terraces were destroyed by the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera, but visitors to this unique region continued to grow following the catastrophic event. Many of the guides found at the city's iconic attractions today are simply following in the traditional of their ancestors and informing people of the area.

Rotorua has it all as a destination. It offers visitors a chance to free their spirit at one of the many spectacular lakes, rejuvenate their spirit at the natural geothermal complexes around the city, challenge their spirit with a burst of adrenalin, experience the spirit of a living culture both in the contemporary and traditional sense and feel the spirit of the earth as it rumbles beneath your feet.

With striking Tudor-style architecture, exquisite scenery and top class attractions, hotels, luxury lodges, backpackers and motels, Rotorua offers a complete package for any traveller on any budget.

Manaakitanga is a deep-rooted concept in Maori culture. It is a challenge for the people of the city and the region itself to offer visitors the best experience possible during their time in the city. Discover the important parts of the culture and land of New Zealand in this exceptional destination.

» Geothermal phenomena : From the moment you arrive, the scent of sulphur tells you that Rotorua is different. Steam escapes from crevices in the ground, gardens bloom alongside bubbling craters and geysers shoot for the sky.

» Spa therapy : Rotorua's beauty products have been centuries in the making. Lie back and soak in the minerals of a sensual mud bath, or sink into one of the many geothermal spas - from luxury complexes to hot water beaches.

» Maori spirit : In Rotorua's geothermal villages, the tradition of guiding and sharing cultural heritage has been passed down through the generations. You'll find it expressed with true warmth and energy.


The Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty is a place of beautiful harbours, long white surf beaches and a sunny, easy going lifestyle. Everything you need for a blissful holiday is here.

The Pacific Coast Highway touring route brings travellers into the bay, and the city of Tauranga is often their first port of call. Located on a stunning harbour, Tauranga is a thriving commercial centre with a passion for good food, wine and stylish shopping.

Across the harbour, the horizon is dominated by the volcanic cone of Mauao. The mountain is shrouded in legend and history; it also provides an excellent hiking challenge. Mount Maunganui, the resort town at the base of the mountain, is focused on surf, adventure and fun. The white sand beach that begins here doesn't stop until it reaches Whakatane, 100 kilometres to the east. Whakatane is the launching pad for expeditions to White Island, New Zealand's only active marine volcano.

» Mauao (Mount Maunganui) : Guarding the entrance to Tauranga Harbour, Mauao was the landing place of the Takitimu waka. Takitimu was one of the ocean-going migration canoes that made the trip from Hawaiki to New Zealand in about 1290 AD.

» Beach life : The stylish surf town of Mount Maunganui buzzes with adventure and activity. There's everything from surf lifesaving and beach volleyball to kite surfing, parasailing, jet skiing and surfing competitions.


Eastland
Te Urewera National ParkWalking on an active volcano is a once in a lifetime opportunity. White Island hisses, fumes, belches and rumbles with geothermal action. It's accessible by launch and helicopter from Whakatane.

Eastland is the place where the first Polynesian migration canoes landed, where Captain Cook made his first landfall and where Maori and European first encountered each other.

Maori life is evident in every settlement you see. There are carved meeting houses, beautifully painted Maori churches, children riding horses bareback on the beach and conversations in Te Reo. Deep in the misty Te Urewera Ranges, descendents of the 'Children of the Mist', the ancient Tuhoe tribe, still live in harmony with the forest around the village of Ruatahuna.

The landscape - coastal and inland - is untamed and wild. You can lose yourself in the hills and valleys, and renew your inner peace on the beautifully natural beaches.

The largest population centre in the region is Gisborne, a city that manages to combine the science of fine wine making with the laid back, down-to-earth attitude of life in the sun.

» Te Urewera National Park : Within its boundaries, Te Urewera National Park encloses Lake Waikaremoana and the largest untouched native forest in the North Island. The Urewera region is home to the Tuhoe people, (The Children of the Mist).

» Gisborne - the chardonnay city : Gisborne is Eastland's biggest population centre and the first city in the world to see the sunrise each day. Known as the "Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand", Gisborne produces premium white wines.

» Tolaga Bay Wharf : The touring route that follows State Highway 35 takes you to spectacular coastal scenery, with many interesting cultural highlights along the way. The historic Tolaga Bay Wharf, built in 1936, is 660 metres long.





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