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Shreya from Bangalore asked

North or South Island

I am planning to go on a  ten day trip to New Zealand in Feb 2014 for my honeymood. Due to limited availability of time I need to pick either north or south island. We want to drive around, goto beaches, indulge in water activities . Which part of the country should we chose?

New Zealand

6 Answers
top answer by
Annemarie from New York City

Hi Shreya. I did this exact honeymoon trip with my husband last fall. We split our time between both islands but that really limited our time in each city and there were some places, like Auckland, that I wish we'd had more time in.

Because you mentioned beaches, I want to tell you to stay on the north island, which is also where I spent a lot of my trip. The north island has more large cities like Auckland and Wellington, as well as beaches like Cathedral Cove and  Waiheke Island and Maori culture in Rotorua.

The south island is fantastic, my love of Queenstown is well documented if you search for "New Zealand" questions on Trippy, but that island is more for adventure activities and sports, skiing, nature hikes, etc. So, if you're looking for that, then south is the way to go.

Here are some of the links I bookmarked during my own honeymoon planning:

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Auckland (city)
  2. Wellington (city)
  3. Cathedral Cove (attraction)
  4. Waiheke Island (island)
  5. Rotorua (city)
  6. Queenstown (city)
likes (7) thanks
answered by
Patrick from Rotorua

Hi Shreya, 

In NZ there is no shortage of great sights ans definitely you should visit both. North and South Islands. However, for beaches, I would definitely choose North Island as the south has wonderful ocean views, but few beaches. 

I would spend some time in Auckland to get some of the great dining and go to some of the nearby beaches like  Takapuna and  Muriwai

For our beach fix take a day or two in  Raglan and learn how to surf at the  Raglan Surfing School you'll love it!

Take a drive through Matamata and visit  Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours it is stunning.

If surfing isn't your thing. then drive up to Whitiangaand visit Coromandel Peninsula... try paddle boarding and visit  Whenuakura (Donut) Island in  Whangamata as well as  Hot Water Beach. Be sure to go to  Lukes Kitchen it is the epitome of beach life dining. 

Drive through Mount Maunganui in Bay of Plenty and stroll through the shops.

I would then inland to visit my hometown  Rotorua and check out the many attractions to get your adrenalin fix  AgroventuresZORB® Rotorua or  OgoSkyline Rotorua. Visit the kiwis  Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park. Of you really want to get the full fledged Kiwi Experience, try  Off Road NZ... challenge your husband to a race! Take a scenic flight to White Island Volcanic Air Safaris, I promise you will ever forget it!, get to know the locals  Te Puia or  Tamaki Maori Village or  Mitai Maori Village. I would stay  Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa or  Black Swan or if your wallet allows  Treetops Luxury Lodge Rotoruaor  Solitaire Lodge. Go Rafting! Brave the largest commercially operated waterfall in the world; it will make you feel as if you conquered the world!! 

Take a day and visit Taupo... On the way there you should definitely try "The Squeeze" and visit  Huka Falls. Skydive Skydive Taupoand admire both coasts and the volcanoes of Ruapehu. In Taupo there is  Huka Lodge Taupo and  Hilton Lake Taupo . On a lighter note, check out the.  McDonald's it was votes the best MacDonald's in the World!!!

Then head to Hawke's Bay. Visit some farmer's markets, I love the art deco city... Stay at the  Masonic Art Deco Hotel and visit  Mission Estate Winery

Travel south to  Martinborough and take a wine tour. Stay  Martinborough Hotel and enjoy this amazing part of our country.

Drive diown to Wellington and enjoy  Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum Of New Zealand as well as some of the best cafés and restaurants in NZ. Visit  Weta Workshopand see the magic of middle earth come alive. there are many restaurants to try and you can treat yourself to  InterContinental. Some unique shopping in Wellington. You can catch a flight back to Auckland for cheap.

Great Indian food in Rotorua, Auckland and Wellington.

