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New Zealand Main Cities

New Zealand is a relatively small country, with a population of little more than 4 million people. Consequently, our cities and towns are mostly quite small with large amounts of forestry and farmland surrounding them. If you are looking for a great place to holiday, then New Zealand is the perfect place. Throughout the North Island the South Island you will find beautiful scenery, adrenaline activities, world-class skiing, geothermal attractions, towering alps, cascading waterfalls and vast glaciers.

North Island

Some of the main cities and tourist towns in the North Island of New Zealand include:

Name Approx. Population Brief Description Map


405,000 Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. The city is built around 2 large harbours, and has many world famous attractions including the Sky Tower. The Auckland Region has a population of about 1.3 million people, and enjoys a warm, temperate climate. Auckland Map More Information


393,000 Wellington is the Capital City of New Zealand and is home to Parliament, the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments and the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions in New Zealand. It is also home to Te Papa (the ground-breaking interactive Museum of New Zealand) and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Wellington Map More Information


129,000 Hamilton rests on the banks of the Waikato River, south of Auckland City. The vast underground network of caves and caverns at Waitomo are near to Hamilton City. Hamilton Map More Information


121,000 Tauranga City rests on the south-eastern edge of the Tauranga Harbour and enjoys a sunny, "subtropical" climate. One of New Zealand's fastest growing cities, the Port of Tauranga is a main New Zealand export port. The sunny, beachy lifestyle attracts holiday makers from around the world - many come to swim, surf, kayak and kitesurf the local beaches. Tauranga Map

Palmerston North

78,000 Palmerston North is a vibrant city with a large youth population. The city enjoys a rich arts and theatre scene with many restored heritage buildings. Here you will find Massey University and several other institutes of importance. Map More Information


70,000 Rotorua is a multi-cultural city, built in the heart of a geothermal wonderland, with bubbly mud pools, spouting geysers and hissing vents. There are 17 lakes in the Rotorua district that offer great freshwater fishing, waterskiing, swimming and other water activities. Rotorua Map More Information


66,000 Located less than 20 kilometres from Napier, Hastings has many heritage buildings. Other local attractions include Splash Planet - a large amusement park, Cape Kidnappers - home to the world's largest mainland gannet colony and Te Mata Peak. Hastings Map


58,000 A seaport, Napier was leveled in 1931 by a devastating earthquake, and rebuilt in the Art Deco style of the day. Today Napier prides itself as the "Art Deco Capital". Wine tours, heritage tours, sailing, fishing and other activities are popular here. Napier Map

New Plymouth

52,000 New Plymouth is a port city, known for its beautiful gardens. A popular attraction is the Coastal Walkway - an 11 kilometre path that forms an expansive sea-edge promenade stretching almost the entire length of the city. New Plymouth Map


52,000 Whangarei is the northernmost city in New Zealand and enjoys a sunny, oceanic climate. Whangarei is a popular holiday detsination, with spectacular beaches and beautiful scenery. Whangarei Map


43,000 Wanganui is a large town built on the shores of the Whanganui River. Wanganui located about 75 kilometres northwest of Palmerston North. The surrounding region is a part of New Zealand's Nature Coast, featuring rivers, beaches, lakes, mountains, parks and golf courses. The Whanganui River is the longest navigable river in the country, with 239 rapids and stunning bush scenery. Wanganui Map


34,000 Gisborne enjoys a sunny climate and is one of the first places in the world to see each new day. Gisborne is also the first part of New Zealand to be sighted by the crew of Captain James Cook's ship the Endeavour. Gisborne Map More Information


22,000 Taupo is nestled on the shores of Lake Taupo. With a surface area of 616 square kilometres, Lake Taupo is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand. Other popular attractions include the spectacular Huka Falls and the Craters of the Moon thermal area. Taupo Map More Information


13,000 The Ruapehu District is home to Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park, and the Raurimu Spiral on the North Island Main Trunk railway line. The main towns of the Ruapehu region are Whakapapa, National Park and Ohakune. Ruapehu Map More Information

South Island

Some of the main cities and tourist towns in the South Island of New Zealand include:

Name Approx. Population Brief Description Map


380,000 Christchurch City is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. The city is known as the "Garden City"; The city suffered greatly with several large earthquakes in 2011 - 2012, and is still in the process of rebuilding its city center. Christchurch Map More Information


117,000 Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. Nestled on the shores of the Otago Harbour, Dunedin is a large eco tourism attraction. Explore the penguin colonies and other natural attractions on the Otago Peninsula. Dunedin Map More Information


60,000 Nelson is a sunny city located at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Nelson is home to the World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum, and is near to three National Parks - the Abel Tasman National Park, the Kahurangi National Park and the Nelson Lakes National Park. Nelson Map More Information


53,000 Invercargill is the most southern city of New Zealand, resting on the Southland Plains beside the Oreti River. Invercargill is home to the Southern Institute of Technology, a polytech that offers a zero-fees scheme to students. Invercargill Map More Information


30,000 Blenheim is well known for its many wineries. The town enjoys on of New Zealand's sunniest climates, with hot dry summers. Attractions include the Omaka Aerodrome - the setting for the biennial Classic Fighters Marlborough airshow, the annual "Blues, Brews and BBQ's" festival and the nearby town of Picton. Blenheim Map


10,000 Queenstown is a four season lake and alpine resort town, and the "Adventure Capital" of New Zealand. The town plays host to a constant stream of tourists year round. Queenstown has world class skiing, bungy jumping, sky diving, luging, Gondolas and many other activities. Queenstown Map More Information


10,000 Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast of New Zealand. Greymouth is located at the mouth of the Grey River. Local attractions include Lake Brunner and the nearby Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. Local activities include fishing, hiking, boating and gold mining tours. Greymouth Map


5,000 Wanaka is a resort town nestled on the shores of Lake Wanaka. The town is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. Alongside the national park and beautiful Lake Wanaka, other attractions include Puzzling World and the biennial Warbirds over Wanaka airshow. Wanaka Map


3,500 Cromwell is a small tourist town located in the heart of the Central Otago region. Cromwell attractions include Old Cromwell Town, Cromwell Gorge, the Bendigo Goldfields and a huge range of stone fruit orchards. Cromwell Map


2,000 Kaikoura is a popular holiday town, nestled between the Kaikoura Coast and the Seaward Kaikoura Range. The town is famous for its crayfish, southern fur seals, albatrosses and other marine wildlife. There are a range of walking tracks and you can join a cruise and swim with dolphins and whales. Kaikoura Map

Mount Cook Village

The Mount Cook Village is nestled beneath Mt Cook, in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. While few people live here, it is a very popular tourist destination offering a range of river and glacial walks, mountaineering, scenic flights and more. Mount Cook Map