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New Zealand: North Island Vs South Island

New Zealand: North Island Vs South Island

New Zealand is an incredibly popular tourist haunt amongst backpackers, thrill seekers and explorers and there is so much to see and do in this incredible country. I was lucky enough to visit New Zealand some years ago and the only issue that I had is that I couldn’t stay longer.

When searching for where to go in New Zealand, you will invariably find things in the North Island and things in South Island. I spent quite a bit of time in both islands and for anyone wondering which is the best between the two, I wanted to offer my thoughts.

North Island


If you are looking for some beach bathing weather or generally warmer climates to enjoy your break in New Zealand, the North Island is the place to go. Throughout the year the average temperatures in the North Island far surpass those in the south. The North Island also gives you access to the Bay Islands which offer a tropical climate.

Geothermal Thrills

Many flock to New Zealand to see the geothermal activity which takes place beneath the rocks and if this is what you are looking for, the North Island is the best place for you. the north features more volcanos and geothermic activity than the south thanks to its location above the tectonic plates.


Those looking to discover the New Zealand and Maori culture, should head to the North Island where they can find tribes and treaty grounds that can help you to understand more about this culture.

Big City Lover

Over 70% of New Zealand’s population live on the North Island and that means big cities to explore. Auckland and  Wellington are the two biggest cities in New Zealand and they are very different from one another. Both cities are close to beaches and natural beauty so you can really experience the best of both worlds. 

South Island

Mountain Adventurer

The Southern Alps section off the south Island, straight down the middle and this creates some excellent opportunities for any mountain man or woman. These snow-capped mountain have many well trodden routes for you to take on and feature some very difficult climbs.

Adrenalin Seeker

New Zealand has gained quiet a reputation for its activities and in the South Island is where you will find the home of skydiving, bungee jumping, kayaking, rafting, caving and all other manner of adrenalin fueled adventures.


Just a third of the country’s population live in the South Island which means lots of opportunities to get away from it all and find some peace. Just arriving in the South Islands after visiting the North Islands, you immediately feel the difference, wider spaces, less noise and a general feeling of tranquility.


New Zealand offers skiing throughout the country but my view is that the ski is far better in the south than the north. The highlight for me was visiting 3 mountains within an hour from each other, and skiing them all in a day.

The question as to which is better is too tough to answer as it really depends what you are looking to do.

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