Many of us have been to New Zealand already. The small islands have so much to see and to explore that we want to take the time to introduce you to some of the lesser known, stunning places to see. Whether you’re looking for beautiful sights, relaxing walks and hikes or incredible beaches, our travel tips for New Zealand will amaze you. Enjoy the read!
On the eastern coast, roughly in the middle of New Zealand’s north island, you’ll find a hidden gem about an hour drive away from the main highway. Castlepoint is famous for it’s lighthouse atop a windy cliff, overlooking a beautiful bay. When wandering around in the afternoon waning sun, the chocolate brown beaches reflect the sky and the landscape in the shallow water of the bays. It’s a great place for the kids to take a sheltered bath, or if you go further out, you can find great spots for surfing.
At the southern end of New Zealand’s north island, you’ll find an intriguing area for a fascinating walk, the Putangirua Pinnacles. The road there is a sight in itself: On the left side, mountains are rising up, while the open sea shimmers on the right side. The area offers different walks that lead through forest or the picturesque and impressive river bed (it may contain water to cross!). When you reach the pinnacles, you can see how the erosion formed the spectacular landscape. Don’t forget your camera!
Up in Northland at the Bay of Islands, a ferry can take you from Paihia to stunning Urupukapuka Island far out in the bay. This hidden gem boasts incredible, turquoise-blue water, gorgeous beaches and a network of easy to medium hiking trails all across the little island. While walking up and down, you can discover large shells on pristine beaches, enjoy the breathtaking views over the Bay of Islands, steep cliffs and the open sea. When you’re done hiking the island, relax with a delicious wine and a cool beer in the restaurant near the ferry pier.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
If you’re keen to learn more about the volcanic activity in New Zealand at your own pace, we can recommend the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. With a large sheet full of fascinating information, you can embark on a self-guided walk through the park to dive deep into the history of this incredible place. Hold your camera ready to snap the boiling earth and lake beneath you! When you’ve reached the bottom of the valley, a boat trip can take you out on the lake where the once famous Pink and White Terraces were located before they disappeared during the Mount Tarawera volcanic eruption in 1886. Comfortable: A bus is taking you to the top of the park again.
Bonus Tip: If you’re interested in the history of the Pink and White Terraces, you’ll enjoy reading “The Legend of the Mountain of Fire” by Sarah Lark and visiting the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.
If you ever wanted to feel like you’re the king (or queen) of the world, a visit to Wharariki Beach on the northwestern tip of the south island of New Zealand is right up your alley. The picturesque little trail leads you to a gigantic sand beach that became famous as background image of Windows. There are plenty of walks possible around the cliffs or to the sea lion pup colony, but even just a stroll along the beach is an image to behold. Huge caves line the beach while strong waves crash against the cliffs and offer a natural spectacle that will impress you with its rough beauty.