New Zealand is a dream destination for many travellers. The island nation is known for its spectacular beaches, exceptional biodiversity, and dazzling natural beauty. Apart from planning a visit to the popular tourist destinations like Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Auckland, and Rotorua, check out the below list of unique New Zealand destinations to add to your next travel itinerary.
Waitaki Whitestone Geopark
The Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is an ancient geological wonder. Stretching from the alps to the ocean, visitors can explore a 7,200 sq km geopark rich in fossils. The park is crisscrossed with easy walks, uphill hikes, and cycle routes. The park has 42 geological sites including the famous towering limestone Elephant Rocks, the striking Moeraki Boulders, the pure limestone cliffs and boulders known as the Waipata Earthquakes, and the famous Takiroa Māori rock drawings. The park has applied for a UNESCO Global Geopark status and is rich in wildlife. The Shag Point Scientific Reserve offers a special spot to glimpse rare yellow-eyed penguins, sooty shearwaters, seals, and shags.
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.whitestonegeopark.nz/
Te Urewera Treks, Central North Island
At three-weeks-old, Hine McManus was carted off into the bush in her mother’s raincoat and since then has left only to attend work and school. That bush – Te Urewera – is one of New Zealand’s most isolated and pristine rainforests. Home to the Tūhoe people, Te Urewera is the world’s first natural resource to be granted the same rights as a legal person. McManus now acts as a Tūhoe guide through the 2,12,000 hectare rainforest, taking guests on treks lasting from three hours to four days where they can ride horses, fish, mountain bike or visit Māori communities where fluent te reo Māori is spoken. Visitors can plant native indigenous trees, earning them status as Kaitiaki Tautoko, or honorary guardian of the forest.
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.teureweratreks.co.nz/
The Chef’s Table at Blue Duck Station, Retaruke
With a passion for local and foraged ingredients, famed British chef Jack Cashmore swapped Michelin-starred restaurants in England and Europe for a vast and rugged New Zealand farm. Affectionately dubbed ‘the top of the world’, it is located between the Whanganui and Tongariro national parks in the heart of the North Island. The remote diners are helicoptered in before dinner is served. The Chef’s Table at Blue Duck station is also a farm and conservation project, home to the critically endangered Whio, or native blue duck.The experience begins with a two-hour ATV bush safari before guests settle under the stars to feast on a 10-course degustation using organic ingredients sourced from the farm and foraged from the surrounding native rainforest.
For more details and bookings visit: https://thechefstable.co.nz/
Owhaoko Luxury Cabin, Taupō
There are no roads, no people, no internet, and no cell phone coverage at Owhaoko, making it the perfect place for a digital detox in a luxury cabin. It offers spectacular views from the bedroom made of glass. Nestled between the Kaimanawa and Kaweka forests in the central North Island is the ancestral land of Owhaoko, covering more than 16,000 private acres of pristine native bush, and can only be reached by helicopter.The luxury cabin’s Māori name, Te Whare Ruruhau (a place of shelter, refuge and protection), has two double bedrooms with glass walls and ceiling where guests can enjoy everything from a bubble bath under the stars with champagne to gourmet meals cooked using traditional Māori methods.
For more details and bookings visit: https://owhaoko.com/
Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat, Glenorchy
When Seattle philanthropists Paul and Debbi Brainerd first visited the Central Otago town of Glenorchy more than 20 years ago, they fell so deeply in love with the stunning natural landscape that they decided to move there. Recently, the couple decided to give back to their adopted hometown and bought a dilapidated campsite, rebuilding it as an ultra-green facility constructed mostly from recycled materials, powered with solar energy, and works from local artists incorporated throughout the site. Guests are encouraged to take part in yoga classes, sustainability tours, and local food and wine tasting.
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.campglenorchy.co.nz/
Making Trax Inclusive Tourism, Nelson
Jezza Williams was a guide leading a canyoning tour in the Swiss Alps in 2010 when he slipped and fell, breaking his neck and losing the use of his limbs. By 2012, he had started his own business, Makingtrax, which he describes as promoting ‘inclusive tourism’, helping adventure tourism operators make their activities accessible to all. Using a network of disability-friendly local operators in the Nelson Tasman region, people with disabilities can take part in everything from a canyon swing, skydiving and white water rafting to traditional waka (Māori canoe) along the Abel Tasman coastline and helicopter trips to the famous Franz and Fox glaciers.
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.makingtrax.co.nz/
Footprint Waipoua Tours, Northland
Deep in the North Island’s ancient Waipoua Forest stand some of New Zealand’s oldest and most sacred living legends – the kauri trees that Māori believe to be protectors of the forest.At twilight, local Māori guides perform a traditional powhiri (greeting) and sing waiata (songs) before taking tours to meet two of their ancestors – the mighty Te Matua Ngahere (The Father of the Forest), a tree estimated to be between 2,500 and 3,000 years old, and the impressive Tāne Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), which at 150 ft, is New Zealand’s tallest kauri. Tree hugging is optional but encouraged.
For more details and bookings visit: https://footprintswaipoua.co.nz/
Forest bathing at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Dunedin
There are no phones or watches allowed on guide Hagino Baker’s forest bathing tour at Orokonui Ecosanctuary. “I am here to slow you down,” she says while leading guests deep into a 307-hectare nature and wildlife reserve north of Dunedin. Two-and-a-half hours of listening, looking, touching and breathing are everything Orokonui’s ancient trees offer. Hagino gives the traditional Japanese practise a uniquely Kiwi touch; teaching forest bathers the Māori names for the native plants and animals found in Orokonui, and encouraging tasting of edible leaves and finishing with steaming cups of tea made from the native kanuka bush
For more details and bookings visit: https://orokonui.nz/
This post is presented by Tourism New Zealand