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Thread: Differences in North and South Island

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    Stats_chick's Avatar
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    Default Differences in North and South Island

    Are there any significant differences between the two islands when it comes to home prices? I realize that the closer to a downtown area that you get the more expensive the homes will be but are there any other significant differences between the islands?

    Do you have a preference for one island over another? We are not sure where to focus our search and much of it depends on job prospects. Any ideas or hints?

    We are going to try to get a few weeks in NZ. How long would you say it would take to get a good feel for each island? One week each be enough? Or do you think 2 weeks would even be enough for each island?

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    Ah, the great north/south divide . Yes there are differences between the 2 islands and a fair bit of lighthearted banter goes on about it between the residents of both islands.

    Just a few comments from me as my experience is very limited. North Island tends to be milder with more rain whereas the South Island is colder in winter but can be drier. SI is more rugged than NI and parts of SI have been likened to Scotland, if that means anything to you. NI is more densely populated than SI and may be a bit more expensive, which includes housing, but there should be more job opportunities because of the larger cities.

    I hope a few more people will add their more informed comments, too. As we have advised in the past, rather than mentally settling on one part of NZ to aim for, it may be better to wait until a suitable job comes along and let that dictate where you end up. You can always move on once you have become familiar with the various regions and have a better idea of where you want to go.
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    We traveled the circumference of the SI. The east coast had alot of open views of the alps and wavy land. The west coast had alot of rugged earth and thicker greenery. Never travelled the NI, yet!
    Home prices differ to populations, I think.... Christchurch vs. Greymouth, Nelson vs. Invercargill, you will see the closer you are from whatever it may be, it will cost more, does that make sense?

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    Why not go onto realestate.co.nz and look up a few house prices in the various cities.

    To give you some idea, Auckland is expensive, and then Wellington, and then Christchurch is cheapest.

    Have no idea of suburbs for the first 2, but if you want something commutable to CHCH CBD, you can check our Waimakariri in Canterbury .. which is the area just North of CHCH, and Selwyn. The further out you go, the cheaper it is.

    I am sure someone else will be along that can advise you on the other cities.

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    If you still want to go over and get the lay of the land, I'd think that one week per island would not be enough. I'd recommend giving a city & surrounds a few days each, and allow for a travel day or half day between. If you just want to get a rough idea of what each island & major centers (Auks, Welli & Chch) are like, then two weeks total might be OK.

    Other than the Big 3 cities, consider Hamilton, Dunedin, perhaps Nelson, Napier/Hastings or Invercargill. There are others, like Palmerston North and Gisborne, but I haven't been to them. Do a little research to find out if they might want your skills, to focus your travel planning.
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    Great suggestions and insights. We are not city people so dense population areas are not for us. I may need to be within commuting distance though for job prospects. I like the idea of the South island because I would prefer it to be on the dry side. I love mountains and outdoorsy type activities.

    More food for thought. I have gone to some of the real estate sites however it can be overwhelming when you don't have a particular area in mind. I realize that part of the search will be dependent on where I would find a job and since I have a few different things I can do with my educational background I need to decide which route I want to move toward.

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    I don't know if you could put any sort of itinerary together with ideas from here. The site seems to be designed for weekend trips but you could pick out stuff that appeals to you and make up your own route around the islands. This will also give you some idea of what to do and where to go and it has a travel planner. This is their interactive map .
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    We spent 2.5 weeks on the SI, and I felt rushed a bit to take it all in... or maybe I did take it all in and didnt want to move along, either way...it is a devestating experience to fly back to LAX... what a dump LA is!
    I got online and reserved a camper van in ChCh and traveled that way, which was a must to enjoy NZ for me. There are plenty of parks to camp and to get a hot shower. Or there is always the pampered way, we got pampered in ChCh from a friend that had an historical apartment at peterborough and columbo st....wow, tisk,,tisk..the front door took a skeleton key.
    Have a good time planning your trip

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    You can't do either island in 2 weeks. We spent a month just doing the NI when we first arrived and still didn't see all the places we wanted to.

    As for densely populated areas - they don't exist! AKL is probs the one exception - I know whenever we go there I can't wait to get out. I am filled with that 'Why on earth would people want to live here?' feeling. Can't speak for Cch as haven't been. Wellington has a lovely feel about it and so does Ham. Don't picture NZ cities like UK cities, they're nothing like. Everything here is much more spaced out, more sprawly. There are areas where the houses are built closer to one another, they remind me of the new English estates that are springing up - you know the ones where they have several designs of house and then mix them all up on little cul-de-sacs to try and make it look like they're not all the same when they so obviously are. Everyone has a little plot of land mostly taken up with house with a small patio for the obligatory bbq. Surprisingly, NOT, these are mostly populated by UK immigrants who don't seem to mind that their neighbours can see directly into all of their windows, if they can see past the fence erected 3 feet from their property. It smacks of UK removed. I don't know why people move from the UK to buy a house on an estate that's exactly like the UK - but who am I to judge Each to their own eh.

    We were country people, living in rural Nottinghamshire village with Co-op, Post Office, hairdresser, butcher, corner shop, chippy, about 30 mins from nearest big town. We now about 15 mins from city centre, village has a dairy (corner shop), chippy and garage - not petrol though. Most of the places in NZ are like this only they call them towns not villages. You won't find it hard to find the kind of thing you're used to.

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    As everyone has mentioned there is a huge difference between both Island but in the same breathe there are again huge differences from one side of one island to another.

    I would take a little longer than two weeks to scout around. I would recommend 3-4 weeks. You want to get a good idea of each place you visit especially if you are thinking of residing there.

    I have travelled around both the North and South Island a number of times and there are so many places to see that you will never see them all in one trip.

    You should do a bit of research and see where the jobs in your skill area are and plan your trip around those area's.

    Remember when you do eventually move across you will still want to holiday/do long weekends away in NZ so you dont want to see everything.

    To sum it up in my eyes the difference between both islands, the North Island is the place you work and bar a few cities in the South Island the SI is more the holiday destination/tourist area for me.

    Everyone is different and it all comes down to what you want and are looking for out of NZ.

    Have fun exploring

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