Ever been here? 10 new places to visit in NZ

 | Colin Monteath
| Colin Monteath

We all have that friend (or it might even be you), that tells everyone they've been everywhere in New Zealand. Well let's put them to the test. We've compiled a list of 10 new places in NZ that are well worth the visit.

If you score over 3/10 we'd say you are doing quite well!

1. Nydia Bay - Pelorus Sound

You cannot ask for a better location than this |  <i>MarlboroughNZ</i>

Located in Pelorus Sound, a 4-5 hour walk will take you to Nydia Bay, smack bang in the middle of the Nydia Track.

The bay itself offers stunning views across the sound to Kenepuru Inlet, whose peninsulas fold into the distance, and provides a picturesque place to relax.

More than a century ago, steam-powered haulers dragged timber from the bush to Nydia Bay for milling, with remnants still visible of the railway line that carried timber to a 300m wharf for shipment by barge.

On the Track Lodge is a great place to stay, offering a number of chalets, cabins and a yurt. 

Go there with us:

Queen Charlotte and Abel Tasman Trails
Duration: 7 Days
Price: NZ$2895

View trip here.

2. Two Thumb Range - Mackenzie Country

Rex Simpson hut |  <i>Autal Farkas</i>

Chances are, unless you're an avid skier, you've driven right by the Two Thumb Range without even knowing.

You'll find this mountain range just a short drive from Lake Tekapo, it's and is a popular spot for back-country skiing and summer hiking. Our friends at Alpine Recreation offer ski touring tours through winter, staying at the Rex Simpson Hut - an incredible place to watch the stars or see the sun go down.

A walk along Snake Ridge up to Beuzenberg Peak offers expansive views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman overtopping the ridge.

Go there with us:

Best of Southern Alps Trek
Duration: 6 Days
Price from: NZ$2895


3. Clay Cliffs - Omarama

Explore the Clay Cliffs on the Alps 2 Ocean trail |  <i>Chris Cameron</i>

Okay, so some of you might have been here, but if you haven't, it's well worth the stop. Located just 10km out of Omarama, and accessible as a short detour off the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, the Clay Cliffs are a stark sight.

These tall pinnacles are made up of silt and gravel, formed by ancient glaciers over a million years ago.

Located on private land, a small donation made to the honesty box will give you access to walk in and explore this geological wonder.

Tie it in with a bike ride and a soak in the Omarama Hot Tubs, and you've got yourself a great day out.

Go there with us:

Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail
Duration: 3, 6 or 7 Days
Price from: NZ$1350pp

View trips here.


4. Mavora Lakes - Southland

Reflecting at the Mavora Lakes |  <i>bennettandslater.co.nz</i>

Mavora Lakes Park is a magical landscape of mountains, glacier carved lakes, forest and tussock grassland, recognised as part of the Te Wāhipounamu/South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Surrounded by forest and nestled between the Livingstone and Thomson Mountains, these magical lakes are located an hour and a half from Te Anau in Southland.

The Southern Lake can be accessed from the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, as it follows the forest road along the lake edge.

The park was used as a filming location for some scenes in the Lord of the Rings film series.

Go there with us:

Milford and Fiordland Bike Hike and Kayak
Duration: 5 Days
Price from: NZ$2695

View trip here.


5. Stewart Island - Rakiura

The 'island pace' on Stewart Island enables us to slow down enough to perhaps grab a glimpse of the native 'Kiwi' bird

It's NZ's third largest island, yet it's surprising how many people are yet to tick it off their bucket list.

Over 85% of the island is National Park and is any hiker or birdwatchers paradise. With just 28km of road, the 280km of walking tracks are a welcome substitute, suited to short walks, day walks and multi-day hikes.

Whether you enjoy wildlife, walking, boating, fishing, diving, kayaking, hunting or just relaxing, we'd recommend moving it to the top of your bucket list asap.

The island is easily accessible by ferry from Bluff, or by plane from Invercargill.

