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New Zealand: North Island vs. South Island

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Milford Sound, New Zealand
If you are looking for a country with beautiful, diverse, picturesque and breathtaking vistas, then New Zealand is the place for you. This place in the South Pacific features active volcanoes, rugged mountains with snow caps, scenic beaches, rolling hills and pasture lands, raging rivers, tranquil lakes full of trout, rough rivers that have clear water, and fjords that have not been touched by man since the beginning of time. It is home to some of the most exotic flora and fauna in the world.

New Zealand consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. Both have plenty of natural and some man-made tourist attractions but sometimes touring the two islands takes too much time. It is more practical to visit just one and maybe come back for the other on your next tour. The question is, which one is better?

The North Island

In general, the North Island has scenic beaches, rolling farmland and lush forests as well as active volcanoes that have mud pools. Compared to the South Island, its surf and beaches are better and one of the reasons swimmers prefer it is because of the warm water. The active volcanoes give you an opportunity to soak in the hot pools and observe the geothermal activity.

If you are the type that likes to learn about the native New Zealand people and their culture, North Island should be your destination since it is where you can meet more Maoris. Probably the highlight of any North Island tour is The Bay of Islands, located almost at the northernmost tip. It is the country’s most popular destination when it comes to fishing, sailing and other tourist activities.

In the remote possibility that you get bored of the scenery, you can visit some man-made attractions like Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Sky Tower.

The South Island

The South Island also has nice beaches, forests full of beech trees, huge glaciers and those mountains and fjords mentioned earlier. The island is perfect for motorcyclists, too. The roads, combined with the views, make the place a rider’s heaven. Compared to the North Island which has only four true mountains, it has one large and long mountain called the Southern Alps; because of this, there are more places to ski. The island has a lower population which means more nature than people, making the area perfect for adventurers.

It is easy to see that each islands has its own charms. After learning about the offerings of each one, you will be able to judge which island is worth going for as your first destination. You should visit the other as well because New Zealand as a whole has so much to offer. If you enjoyed watching The Lord of the Rings saga, you will definitely enjoy seeing both islands. It is important to note that the North Island and the South Island have been used for filming the movies.

It all goes down to your interests but whichever you choose, you can be sure that each one is worthwhile.

Photo credit: Vicki Mar (www.flickr.com/photos/vmar/)

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