The more populated of New Zealand’s two main islands, the North Island lacks the variety of scenery of its companion to the south, but with a number of volanoes, lush green forests, and white sand beaches, it still manages to impress. The North Island is the stronghold of the Maori culture, which plays a substantial role in the broader Kiwi identity, unlike in most other western countries where aboriginal culture has been sent to the margins of society.
- Mount Doom
Featured as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings, Mount Ngauruhoe is one of the most iconic volcanoes in New Zealand.
- Cathedral Cove
Crawling with busloads of tourists during summer, this icon was deserted during my winter visit.
- Icy Path
Freezing rain from the previous day created extremely slippery and dangerous conditions in the alpine zone of Mt Tongariro.
- Red Rain
Sunrise gave a reddish hue to the showers along the black sand beaches of the southern Wairarapa coastline.
An interesting tangle of of roads shooting off in all directions in the Ponsonby neighborhood, looking toward the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, the highest free-standing building in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Rainbow Falls
One of the largest waterfalls on the North Island near the town of Kerikeri.
- Ice Plants
Snow and ice cover plants during winter along the Tongariro Crossing.
- Stingray Bay
Night sets in along one of the most impressive coastlines on the North Island.
Sunset at Ahipara
- Cape Reinga
The northernmost tip of the North Island and where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
- Tongariro Crossing
Widely considered the best day hike in all of New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing takes you right over craters of the active Mt Tongariro.
- Tongariro Lava
A mound of lava with Mount Ngauruhoe in the background while hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
- Cape Palliser
The southernmost point of the North Island is one of the most isolated parts of the island.
- Tongariro Crater
Following a winter ice storm, ominous clouds made proceeding further a questionable idea in the exposed environment.
- Gemstone Bay
The last bit of light for the day hits the clouds off of the Coromandel Peninsula.
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