We’re South Islanders!

South Island New Zealand

At the end of one of my recent posts, I exclaimed ‘we’re south islanders!’ This was a big deal as when we left for our north island adventures in February, one of our goals was to get clarity on whether or not we wanted to move to the north island.

We have spent a considerable amount of time now on the north island, having seen probably 4/5’ths of the island. We’ve crossed the Cook Strait on the the Picton-Wellington ferry four times over a five year time span and each time we do, we comment on the different ‘feeling’ we get when we land on one or the other side.

Geographically, the two islands are approximate in size. Population-wise, the north island is home to 75% of the popluation — 3 million — while the south island is only home to 1 million. Topographically, the two islands are very different: the north is much more volcanic and dry, the south is more mountainous and wet. Some of this is explained by tectonics and the way that the Pacific & Australian plates meet in each of the islands (the two are sliding past each other underneath the length of the south island, hence the Alps which run down the Western coast; and the two plates diagonally cross through the north island from Wellington through Napier in such a way as to create a volcanic range).

So they look different. And they feel different. It’s hard to articulate exactly what we mean by this; we’ve been trying to find the words. The north island has more of a higher buzz; the south island ‘feels’ more calm. We like it better down here.

New Zealand Sunshine Hours

This is good for us to know as we’re in the midst of searching for our ‘dream’ property, this great big piece of perfect land which we are so keen on finding, hopefully the place which we will call home for decades to come. Bruce & I have gone round and round as to where we should focus our efforts. North Island? South Island? Christchurch area? Other warmer areas? If we have no constraints on where to go, then how do we make our decision?

Pigeon Bay Banks PeninsulaPigeon Bay 2 Banks PeninsulaBanks Peninsula

Ruling out the North Island is a step in the right direction. Interesting to note, when we talked with a few north island kiwis about where they would choose to move if they had no restrictions, they all said, ‘to the south island.’ So, we’re on the right track. Now the question becomes, ‘Where on the south island?’ What resonates with us?

It felt good to come back home to Christchurch. We’re connected here and we’re starting to build our community. And we love the Banks Peninsula which is a stone’s throw away. Every time we go there, to hike or to sightsee, my heart flutters at its beauty. My breathe gets taken away. We went out there yesterday to Pigeons Bay to hike around — look at these gorgeous photos. We could have a piece of that. But what about long term water issues? Climate issues?

New Zealand Mean TemperaturesNew Zealand Rainfall

We’re looking into this as the cold is a factor for us. Hence our consideration of the Nelson region which boasts some of the warmest weather in the country. It’s a five to seven hour drive from Christchurch to Nelson; we’d almost need to start over again. Hard decisions. Hard discussions. We’re looking. We’re absorbing. But one thing we know for sure….. We’re south islanders!