Yes, yes. Every country has its bucket list places to go and sights to see – but what about those lesser known locations? The ones which feel truly special, like you’ve discovered hidden treasure?
Yeah, we like those ones, too. So we thought we’d do the unthinkable and spill the beans on the best out-of-the-way-escapes for Aotearoa adventurers.
Doubtful Sound, Fiordland
A beautiful day in New Zealand at Doubtful Sound. Such a peaceful boat ride to while away time!!! #newzealand #doubtfulsound #pacific #adventure #adventuretime #adventurephotography #adventurephoto #adventurephotos #nature #naturephotography #naturephoto #travel #travelblogger #travels #travelphotography #travelphoto #explore #exploretheworld #world #travelgram #inspiration #inspirations #planet #beautiful #beauty #nowords #tattooedtraveller
You’ve heard of Milford Sound – the Lord-of-the-Ringsy, otherworldly place south of Queenstown? We agree, it’s pretty amazing there, but have you heard of Doubtful Sound?
We doubt so (lol, get it?).
Doubtful is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site – resplendent with its towering mountains, waterfalls, walking tracks and glistening sapphire blue water.
Fun fact: It’s not actually a sound, it’s a fiord (silly European settlers got that wrong) – and is the deepest of all the fiords in Fiordland.
What makes it even more secret is you can’t access Doubtful Sound/Fiord easily. Nope. You actually have to go to Lake Manapouri (we can recommend watching the sunrise there, it’s pretty unreal), cruise across that lake, then get a bus down a gravel road and THEN cruise on Doubtful.
Worth the effort though, trust us.
Captain Cook assigned the name of Doubtful Harbour in 1770 when he wasn’t sure the area was navigable. Though technically a fiord, whalers later named it Doubtful Sound. Today, it’s known as Doubtful Sound / Patea and its scenery is sure to leave you gobsmacked. : by G Adventures CEO @debrabuckingham #gadventures
Tunnel Beach, Dunedin
Here, you access the beach through a secret tunnel.
A. Secret. Tunnel.
Then, when you get there – you enjoy steep cliffs, white sand and some good old fashioned rugged coastlines.
The Flying Fox, Whanganui
Can you say, “This is so secret you can ONLY ACCESS IT VIA FLYING FOX?” Because that’s what happens at The Flying Fox in Whanganui.
With only flying fox or boat access the Flying Fox has everything from camping and glamping to cottages, there is no cellphone reception or television – making it an ideal place to truly unplug.
Explore the National Park or learn about the history of the area, including the old Maori village the site it built upon.
Blue Lake, Nelson Lakes National Park
Would you trek two days to see a lake you can’t swim in? Well, we think you should.
The Blue Lake in the Nelson Lakes National Park are so stunningly clear – it is actually the clearest lake in the world!
So untouched is this blue beauty, the water is sacred so you cannot swim, wash anything, or fish in here.
Worth it for the ‘gram though.
Jokes, worth it to see with your own two eyes something so beautiful it is protected and takes two days to walk there. Talk about earning the view.
Whare Kea Lodge, Wanaka
Prepare to lose your breathe (and your eco footprint) at this Wanaka beauty. Accessible only by helicopter, the lodge is 1750m above sea level in the Albert Burn Saddle on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park.
Designed to have minimal environmental impact, the chalet took two years to build and has not only built a physical structure, but a legacy, too.
Whare Kea has won awards for its unique steel structure and the environmentally conscious power and waste systems. The roof holds snow; solar cells produce power and bottled propane gas is used for heating and cooking.
Not to mention the unbeatable views, extreme privacy and luxury.
According to its website, “four months of the year it is covered in snow, and in summer the slopes of tussock grass are dotted with wild flowers and tarns. It’s a spectacular base in which you can enjoy many chalet adventures – from scenic helicopter flights, hiking, heli-skiing or simply enjoying the stunning mountainscape.”
Te Puia Springs, Kawhia
Forget that so-iconic-it’s-over-crowded Hot Water Beach place in the Coromandel. Instead, swing by Kawhia.
This west coast beauty has hot water beaches of its own – where you literally dig your own hot pool (at low tide, people).
At Te Puia, you won’t find the crowds and you won’t be jostling for a spot. In fact you could dig as many as your own hot pools as you want…
New Chums Beach, Whangapoua
Okay, okay so this is smack back in one of the hottest (for a reason) holiday spots in New Zealand – but New Chums is, we promise, secluded.
Not only is it secluded, but it’s got the whole golden sand, lush green forests and too blue to be true water thing going on.
We mean, sure, it’s been voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world and on other must-do lists here and there BUT it’s a 30ish minute walk – so many people unlike you put it in the too hard basket.
Don’t be one of them. Take the time, walk the Mangakahia track and have your own private beach for that day.