Wild surf beaches, geothermal thrills and Maori culture

New Zealand’s North Island – known by its Maori name Te Ika-a-Maui – is the world’s 14th largest island. Wellington, the capital, connects to the tip of Cape Reinga via an extensive network of highways lined with picture-perfect farmland and native forest. En route, you can take in everything from Northland's stunning beaches, the spectacular Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and the East Coast to the snow-capped mountains of Taranaki, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe.

Since about 77% of New Zealanders live here, half a dozen cities and numerous large towns function as regional hubs and tourist hotspots. They’re the ideal places to sample great local cuisine, drink exquisite wine and craft beer, soak in thermal hot pools or maybe experience life in Hobbiton.