Are New Zealand Islands connected
Pure adventure: New Zealand's North and South Island in comparison!
Even if many adventurers make their way to New Zealand, for example to discover the unique landscape on a road trip, unfortunately most of them do not have enough time to travel to the North and South Islands. At first glance you might think that it shouldn't be a problem to travel to both islands in three weeks, after all, they are not huge. Do not be fooled! Due to the many adventures and the countless places worth seeing that you must not miss, three weeks are already very tight for an island.
We can of course understand that you want to see as much as possible and would prefer to visit both islands, but especially if you have "only" three weeks to spare, you should decide on one of the two islands. There is no point in rushing through New Zealand, missing out on many places and adventures due to lack of time and spending most of the time in your rental car or bus.
In this post we will help you decide! We'll tell you 5 highlights per island that await you there and will help you with your decision. Let's get started right away: New Zealand North Island vs. South Island!
The right month for your New Zealand adventure
If you are one of those adventurers who are not flexible about the travel period and only have time in a certain month, the weather can make your decision for you, whether it should go to New Zealand's North or South Island. Because here there are indeed differences and while it is summer in Germany, winter is coming in New Zealand, especially on the South Island. But let's take a closer look at when it is most beautiful on which of the two islands!
Spring: September to December
If the leaves on the trees are slowly turning golden brown and summer is drawing to a close, spring is just beginning in New Zealand. The weather on the North Island is mild, but very inconsistent and rainy. On the South Island, especially in the beginning, there can always be a real onset of winter. During this period we would rather recommend the North Island to you.
Summer: December to March
While it is cold and uncomfortable here, summer has already arrived in New Zealand. During these months, both islands are ideal and you can enjoy the New Zealand summer everywhere.
Autumn: March to June
Summer also follows autumn in New Zealand and you can still travel to both islands during this period. However, if we had to choose an island, we would probably be drawn to the North Island. Especially in the first autumn months it can still be pleasantly warm here, while you can be surprised by the first snowfalls on the South Island.
Winter: June to September
If you are not a winter sports enthusiast who flies to the other end of the world to snowboard or ski, you should concentrate on the North Island in the winter months. Here you can still expect mild temperatures in the double-digit range in winter, while in the south you have to be prepared for a cold winter.
Your journey to New Zealand
After we have dealt with the weather conditions on site, it is now time to see to what extent the journey differs. We'll tell you so much: There are no big differences in ticket prices and flight times.
The North Island: How To Get To Auckland!
You can easily reach New Zealand's North Island from Germany. Most airlines fly to Auckland with a stopover in the Arab or Asian region. From there you can start a round trip across the entire North Island before flying back home from Auckland at the end of your trip.
For the long journey, which can take up to 26 hours, you have to expect a return ticket price of up to 1,400 euros. You should definitely take a look at our post, where we reveal the best tips for cheap flight tickets. You can then use these tricks to search momondo for a flight that fits your plans.
The South Island: How To Get To Christchurch!
The plane ticket to the South Island costs you similarly and the duration of your journey does not differ that much. The best thing to do is to look for a return flight to Christchurch on momondo, as this is a great place to start your journey through New Zealand's South Island.
With a little luck, there will be an error fare at a bargain price for your planned travel period. If you have not yet heard of these particularly cheap flight tickets, you should definitely read our post about them, which you can find here. Sebastian and Line flew to Tokyo and back with such a ticket for 600 euros, for example, in Business Class - so it actually works!
This is how much your New Zealand adventure will cost you
Before you fly to the other end of the world, of course, you want to know whether the travel costs on the two islands differ.
No big differences in accommodation, gasoline and transport prices!
The accommodation costs are very similar on the North and South Islands and you don't have to expect sharp price fluctuations. In a multi-bed room * you stay from 20 euros per person and great AirBnB apartments * are also available from 70 euros per night. If you are traveling with a camper, you will find campsites where you can stay for as little as 7 euros. In addition, you should plan a small amount for electricity and shower tokens. The prices for a camper or rental car are also everywhere at a similar price level.
