COVID may have put those overseas getaways on the backburner but as New Zealanders, we are constantly surrounded by such immense beauty that it’s easy to forget how lucky we are. It's the perfect time to start thinking about replenishing the soul with a healthy dose of nature. Thankfully NZ has this in spades.
Pivot those holiday Euros into making some beautiful memories right here at home with these epic New Zealand escapes.
The Southern Alps
Kicking this list off on a high with the highest mountain range in Australasia—The Southern Alps—located in the South Island of New Zealand. This mountain range stretches across from Haast Pass to Arthur’s Pass and takes you 3754 metres above the sky. You're guaranteed to get the most amazing views at the peak points of this mountain range, no wonder it's become one of the most iconic spots in New Zealand.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tongariro National Park
Trekking along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a rollercoaster of up-hill, down-hill, different climates and sceneries, you’ll struggle to believe that this is all happening in one location. We’ll break the truth to you all now, it’s not an easy walk. That being said, every step you take is worth it as each step leads to something different. Whether it’s the feeling of triumph after smashing the stairs of death, the on-edge nerves while going down the gravel hill or the breath-taking views of the Emerald waters or the blue lake pictured above, there's never been a better time to tackle the mighty Tongariro crossing.
Taking up 150km of New Zealand’s coastline is Marlborough Sounds, a wonderland of ancient sea valleys spread across from Tasman Bay all the way to Cloudy Bay. Malborough Sounds offer something for everyone from mountain bikers, hikers and those who just want to enjoy some downtime of pure relaxation. Get amongst the Queen Charlotte Track as the 70km nature trail takes you on a journey in the forests and high up the mountain ridges where you can overlook the best views of Malborough Sounds.
At the midway point between Christchurch and Queenstown lies this small town defined as nature's jewel. Lake Tekapo is surrounded by scenic views including the Southern Alps. The clear, serene waters at this lake are ideal when you want to get away from all the noise back home and refresh your mind. That’s not all Lake Tekapo has to offer. Wander around and you’ll come across a field of lilac coloured flowers where you can truly immerse yourself and get lost in the beauty.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Fly as free as a bird at Tiritiri Matangi Island, a wildlife sanctuary of rare birdlife species and stunning scenery. Just a little bit over an hour's ferry journey from Auckland is this getaway island where you get to channel your inner bird watcher and discover the island’s eco-systems. If you really want to take it to the next level some of the knowlegable tour guides will even teach you the basics of bird-calling. From the nature to the people who have preserved this island with love and care, Tiritiri Matangi is an idyllic one-day getaway and it is ensured you’ll walk away with your spirits revived.
Routeburn Track (Te Anau)
Fiordland National Park
With views and terrain that change by the hour, the Routeburn Track is an experience that every New Zealander should do at least once. It’s a simple and easy walk that takes you to the Alpine areas and you even get the chance to see some snow. A few steps later, you find yourself surrounded by waterfalls and flowing rivers accompanied by scenic views all throughout the track. Just a little heads up, take along all sorts of gear fit for every weather as this track can take you through all four seasons in one day.
Ninety Mile Beach
Rent out a four-wheel-drive and take it for a spin on Ninety Mile Beach. New Zealand is spoilt when it comes to beach spots but this one is definitely something special. Aside from the fact that it stretches on to the point where you think it will never end, it’s highly secluded, serene and peaceful. Ninety Mile Beach seems untouched as there is an absence of shops and no houses surrounding the landscape. It’s a beach in its most natural and raw form and a favourite amongst New Zealanders and tourists.
Bream Head Coast Walks
Go on a three-day journey with Bream Head Coast Walks where they offer private, unguided walks. This walk takes you through to the ocean, harbour beach, rocky rural road and private farmland and is the ultimate opportunity to get in touch with nature. Each day starts off from their modern and beautiful lodge and goes on a different journey by foot. Return for a wholesome dinner prepared by the hosts at Bream Head Coast but you still get to channel your inner chef as you cook it yourself!
Roys Peak Track
We can’t talk about nature and not mention Wanaka as it’s undeniably one of the most gorgeous landmarks of New Zealand. Talk to anyone from Wanaka and they will not fail to mention that they are from Wanaka and we can’t blame them for the strong pride they have. Roys Peak Track will just take up half of your day and you’ll get the best, panoramic view of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring. Soak in the stunning views and the sounds of grasshoppers and skylarks as you make your way up over 1500 metres to the summit.
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Image credit: Mt Cook by Matteo Colombo, The Blue Lake, Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu by Destination Lake Taupo, Rob Suited, Fraser Clements, Natasha van der Laan.