North or South? Where To Move In NZ
Stunning beaches, boiling mud pools and deep-rooted Maori culture, or spectacular mountains, dramatic glaciers and world-class stargazing? If you’ve found yourself in the position of having to choose between New Zealand’s North and South Islands, you’re spoiled for choice.
The two islands complement each other, but offer very different experiences and unique ways of life. You’d be hard-pressed to name the “best” island, but if you’re relocating to New Zealand, you’ll need to pick one or the other. So, let’s take a look at what each island offers.
Life in the North Island
The North Island is, by far, the most populous of New Zealand’s two main islands (there are actually over 600 islands in total). In fact, more people live in Auckland, the North Island’s largest city, than the entire South Island combined. If it’s the convenience of city life you’re after, you’ll find many more options up North. You can read about some of the largest here.
As with any highly populated area, you’ll benefit from more events and activity in the North Island. The country’s largest airport is also here, making international travel easier for those who want to visit family back in the UK. But it’s not all hustle and bustle; those wanting to find a remote piece of paradise will find plenty of areas that fit the bill. After all, in a country of 5.123 million with a landmass slightly larger than Great Britain, there’s plenty of room to spread out.
Along with the golden beaches and vibrant cities, one of the most notable benefits to living on the North Island is the diversity. As the first island to be settled by Maori, the indigenous culture here is much more pronounced and can be felt throughout all aspects of life.
Life in the South Island
The South Island often gets downplayed by those up North as the more boring of the two islands, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, it’s colder, and yes, it’s less diverse, but it still has plenty going for it.
From the artistic hub of Nelson to cosmopolitan Christchurch and adrenaline-packed Queenstown, there’s a place in the South Island to suit all lifestyles. As a general rule, the further south you go, the less populated, with Invercargill being the southernmost city. Invercargill also has the country’s only free university though, making it a very attractive choice for those with children.
The South Island is also a mecca for those who enjoy winter sports, with extended skiing and snowboarding opportunities. And, let’s not forget that you’ll find some of the most picturesque scenery you can imagine, from Franz Josef Glacier to Lake Tekapo.
When all is said and done, wherever you end up, you’re sure to love your new home in New Zealand.