New Zealand‘s South Island is larger than the North Island and generally considered more beautiful. Generally, the North Island is warmer, as its northernmost regions are subtropical. Temperatures are cooler on the South Island, with mountain regions obviously being the coolest. Most people questioning North or South New Zealand is the best place to visit for travelling
It’s not often that we break down the differences between two parts of a single country, but there are few countries that divide so neatly in two like New Zealand. Ideally, if you’re budgeting a New Zealand tour, you’ll make time for both islands. Both North and South Island have their own world-class attractions and natural wonders that’ll prove the highlight of your vacation.
North or South New Zealand is the best?
The North Island has some incredible bays and harbours, including the twin harbours of Auckland, the Hauraki Gulf, the Bay of Plenty, and the Bay of Islands. In the Bay of Islands, you’ll also find important Maori centres like the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. The North Island is also home to fun cities like Taupo, unique stops like Rotorua, and wine-centric towns like Martinborough. And we can’t forget the farming community of Matamata, which is home to Hobbiton if you watched The Hobbit (Film Series). So stop wondering North or South New Zealand is the best, I will explain to you in this article.
On the South Island, the largest city is Christchurch. In the south, the big picture gets bigger. The scenery is on another level down there, between the glaciers, fiords, lakes and mountains. It’s places like Mt Cook, which is surely about as overwhelmingly beautiful as a mountain can get, that make people put the South Island on a pedestal. If you’re not careful South Island will easily steal your heart. Decide with yourself North or South New Zealand is the best.
New Zealand North Island vs South Island – Comparison Summary
This article goes about the comparison which North or South New Zealand is the best to visit.
- Less time driving – Tie
- Driving Ease – South Island
- Variety and beauty of Views – South Island
- Best Drives – South Island
- Most amazing Natural wonders – North island
- Most stunning Beaches – Tie
- Variety of Wildlife – South Island
- Interests of Towns – North Island
- Quality of Cultural attractions – North Island
- Better Climate – North Island
- Lesser Crowds – South Island
- Better Food and wine offering – Tie
You choose which part North or South New Zealand is the best to visit.
Variety of Landscapes
The main types of scenery you can expect in North island are
- Geothermal Wonders
Beautiful Coastal lands the highest point is the Volcano Mt Ruapehu at 2797m (9177ft)
- Old Volcanic Land
- Mountain Ranges
- Glacial Lakes
- Beautiful Coastal Land and Beaches.
The highest point is Aoraki Mount Cook at 3724m (12218ft)
Some traveller loves to do crazy things or you can do all the “daredevil” things here, some of which will sound familiar, like skydiving, bungee jumping, zip-lining and mountain bike. South Island is the best to do crazy stuff like that.
There are of course plenty of other places on the South Island for these kinds of things and on the North Island for that matter but Queenstown is unmissable, so you might as well get them out of your system there. To get the thrills minus the terror, ride the gondola for 400-metre-high views.
Most people prefer South Island a place to visit for “Daredevil” stuff. You can also go to AJ Hackett Nevis Bungy, Swing & Catapult but if you have a weak heart or Acrophobia, don’t go try these kinds of “Daredevil” Sports.
In North Island, your main options to enjoy the wildlife are:
- The bay of islands for seals and dolphins
- Boat excursions from Auckland to islands and bird habitats
- Seal colony at Cape Palliser
- Ecosanctuary of Zealandia to see native birds
South island is heaven to observe sea life
- Whales, dolphins and seals around Kaikoura
- Penguins, seals, dolphins and albatross around Dunedin
- Dolphins and seals around Abel Tasman
- Seals almost everywhere
- seal pups playing in tidal pools at Wharariki beach!
- Ecosanctuary of Orokonui to see native birds
Most tourists visit New Zealand to see Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand. The Hobbiton Movie Set was a significant location used for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film series.
You mostly visit New Zealand for nature. No really old villages or towns with castles and monasteries like in Europe. But if you enjoy visiting quirky little towns, to find places to stay with a great atmosphere, there I think North island is ahead of South island.
Which one suits for You?
I ask this question for this article it should be obvious that you should visit both the North Island and the South Island if you have time on your New Zealand travel. However, there’s no guarantee that your trip to New Zealand can accommodate everything you want. So how do you choose between the two?
Based on our rundowns:
- If you want to explore a warmer climate with hot springs, mud pools, and white-sand beaches, explore Maori culture, venture through larger cities, and enjoy more cosmopolitan comforts, the North Island is for you.
- If you want to venture through a more rugged landscape of mountains and fjords, enjoy world-class food and wine, and take the activity of all manner of outdoor activities, head to the South Island.
That sometimes means making hard decisions between distinct regions of a country. Equipped with our guide to New Zealand’s North Island and South Island, you’ll know how to best approach this incredible nation.
What’s your opinion? If you’ve been to New Zealand, can you choose a favourite island? Leave the comment down below.