North or South? How to discover the best of New Zealand

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© Boat International
© Boat International

There are two sides to New Zealand – or rather two ends – but which island should you choose? The spectacular subtropical North, or the rugged, glacier-carved South? Craig Tansley takes you on a whistle-stop tour of both.

Kiwis are famously a friendly bunch unless the All Blacks are playing, but if one subject can divide them it’s the great North v South Island debate. New Zealand offers superyachts 9,000 miles of one of the world’s most diverse coastlines: from golden sandy beaches in the country’s far north to rugged mountain ranges in the country’s deep south; but which is better? Agreed, it’s not exactly Sophie’s choice. Both the islands offer breathtaking landscapes and enough adventure activities to keep your inner Bear Grylls entertained for weeks. “New Zealand is so diverse in a relatively small area,” says America’s Cup commentator Peter Montgomery. “The subtropical Bay of Islands and the spectacular sights of Fiordland are so different they could be in separate countries.”

According to Duthie Lidgard, managing director of Asia Pacific Superyachts New Zealand, it comes down to personal preference, just like your taste in wine. “The North Island is fantastic for shorter trips,” he says. “It’s lighter, warmer, breezy and relaxing; it’s like a light Riesling. The South is big and robust – especially the weather in Fiordland – like a full heavy Cabernet.”

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