Want to visit New Zealand? In this article, we’ve gone beyond the well-known places from The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit.
We dug deeper and discovered some real gems that you probably haven’t heard about or even seen in pictures. Many locals refer to these attractions as ‘the real New Zealand’.
1. Blue Lake (Nelson Lakes National Park)
Located at the top of South Island is Nelson Lakes National Park. Inside the park can be found the pristine waters of Blue Lake, scientifically proven to be the clearest natural body of fresh water in the world. According to NIWA, the visibility in the lake is up to 80 meters (262.5 feet). Fancy a dip?
2. Mermaid Pool (Matapouri Bay)
A ten-minute drive from Tutukaka, Matapouri Bay is a small beach town in Northland, with white sandy beach and crystal clear waters. Over the hill rests nature’s perfect swimming pool, the Mermaid Pool.
A 3.5-hour drive north of Auckland and a quick boat ride across the Hokianga Harbour will take you to truly unique sand dunes, which angle directly into the Tasman Sea. Walk up the dunes and slide down on a boogie board and splash into the ocean!
4. Blue Spring (Putaruru)
Good things don’t always come easy. To reach Blue Spring, you must follow a track for about 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles). It’s not all bad, walking though native bush abundant with ferns and exotic looking flora. Over half of New Zealand’s bottled water comes from this majestic spring. The car park is on Whites Road, near Putaruru, which is located 2.5 hours from Auckland and 45 minutes from Hamilton.
5. Rere Rock Slide (Gisborne)
Despite being the most eastern city in New Zealand, Gisborne is well worth a visit. Thanks to Earth’s tilted axis, Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the sun each day! Visit one of the many beautiful beaches and watch the amazing sunrise, plus enjoy consistent surf or lounge around on the white sand. Drive 30 kilometers through native bush to Rere Rock Slide. Now, we’ve all boosted down water slides, sand dunes and hills, but time to take it to the next level. Grab yourself a boogie board, a biscuit, pool toy or your choice of sliding equipment, and plunge down 60 meters (197 feet) of rock face at Rere Rock Slide!
6. Castle Hill
Just 100 kilometers from South Island’s largest city, Christchurch, Castle Hill accommodates thousands of boulders scattered throughout a large farmland, which is surrounded by the picturesque Southern Alps. The Dalai Lama labeled Castle Hill “The Spiritual Centre of the Universe.” Here, not only can you appreciate the aesthetics, you can partake in the growing sport of bouldering. Check out this video shot by a drone and see if you agree with the name.
7. Tunnel Beach (Dunedin)
Besides Gannets, old buildings and the southern hemisphere’s steepest street, Dunedin offers miles of spectacular rugged coastline. Go down the coast to Tunnel Beach where you walk through a 1870s hand-carved tunnel to a beautiful secluded beach. It is best to visit Tunnel Beach at low tide so you can step foot on the truly amazing beach.
8. Te Waikoropupu Springs (Golden Bay)
Perhaps the South Island’s best-kept secret, Te Waikoropupu Springs is an absolute must-see in New Zealand. Stare at all the wonderful different colors and light playing under the water. Again, another gem with some of the clearest water fresh water in the world.
Located in the small community of Punakaiki, Pancake Rocks are of one the many wonders found on New Zealand’s jagged west coast. Check out giant limestone rocks, which have naturally been crafted into the shape of pancakes. Here you can also see the ocean waves explode through blowholes at high tide. Whatever you do, don’t miss a chance to experience Pancake Rocks.
10. Kerosene Creek (Rotorua)
As a result of extraordinary volcanic activity, a thermal wonderland has spawned in what we now know as Rotorua. You can bathe in hot springs, mud baths and appreciate colorful geothermal pools. Drive 30 minutes down a dirt road and then after a short walk you will discover a thermal waterfall, which is set in native bush. Need I say more?