North Island or South Island: Here’s what each offer!
Excellent! You have decided on your big New Zealand vacation. Everybody has heard of the Kiwi country that is replete with spanning white sand coastlines, geothermal hotspots, serene mountains, Māori culture, adventure sports and (ooh!) wine. But one thing that might pop up as trouble in paradise is the one question - which island do you choose to spend most of your time in - North or South? While there is no definite answer to this question, having a bit of background on what each of the islands has to offer goes a long way.
The last thing you want to do is underestimate New Zealand to be the small country as it appears on the world map. The landscapes are varied with a plethora of things to do in the country and good trip around either of the island will take you 2 weeks. Allow yourself that time, otherwise, you can end up spending more time getting to the sights rather than experiencing them. Hence, to get your holiday planning perfectly underway, we have prepared a comprehensive list of the factors that you should consider for having your pick. However, don’t fret choosing the ‘right’ island because both of them have plenty to offer and are marvellous in their own right.
So here you go!
Like mentioned before, either of the islands has sundry world-class landmarks and of course, there is an overlap in their nature. But there are certain peculiarities that make the difference. North Islands is an amalgamation of urban attractions as well as natural wonders. The two famous cities of Auckland and Wellington are located on this side. Auckland is an ideal place to kick start your trip on a comfortable footing because it offers something for everyone from sailing along the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours to bungee jumping from the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere - the Auckland Sky Tower! For the culture vultures, Wellington, the country’s capital serves as a hotbed for the Māori cultural centres and places of experimental architecture. Your visit is incomplete without stepping into Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum that stands against the mesmerizing waterfront, amidst the bustling local market of Cuba Street. This is your place to go souvenir hunting. Many of the best harbours like the Bay of Plenty, the Bay of Islands, The Hauraki Gulfs define the boundaries of this country.
The South Island has destinations that are reached at the end of a beaten track. Since 76% of the population stays on the North Island, The South Island is bereft of civilization and holds some of the best kept natural secrets of New Zealand. Starting with the star landmark of the Southern Alps from which emerge the many fjords like Milford Sound. There are gigantic glaciers namely Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. Queenstown is the nation’s adventure capital that offers an array of alpine sports and is matted with cosy cafes and breweries to blow the steam.
The land and the weather
Since the physical area of the country is relatively small, you can’t expect drastic variations in the climate. The country generally maintains a Coastlines, mountains and farmlands commonly run through the country’s landscape. The North Island is famous for the romantic white-sand beaches, especially the subtropical Bay of Islands, which is warm even during winters! The weather is a tad milder and sunnier here, although it can get wet and stormy during the winters. But largely, expect this place to be washed with golden sunshine with Marlborough, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay where the sun sets after 10.00 pm in summers!
The South Island has a raw charm because of its rugged landscape and scanty infrastructure. Even the weather is harsher here. It is home to the Southern Alps, glaciers, majestic fjords, entangling waterways.
Wine and dine
Welcome to the lesser-known wine haven of the world! New Zealand boasts of producing not some stellar boutique wines but also covering varieties of reds and whites. Over 80 wineries invite you in the vintage wine lands of Hawke’s Bay, which offers you quality red wines like Carbernet Franc and Merlot. While a little further ahead, Gisborne has a repute for whites like Chardonnay. A lot of the vineyards are open for public tasting and complement the drink with an assortment of fresh artisan produce.
The island country naturally has lip-smacking fresh seafood options. The geothermal farmed prawns are delicacy found in Taupo and Tamaki Māori village gives you a taste of the Māori cuisine. You can also try fresh oysters at Coromandel Peninsula.
With top wines, innovative Kiwi chefs have also developed a culture of fine dining restaurants in the big cities of Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.
Thrill and leisure
The North Island offers the best of both worlds. You can take a good hike along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, take a hot dip in the springs of Coromandel Peninsula or treat your eyes to the geothermal wonders of mud pools and geysers of Rotorua while being the periphery of the metropolis. The exhibitions, museums and events in Rotorua and Waitangi presents the Māori culture to you first-hand. You can indulge in ‘hangi’, which is a traditional method of cooking food in a pit of heated rocks and sipping fine wine while exploring the many old vineyards in Auckland and Hawke’s Bay. North Island is your traditional leisure trip in the tropics.
With South Island, you think of the perfect destination for people who like to take the road less travelled. It is an adventure junkie’s paradise with Queenstown, namely the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’! May it be skydiving or paragliding, bungee jumping or water rafting, you do all the activities to get your heart racing. If North Island has ivory sand beaches, the South leaves you floored with panoramic vistas of the snow-clad peaks like Cardrona, Coronet , Treble Cone and The Remarkables. If a legendary skiing experience makes it to your travel bucket list, get ready to cross it off in South Island. For rambling around in forests, trust Milford Track with its dramatic fjords and lush rainforests. Add the Abel Tasman Coast Track and the Routeburn Track to your hiking trails and get lost in the wilderness!
Either way, North or South Island, New Zealand has something for everyone. A major part of a good travel experience is credited to being mindful about your itinerary and making it specific to your interests and requirements. With this, we attempt to bring you the best of travel choices and help you navigate through the dilemma.