Vincent Lowe Photography - New Zealand North Island
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The North Island is less mountainous then the south but is marked by volcanism.  The highest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 m / 9,177 ft), is an active cone volcano.  The country owes its varied topography to the dynamic boundary it straddles between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates.  New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a continent nearly half the size of Australia that is otherwise almost completely submerged.  About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to pull Zealandia apart forcefully, with this now being most evident along the Alpine Fault and in the highly active Taupo volcanic zone.

During our three weeks on the North Island we trekked the Tongariro Northern Circuit and the Taranaki Round the Mountain Circuit, as well as visiting some of the usual tourist spots.  We had good weather on the whole but we had to put up with some rain on the Taranaki Circuit.

Not to be missed - Tongariro Northern Circuit and the geothermal areas around Rotorua.
Don't bother - Taranaki Round the Mountain.  Unless you like looking at dense bush for hour after hour, day after day, it's a lot of hard work for little reward.

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