There are also no major price differences for gasoline. You pay between 1.20 and 1.35 euros per liter and the diesel price is usually between 0.80 and 0.95 euros per liter. Here you can see the current gasoline prices to expect.
If you are not traveling with a rental car and prefer to travel the country by public transport, you have to expect similar prices everywhere. Depending on the length of the journey, you have to plan between ten and 60 euros for a bus or train ticket.
You can find a great insight into the costs on the homepage of 100% Pure New Zealand - a page that you should definitely visit before your trip to New Zealand!
Shopping is cheaper on the North Island
If you choose the North Island, you can get away with groceries cheaper. This is mainly due to the fact that the North Island is much more densely populated, there are more shopping opportunities and the transport routes to the supermarkets are much shorter.
The 5 highlights of New Zealand's North Island!
# 1: visit the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo!
One place that you absolutely must visit during your New Zealand North Island trip is Waitomo. In this area there are several caves in which glowing animals shine in the dark and give you a unique moment. If you drive a boat through the caves in which you can barely see your hand in front of your eyes, you have the feeling that you are traveling under an impressive starry sky.
A great alternative to the much-visited Waitomo Glowworm Cave is the Cave of the Spirit or Spellbound Glowworm Cave, which you only have to share with a few other travelers. You will certainly not forget your visit anytime soon, because there is hardly any other place in the world where you can experience something similar. If you want to see the glowing animals, you have to choose the North Island.
Tip for real adventurers: There is also the option of abseiling 100 meters into one of the caves! As soon as your feet hit the ground after this adrenaline rush, you will explore a completely different world! This adventure is offered by Waitomo Adventures.
# 2: Surf the waves at Ruapuke Beach in Raglan
Are you addicted to surfing, do you really want to learn or just enjoy the chilled surf vibe? You're in the right place in Raglan, near Hamilton. A still rather unknown beach is Ruapuke Beach, which is a bit outside of the city and waits for you with perfect waves. In New Zealand, you can hardly find a better place to hit the waves for the first time. For experienced surfers, Ruapuke Beach is also a great spot where you can have a lot of fun with powerful waves!
Even as a non-surfer, you should visit Raglan. It is an extremely relaxed place that you will like with the many cafes and the unique vibe. You will also find other experiences there: How about, for example, a quick gallop along the beach or a small kayak tour where, with a little luck, you might even come across orcas in the summer?
No. 3: Take one of the most beautiful day hikes in the world in the Tongariro National Park
Did you know that one of the world's most beautiful day hikes is waiting for you on the North Island? The Tongariro Alpine Crossing Trek takes you 17 kilometers through the Tongariro National Park. During the seven to eight-hour hike you will pass huge volcanoes and crater lakes. In addition, with the Emerald Lake, an emeralad-colored lake awaits you, which you only get to see in New Zealand.
You should definitely undertake the day hike if you like to be out in nature and are into impressive landscapes. In one day you get to see the diversity of the country that makes New Zealand so special! If you have a little more time, you should consider extending this hike and turning it into a multi-day trekking adventure - you can find more information here!
# 4: speed down a seven-meter high waterfall on a raft!
A unique adventure that will make your heart beat faster is a rafting trip over the seven meter high Tutea Falls waterfalls. The tingling sensation that spreads in your body before you go down the waterfall in the raft cannot be described - after all, it is also the world's highest waterfall that can be rafted on!
The tour, which Sebastian tells you more about in this post, is classified as level 5 and with three waterfalls and 14 rapids provides the absolute thrill. If you choose the North Island, you shouldn't miss this experience!
# 5: explore Cathedral Cove by kayak!
Cathedral Cove is also on your must-see must-see list on the North Island. The beach section and the rock formation are amazing and there is a very special way to discover Cathedral Cove - by kayak! While most travelers hike to the beach, you paddle your kayak over here, dock at the beach, and take a stroll in this unreal place!
