New Zealand North or South Island; Which to Visit?

New Zealand North or South Island; Which to Visit?

Are you planning to visit New Zealand but not sure what the differences are between the North or South Island? Do you only have enough time to visit one island? You should visit both islands if you have the time. Here is some helpful information to help you decide which to visit.

Both he North and South Islands are different from each other. Each island has it’s  own scenery, wildlife and amazing cities!

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City life and Culture

The North Island was the first island to be settled by the Maori. There are museums, activities, performances, traditional hangi dinners and more. Cities on the North Island will be more expensive than the smaller South Island cities. The North Island has Auckland and Wellington where the major airports are. Auckland has great dining, landmarks, and diverse experiences.

The South island is more rugged and agricultural than the North Island. It is known for more of it’s landscape and activities, whereas the North has larger cities and beaches more suited for swimming.

Beaches, Mountains and Landscape

 The North Island is known for it’s gorgeous beaches and geothermal hotspots. Rotorua has hot springs and mud pools that bubble. Both islands have beaches but the North Island’s beaches are white sand and great for swimming. You will find beautiful bays and harbors here. Lord of the Rings was filmed here. Surfing is great here too.

The South Island is larger and is where you will find volcanoes, the Southern Alps, glaciers, Milford Sound and Mount Cook. As you travel further South the temperature gets colder. The north Island is warmer and has subtropical regions. If you want adventure, you will want to head to Queenstown, the adventure capital.

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Food and Wine

Both Islands have great wines as they both have large wine making regions. The North Island has some of the best wine and wineries. Auckland has great restaurants and bars. If you can only visit one winery, hit the South Island and visit the country’s largest winery. The South Island also has incredible seafood like fresh lobster, crayfish and shellfish.

Bottom line: visit both islands if you can. If you want warmer climate, bigger cities experience and culture, Visit the North Island. If you prefer to see more landscape and activities, head to the South Island.


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