Is the North Island or the South Island better?

November 21, 2019
Just NZ Holidays

North versus South. In New Zealand, it’s a debate as old as the islands themselves—which one is better? If you were to ask a bunch of random kiwis whether they preferred the North or South Island, the chances are their response would match the island on which they reside. After all, there’s so much to love about this beautiful land, no matter where you are—from the golden beaches in the north, to the rugged mountains and dramatic fiords of the south. But which are you best suited to? Let’s find out…

For holidays spent at the beach

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

The North Island is the beach bum’s island of choice for a summer holiday. Many of New Zealand’s most iconic beaches are ‘up north’, so if you’re a sunseeker, a surfer, or just want to work on your tan, head for the beautiful beaches at the Coromandel, Raglan or Mt. Maunganui. The North Island also has a slightly warmer climate; temperatures cool the further south you travel in New Zealand.


For exploring or skiing/snowboarding

Mt Cook

With a smaller population and larger land mass to explore, the South Island is your home of adventure. The mighty Southern Alps are the backbone of the island and are home to some of New Zealand’s best ski fields. They’re also the home of NZ’s tallest mountain, Aoraki/Mt. Cook and its surrounding national park. The gorgeous ski resorts at Queenstown and Wanaka rank among the world’s most beautiful places; and no South Island trip is complete without a trip to Fiordland to see the majestic fiords—Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. Further north, follow your pioneer spirit up the wild West Coast and up into the Marlborough Sounds where you’ll find the South Island’s most beautiful beaches and native forests.

For the wine lovers

Wine Barrels for All

When it comes to holidays, some people like to plan their restaurant and winery itinerary and worry about the sightseeing later. Sound familiar? If so, there’s some amazing wine country for you to discover while you’re in NZ. In the North Island, some of the nation’s boldest red wines are found on Waiheke Island and in the Hawke’s Bay. On the southern end of the island, Martinborough produces more delicate whites and some great Pinot Noir. But the most famous wines in New Zealand come from the South Island. Simply put, if you want the best Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir in the country, you need to go to Marlborough for the Sauvignon, and Central Otago for the Pinot. World class wines!

For Māori culture

Māori Warrior Carving

Māori culture runs deep throughout New Zealand, but the best place to start your cultural journey is in Rotorua. Rotorua is just a short drive from Auckland and has a strong Māori heritage. Today, local Māori continue the traditions of old and invite you to join them to learn the art of haka (Māori song and dance), hāngi (a traditional cooking method where the food is buried underground and cooked over heated stones), and discover some of the region’s taonga (while we don’t have a direct English translation for taonga, it can be thought of as a treasured item).

Still not sure which island to start your kiwi adventure on? Contact us today and together we can plan your North or South Island holiday.

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