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Explore the two main islands of New Zealand

Posted by on 23 Apr 2021 , in Islands

North Island

New Zealand’s bubbling volcanic heart offers many authentic experiences. In terms of landscape, the North Island is well known for its geothermal hotspots and gorgeous coastline. There’s plenty of activities to keep you busy whether it’s treating yourself to a hot-mud spa treatment in Rotorua or learning about the rich Māori culture through song and dance, enjoying the vibrant café and bar scene in Wellington or spending the days relaxing on one of the stunning beaches along the Coromandel Peninsula.

You will find incredible beaches in the Bay of Islands, the Northland and around the Coromandel Peninsula, while the central region of the island around Rotorua is well known for hot springs and bubbling mud pools thanks to the geothermal activity.

Majority of the population lives on the North Island, which is home to the capital city of Wellington and the largest city/main international gateway – Auckland. Throughout the North Island there are plenty of great hikes you can do through the stunning National Parks, you can visit the famous Hobbiton film set from Lord of the Rings or even admire the unique glow worms that are exclusive to New Zealand. The opportunities are endless, have a browse through some of our hand-crafted itineraries that we know you will love!

When to visit

Generally, the North Island is warmer than the South Island, as its northernmost regions are subtropical. The far North of the country has an average temperature of 15°C, while the deep south has a cooler average of 9°C . 

  • January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.
  • The driest month in the North Island is February and the wettest month is July.  

South Island

New Zealand’s South Island is best known for its majestic snow-capped mountains, sparkling glaciers and fascinating Sounds that will leave you open-mouthed and in consist awe. Whether it’s a Heli Hike at Fox Glacier, kayaking through the stunning Milford Sounds or Bungy Jumping in Queenstown; the South Island is an adventure lover’s dream!

If adventure sports are not your thing, don’t worry there’s still plenty of more relaxed activities you can do in the South Island, such as tasting the world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc in the beautiful Marlborough region, spotting the famous Kiwi whilst bird watching at Stewart Island or taking a breath-taking scenic cruise through the Fiordland National Park; home to the famous Doubtful and Milford Sounds.

There’s so much to see and do in the South Island, it’s hard to try and fit it all into your holiday, luckily, we have hand-crafted some experience packages that take all the hard work out of planning that perfect trip! Have a browse through these packages today.

When to visit

Whilst the country has a generally wet and temperate maritime climate, the temperatures tend to get colder the further south you travel, with the mountain regions obviously being the coolest. The far North of the country has an average temperature of 15°C, while the deep south has a cooler 9°C average. January and February are the warmest months of the year, and July is the coldest.

While the South Island has cooler winter temperatures, some areas of the island experience little rainfall in winter, making it an excellent time to visit glaciers, mountains and other areas of scenic beauty. 

  • If you are wanting to ski or snowboard your way down the slops of the Southern Alps, the best months to visit are either July or August due to having the most snowfall.
  • February and July are the driest months in Queenstown, whereas the wettest month is Decemeber (Queenstown) and March (Central Otago).