Home Blog

Limited Holiday Time – Which Island Should You Visit, the North or the South?

You’re due for a holiday. You’ve been working hard, thinking too much and running yourself ragged for other people – it will be good to take care of yourself for a change. Sadly, time is limited and you’re not quite sure where to start to make the best of it. Where should you go? What should you do? Is the South Island schedule-friendly or will the North give you what you need? Don’t worry about a thing. Our team have summarised the best of both islands, making any New Zealand holidays you have up your sleeve a breeze.

Divers at Poor Knight’s Islands – Photo: David Kirkland

North Island

The North Island of New Zealand is teeming with the sort of natural beauty you can only see to believe, with many travel blogs (including this one) doing their best to communicate just how special, magical and addictive it can be. We all fall short of course, as the wonderful North serves up something different every time we put together a new itinerary for folks just like you, if only just for a few days.


  • Tongariro National Park: Dive into the heart of Mordor and pick up the trail across a truly volcanic tundra.
  • Coromandel Peninsula: Walk the bluffs, cliffs and beaches of this underrated paradise, home to the resplendent Cathedral Cove and Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve.
  • Lake Taupo: Roughly the size of Singapore, the warm, geo-thermal waters make this inland sea the perfect place to stop for a picture and a relaxing swim.


  • Canopy Walk: Step onto swinging yet stable suspension bridges, as you set out and discover the world above Rotorua, hidden in the sprawling canopy of tall Redwoods.
  • Diving at Poor Knight’s Islands: Described as an “A-W-E-S-O-M-E” experience, a day of diving the area around the Poor Knight’s Islands and nearby shipwrecks will leave you wanting more.
  • Skiing at Mt Ruapehu: Did you know the North Island has its very own ski fields? The South doesn’t own all the action. This is the place the locals go when tourists descend on Wanaka and the Remarkables – if that isn’t a silent testimonial, we don’t know what is.

Hooker Valley, Aoraki Mt Cook – Photo: Fraser Clements

South Island

Nicknamed the Adventure Capital of New Zealand, the South Island is a breathtaking combination of adrenaline attractions, awe-inspiring experiences and environment marvels. It’s a tiny bit bigger than the North though, so round-trip exploration is a bit of a stretch on limited time – but you can always come back! Fun fact? This expanse of staggering sights is less populated than the North, leading to long open roads and lots of road-trip fun without the necessity of back-tracking to get where you want to go. You could say it’s perfect for linear holiday planning!


  • Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers: Get up close and personal with these two, jaw-dropping natural formations, charting the progress and retreat of their ancient stories by foot, plane or helicopter!
  • Milford Sound: A true wonder of the world, there’s no words to really describe Milford Sound – it’s somewhere you just have to go, as the sheer walls crowd around you and dolphins play in the wake of the boat.
  • Aoraki Mt Cook: The highest peak in New Zealand, touching the sky at 3,754 metres; why not take a walking tour of the area?


  • Nevis Bungee: New Zealand is packed with things to dive from, but none are so high as the Nevis Bungee, sending happy jumpers plummeting 134m straight down, into a roaring canyon. Do you dare?
  • Funyakking: The best way to see the Dart River, cruising comfortably down the turquoise waters in a bright red, inflatable canoe. Heaps of fun for all ages – emphasis on the fun.
  • Shotover Jet: Rip-roaring and very thrilling, the Shotover Canyon Jet will completely change the way you look at jet-boating. Twist, turns and near misses abound!

Chat with or email one of our New Zealand Specialists today, and discuss which island suits your holiday vision. We have an itinerary waiting to make you smile!


to top