New Zealand is a potpourri of history, spirituality, culture and nature. From its sprawling forests to its emerald and pink lakes, pristine beaches, charming vineyards, picturesque landscapes, scenic islands and active volcanic zones, there are many roads for travellers to follow. Many filmmakers, artists, solo travellers, adrenaline junkies and photographers are attracted to the enticing backdrops and the wide array of activities provided by this Island country. A visit to New Zealand does not always have to be a visit to the cliché cities and towns on the beaten path. Explore untouched and lesser known locales with your family, to add some adventure to your trip. With many sights to see and things to do, here are 6 destinations you must visit, ditching the mainstream tourist traps.
This destination is a nature lover’s paradise. Amidst the towering snow-capped mountains lies a beautiful blue lake - Lake Quill. No matter how many lakes you might have visited, Lake Quill will still surprise you with its elegance and aura. Beautifully nestled on a mountain top in Fiordland National Park, it is an amazing journey to cross the funnels of the Sutherland falls to reach this alluring setting. The mesmerising picture that it paints with its blues, whites and greens is a feast to the eyes and a delight for the soul. An amazing day can be spent by trekking or hiking to this serene spot with your family for a perfect adventurous trip. Trek to the lake or get a bird’s eye view of this blue water body by taking a scenic helicopter ride.
How fascinating is the fact that this place made a cameo in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Even with its cinematic fame, this alluring setting does not get as much importance as it should. Set in the beautiful hamlet of Glenorchy, Earnslaw Burn features an icefall which tumbles down a 2000m rock face to supply numerous waterfalls. Its stunning alpine backdrop offers a spirit of adventure and solitude, depending on your interests. It is a hub for adventure enthusiasts as it provides a plethora of activities like horse-riding, mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, paragliding, abseiling and much more. You can also set up a camp and watch the sun melt into the towering mountains.
Wish to explore the hidden paths of the South Island? Head to Karamea, a hamlet which is placed on the edge of the West Coast region. Sandwiched between forest hills and the Tasman sea, this town serves up a taste of the wilderness. Home to some enchanting forests and caves, you will be able to add new dimensions to your adventure activities. Known to be a hiker’s paradise, this town offers adventure activities like short walks, one day hikes and multi-day trekking opportunities like a Great Walk. If cardio is not your thing, you can go kayaking or caving. Want to relax a little and soak up in the sun? No worries, all you have to do is go to the mesmerising Scotts Beach. Do remember to pack a picnic basket while you head to this beautiful beach. Discover Maori history and get to know more about their traditions by heading to the Karamea Museum.
There are many things to capture on your camera at Curio Bay, which include penguins, whales and dolphins to name a few. Interestingly, this place has a fossil forest that dates back to the Jurassic era. This fossil forest is about 180 million years old, being one out of the three accessible fossil forests in the world. The bay also houses rare yellow-eyed Penguins and a resident pod of Hector’s dolphins. Curio Bay surrounds you with jaw-dropping scenery and exotic wildlife. Whether you explore the forests, swimming with the friendly dolphins or watching the sea lions laze at the shore, this coastal destination is worth a visit with your family.
Whangarei is a city which rests beside the sea. The seashore is lined with a number of eateries and entertainment spots that make this location vibrant and lively. Landscapes decorated with beautiful colonial architecture, fancy restaurants and cafes, iconic museums, colourful art galleries and specialty shops add to the aura of this alluring town. Heading west of the city, you will come across the suburb of Maunu. This place has a natural history museum that consists Kiwi bird houses. Besides it, there is a nursery for the native birds. Whangarei also houses the Whangarei falls that tumble over the cliffs, feeding the natural pool that lies at its foot. It is a complete divine sight of nature with pleasant sounds of gushing water.
One of the major highlights along the stretch of the Forgotten World Highway is the small controversial town of Whangamomona. Controversial for historic and political reasons, this land is like none you have come across before. Vacationers visit Whangamomona to relish the celebrations of the Republic Day of the countryside which is celebrated every two years. Celebrations include activities like gumboot throwing, whip cracking and possum skinning which depicts the humorous side of the local residents. Also, there are various stalls which sell traditional handicrafts. The historic, Local Hotel of Whangamomona, is the only bar in this neighbourhood. Travelers stop here to grab a meal and to have a look at the collection of photos which illustrates the town’s old days. A day’s trip or a halt at Whangamomona is enough to capture and enjoy the history, culture and the refinement of the rich country hill.
Every corner of this alluring land will fill you up with memories and experiences different from the rest. These lesser known places and activities make for an unforgettable trip to New Zealand. So, pack your bags for these untouched paradises instead of the busy main cities and try something different this year.