You also have the chance to spot dolphins or even orcas in the water on the way to Cathedral Cove - even if you need a happy day for that. The kayak tour is really beautiful and especially in the evening or early morning you will be amazed by the sight of the sea and the rock formation!
The 5 highlights of New Zealand's South Island
No. 1: Jump off cliffs up to 14 meters high while canyoning in Wanaka
Have you ever gone to your limits in canyoning and even one step further? If you've already done such a tour, you know exactly how awesome it is to abseil down huge waterfalls, jump off high cliffs or race down natural slides. If you have never discovered a canyon, it will be high time in New Zealand at the latest and in the vicinity of Wanaka you will experience one of the most adventurous canyoning tours in New Zealand!
In the gorge you can expect jumps from cliffs up to 14 meters high and abseiling down to a depth of 60 meters! For an adventurer like you, the gorge is a huge adventure playground where you can really let off steam!
# 2: swim with dolphins in Kaikoura!
What Hermanus is to South Africa, Kaikoura is to New Zealand: namely, the country's whale capital! Kaikoura is north of Christchurch and in addition to whale watching, you can swim with dolphins here. Take a boat out to sea and as soon as a group of curious dolphins approaches, you grab your snorkeling equipment and jump into the water with them. The dolphins are incredibly curious and come very close to you.
On the tour, the chances are very good to admire other marine mammals. In addition to the dolphins, there are often sperm whales, humpback whales and sometimes even orcas and blue whales in this region! If you discover a whale in the water, this moment is sure to take your breath away!
No. 3: visit the hiking paradise in Mount Cook National Park!
There is also a great hiking region waiting for you on the South Island that can compete with the Tongariro National Park. In Mount Cook National Park, which is centrally located on the South Island, you will find the mighty Mount Cook, which at 3,724 meters is the highest mountain in New Zealand. A hike in this national park should be at the top of your South Island to-do list! When the impressive Mount Cook appears, you forget all the effort and are just happy! Depending on which direction you are coming from, you will see the giant with the turquoise-blue mountain lake in front of it - a sight that you will never forget!
As a nature lover you will get your money's worth in this national park and next to Mount Cook there are snowfields, glaciers and many hiking and mountain bike trails waiting for you! You will definitely not get bored here. It is much more likely that you will not be able to decide which adventure to jump into first.
# 4: jump off the plane over the Queenstown mountains!
You surely know that New Zealand is the ultimate adventure land and that there are many adventures to experience that provide plenty of thrills. A very special experience is a parachute jump over the mountains of Queenstown. Even the panoramic view that awaits you during the flight is impressive and you get to see the mountains from a completely different perspective. The free fall lasts about a minute, which goes by faster than you would like!
It is impossible to describe this feeling and you have to experience it yourself to understand it. If you land on the ground with a permanent grin on your face, you would like to get on the next plane and jump into the depths one more time!
# 5: take a kayak tour of the Marlborough Sounds
A kayak tour awaits you on the South Island that is well worth it! The Marlborough Sounds are located in the north of the South Island and consist of many small islands and peninsulas. The entire area is therefore the perfect destination for all water sports fans and one of the most beautiful areas to go on a kayak tour. Especially the nature, which will take your breath away again, will inspire you from the kayak.
With a little luck, you might even see fur seals and other impressive marine animals during your trip, here too, for example, orcas cavort from time to time. After all the adventures that the South Island has to offer, the tour is a great change from canyoning or skydiving.
Which of the islands do you choose?
Which adventures do you like more? Are you going to the North Island, where the incredible Glowworm Caves and the wonderful Tongariro National Park are waiting for you, or do you prefer the mighty Mount Cook and the canyoning tour on the South Island?
The great thing about New Zealand is that both islands are absolutely amazing and you can't make a wrong decision! Whichever island you choose: You will experience an adventurous time! You will probably be planning your next trip to New Zealand immediately after your return and for this reason it is not a decision against one of the two islands, but you just decide which one to visit first!
Have you been to New ZealandP? Which island did you like better and why? In your opinion, which adventures shouldn't be missed? Feel free to share your opinion with other adventurers in the comments!
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