Go there with us:

Fiordland Hollyford and Stewart Island Trails
Duration: 7 Days
Price from: NZ$3795

6. Paihia - Northland

Cycling the easy trails next to the harbour |  <i>Ruth Lawton Photography</i>

Rich in history and manaakitanga (hospitality), Northland's Paihia is a fantastic place for a relaxing getaway. The warm climate, golden sand beaches, and activities galore make it a great place to base yourself when exploring the Bay of Islands and offers endless opportunities for kayakers, cyclists (the Twin Coast Cycle Trail), keen fishermen, foodies and more.

Paihia is just across the bay from Russell, and just down the road from the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Go there with us:

Twin Coast Hike Bike and Splash
Duration: 4 Days
Price from: NZ$1995
View trip here.

7. McLean Falls - Catlins

Taking a short walk to visit McLeans Falls in the Catlins |  <i>Douglas McKay</i>

"It's too far away", "it's too cold", "it's too boring" are all terrible excuses not to visit the Catlins in NZ's deep south.

The rugged landscapes, amazing wildlife, sandy beaches, friendly locals and remoteness are all great excuses to go! 

The Catlins is home to many captivating waterfalls, including McLean Falls. A beautiful bush walk leads to the cascade over dark mossy rocks, as the falls plummet more than 22 metres into a deep gorge.

Tie your trip in with a visit to Curio Bay, Nugget Point, Waipapa Point and Cathedral Caves for the ultimate Catlins experience.

Go there with us:

Southern Coast Cycle
Duration: 7 Days
Price from: NZ$2695
View trip here.

8. Moonlight Valley and Ben Lomond Station

Private Moonlight Lodge accommodation |  <i>Colin Monteath</i>

Located just a short drive from Queenstown, Ben Lomond Station is one of the few remaining high country stations owned and operated by New Zealanders. The private land is filled with old gold mining pack tracks, diverse landscapes and comfortable lodges making it the perfect place for hiking, relaxing and appreciating NZ's stunning beauty.

Moonlight Lodge easily makes the list as one of NZ's most comfortable and secluded back-country lodges. Located deep in the Moonlight Valley, a 14km walk from the Shotover Valley will bring you to the comfort of the lodge.

To top things off, you'll experience true local hospitality with a delicious meal prepared by station owners, John and Ginny.

Read more about this exclusive experience here.

Go there with us:

Moonlight Valley and Ben Lomond Backcountry Hike
Duration: 5 Days
Price from: NZ$3195
View Trip here.

9. Mahinapua Scenic Reserve - West Coast

Treetop Walk | West Coast |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Just South of Hokitika, The Mahinapua Scenic Reserve is home to the glistening Lake Mahinapua, and features stunning native bush, bird life and wetlands.

The lake was once a coastal lagoon, but with the build up of coastal dune systems, it became a shallow inland lake.

A popular cycling route on the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail, a boardwalked trail winds it's way through the wetlands of the reserve, with the mighty peaks of the Southern Alps visible in the distance.

Get a bird’s eye view of Lake Mahinapua on the West Coast Treetop Walkway (above). 

Go there with us:

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail
Duration: 5 Days
Price from: NZ$1175

View trip here.


10. Miranda - Waikato

Miranda Shoreline |  <i>Dick Bos</i>

Just an hour's drive from Auckland, Miranda is best known for the Miranda Shorebird Centre. With nearly half of the population of the endemic Wrybill resident during part of the year, and with shorebird numbers often exceeding 10 thousand, it's a must-do for any bird lover.

Miranda is also a great spot to start the introductory Hauraki Rail Trail which takes cyclists along the Shorebird Coast and follows old railway lines between the historic gold towns of Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha, Waihi and Matamata.

Go there with us:

Hauraki Rail Trail
Duration: 3 Days
Price from: NZ$1295

View trip here.

#DoSomethingNewNZ, and go somewhere you haven't been this summer.

Let us know how many of these places you've visited and share it with your friends to compare.


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