New Zealand stands strong and proud as one of the world’s most exciting and inspiring travel destinations. It’s famous for its jaw-dropping natural beauty and its original and exhilarating adventures, among many other things.
New Zealand’s biggest draws are well documented and known across the world. Travellers flock in their thousands each year to climb the Franz Josef Glacier, sail between the protruding rock formations of the Milford Sound and take on the knee knocking adventures of the Queenstown bungys’.
However, while these adventures are undoubtedly incredible there are some more less well known gems waiting in the wings to be discovered, Ok, not exactly discovered but these are places a little less travelled, but equally as worthy of shouting about from the roof tops when planning your visit to New Zealand.
Our 8 Tips for New Zealand’s Lesser Known Travel Gems
Snorkel at Goat Island
This marine reserve on the North Island is jam packed with sealife and is the perfect place for a snorkelling day trip from Auckland.
Swim between the rocks and watch the shellfish and brightly coloured fish in what is, without a doubt, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful, and wildlife rich, nature spots.
The Blob is basically everyone’s childhood dream come true – and then supersized.
It doesn’t need much explanation: one gigantic inflatable pillow/bouncy castle hybrid sits on the water, one excited person perches on the end facing the river, while another person throws themselves on top of it as hard as they can causing the first person to be thrown up into the air and into the water. Yep, A-MAZ-ING.
Try it for yourself at the Waimarino Adventure Park, in Bethlehem near Tauranga in the North Island.
Surf the Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes
The dunes at Te Paki on the North Island can stand up to 2000m high and provide the perfect setting for a day spent sand surfing at super, and rather petrifying, speeds.
Head to New Zealand’s most northerly town Kaitala and make your way the dunes. Prepare for sand up your nose, in your pants and a whole lot of fun!
Get Close to the South Pole at Slope Point
Slope Point is the Southern most point on New Zealand’s South Island. At ‘only’ 4,803kms to the Antarctica it’s the closest you can get to the South Pole outside South America.
Dramatic landscapes, rolling greens hills, and lots of sheep, collide with the cold southern ocean to create one of the most beautiful spots on the Kiwi coastline.
Heli-Bike in Wanaka
The view over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding area from high in the surrounding mountains is incredible and there’s no better way to explore and get the most from the surrounds than by bike.
Take a trip along the rocky Clutha River to Lake Hawea and stop off along the way for an awesome, and active, day trip outside of quiet Wanaka.
Visit Tunnel Beach
Tunnel beach is a secluded and insanely beautiful stretch of beach in Dunedin, South Island.
The beach has been exposed from behind huge rocks thanks to thousands of years of erosion and while it might be a bit of an effort to get to (thanks to lots of climbing and scaling of large rocks) once you’re there everything suddenly becomes worth it. Expect breathtaking views, thousand year old fossils and beautiful rock formations crafted by the ocean.
Walk the world Steepest street
Well why not?! Seeing as you’re in Dunedin, pay a visit to Baldwin Street and attempt to walk the length of it. There are 34 houses on the street, which rises 1m for 2.86m, meaning that the top part of the street is so steep that a special concrete has to be used on the road to keep the resident’s cars gripped to the road. Errrr, I think I’ll just stick to climbing the 270 steps thanks.
So this is a little bit… erm, different. But that’s lucky as that’s exactly why you’re going halfway across the world right, to try something different? A Schweeb is a metal pod attached to, and suspended from, a rail in Rotorua (the only place you can experience it in the world dontcha know). The aim of the game is to race, (so bring your travel mates along). Take to the rail in your own personal Schweeb, and pedal as fast as you can around the track. This is one of the most fun things you can do in New Zealand and one of the most fun things you can do in New Zealand.