Enjoy your trip

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Takapuna (city)
  2. Muriwai (city)
  3. Raglan (city)
  4. Raglan Surfing School (attraction)
  5. Matamata (city)
  6. Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours (attraction)
  7. Whitianga (city)
  8. Coromandel Peninsula (attraction)
  9. Whenuakura (Donut) Island (attraction)
  10. Whangamata (city)
  11. Hot Water Beach (attraction)
  12. Lukes Kitchen (restaurant)
  13. Mount Maunganui (attraction)
  14. Rotorua (city)
  15. Agroventures (attraction)
  16. ZORB® Rotorua (attraction)
  17. Ogo (attraction)
  18. Skyline Rotorua (attraction)
  19. Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park (attraction)
  20. Off Road NZ (attraction)
  21. Volcanic Air Safaris (attraction)
  22. Te Puia (attraction)
  23. Tamaki Maori Village (attraction)
  24. Mitai Maori Village (attraction)
  25. Regent of Rotorua Boutique Hotel & Spa (hotel)
  26. Black Swan (hotel)
  27. Treetops Luxury Lodge Rotorua (attraction)
  28. Solitaire Lodge (hotel)
  29. Huka Falls (attraction)
  30. Skydive Taupo (attraction)
  31. Huka Lodge Taupo (attraction)
  32. Hilton Lake Taupo (hotel)
  33. McDonald's (restaurant)
  34. Hawke's Bay (region)
  35. Masonic Art Deco Hotel (hotel)
  36. Mission Estate Winery (attraction)
  37. Martinborough (city)
  38. Martinborough Hotel (attraction)
  39. Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum Of New Zealand (attraction)
  40. Weta Workshop (attraction)
  41. InterContinental (hotel)
likes (3) thanks
answered by
Lisa from Wellington

Start in  Auckland stay as long as you like. It's a city. Not very exciting. haha. 
If you have a rental car there's a number of beaches around Auckland City within driving distance... Like Piha Beach. 

Alternatively, travel to  Waihi Beach it's not to far from Auckland - you can travel by bus -- Naked Bus and Intercity both offer $1 fares (plus booking fees). and

Both bus services are really similar in what you get: a seat on a bus. Some buses have free wifi too, depends on the coach/bus though. Not all buses have it. 

In Waihi, there's a lot of touristy stuff to check out. Look on here for more

Not far from Waihi is the beach as well. (Waihi Beach). 
Down the road, is  Tauranga and  Mount Maunganui (next to Tauranga city). 

It has a "mean" surf beach, also great walks: climb Mt Maunganui, great views! (Or at least walk around the base of it.)

Check out the Hot Pools at the base of Mount Maunganui. 

Travel to  Rotorua and have a go at Zorbing. It's a giant ball thing you go inside and 'roll' down a hill inside! 
You can have a 'wet zorb' with water added, they even offer prizes to people who do the wet zorb and don't get wet!!

Taupo is not far down the road from Rotorua. Rotorua and Taupo are both the "lake areas" and there's plenty of options for water sports, jet boating, swimming, etc. Taupo is a great area to camp and do water sports. 

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Auckland (city)
  2. Waihi Beach (city)
  3. Tauranga (city)
  4. Mount Maunganui (attraction)
  5. Rotorua (city)
  6. Taupo (city)
likes (3) thanks
answered by
kaz from Cape Town


If you are looking for beaches think about heading up to the Bay Of Islands, Northland (above Auckland). If you are planning to drive, it is a beautiful part of the country with stunning beaches around every corner.  There are also tours & cruises available, see

The South Island is also a fantastic place to visit but has more nature,  wildlife & adventure activities to offer i.e. hiking, vineyards, glaciers, alpine lakes, marine & birdlife. The weather is cooler down south too.

A great site for more info is

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bay Of Islands (region)
  2. Northland (attraction)
  3. Auckland (city)
  4. South Island (attraction)
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answered by
Roger from San Marcos (Texas)

With that amt of time South Island Queenstown/ Milford Sound. Also TranzAlpine rail can be pretty trip & time saver.

Comments (1)

10 days min on the all 3 legs extra 2-3 on flight & connections . Car rental can cut down time too.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. South Island (attraction)
  2. Queenstown (city)
  3. Milford Sound (city)
comments (1)
likes (1) thanks
answered by
Christie from Hershey

The beaches are fabulous wherever you go.  The South Island is more dramatic - higher mountains and mind-blowing spectacular sights with the jet boating, etc.  But the north island is easy to drive and just beautiful, too.  I have been 3 times and can't get enough.  You can't see it all in 10 days so count on going back.

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