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Independent Traveller Feedback provides trust and motivation for potential visitors. It has become the critical decision making influencer on the web today.

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Experience Widget

Show traveller feedback on any specific experience within your region, commercial or non commercial.

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Reviews Widget

Traveller Reviews

  • Ranking: 8/10

    Really awesome. Perfect location and the staff know how to handle all kinds of people. The only negative thing is that the pictures are too expensive.

    Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2017

    Michael Bley's avatar

    Michael Bley

  • Ranking: 8/10

    Was a while back but enjoyed the tour with my mates.

    Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in April 2019

    james Watson's avatar

    james Watson

    New Zealand
  • Ranking: 9/10

    Jumped recently with my 11 year old daughter, a 'gift' for her birthday.

    Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in January 2015

    Andrew Strother's avatar

    Andrew Strother

    New Zealand
  • Ranking: 7/10

    Hop on, hop off.

    Reviewed over 9 years ago

    Joroen Borkert's avatar

    Joroen Borkert

  • Ranking: 10/10

    Love it!!
    It is the great wine tour in Auckland. John is really know about wine. And tour is awesome.
    Really enjoy!!

    Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in January 2019

    Alice Chen's avatar

    Alice Chen

  • Ranking: 7/10

    A lot of animals (national and international ones). You can see lions. Not that big but very interesting, you can see how they feed them.

    Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

    Sophie's avatar


  • Ranking: 8/10

    The dolphins were so close to the boat. Amazing.

    Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

    Christian Reimund's avatar

    Christian Reimund

  • Ranking: 8/10

    We did not only see Cape Reinga but also did some sandboarding, which was really fun. Even though our guide was really funny, I did not like it that much because it was really touristic and more like you saw the place and in five minutes you were back at the bus.

    Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

    Emely Walker's avatar

    Emely Walker

  • Ranking: 8/10

    A must do for everyone who spends a few days in the Auckland region. Cam was a very professional guide and also very funny. Abseiling in a waterfall, jumping, crawling through little caves - awesome!!

    Reviewed about 6 years ago

    Dan Ramsl's avatar

    Dan Ramsl

  • Ranking: 7/10

    It's sweet...

    Reviewed over 14 years ago

    Olaf Penn's avatar

    Olaf Penn


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Tips Widget

Traveller's Tips

Zoe's avatar


United Kingdom

Oamaru Gardens: even if you are not a garden type of person, this park is awesome massive old trees and great little walkways, wicked kids playground and during march hosts the annual wine and food festival - well worth going to.

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Wharariki Beach can be busy, while the little side trip to Kaihoka Lakes (some gravel road) doesn't take long. It's isolated and beautiful.
The i SITE system is a very effective way to plan and reserve your tours. Americans aren't familiar with such a system. We didn't know they existed until we arrived. Very helpful advice and maps. The first iSite you get to is the one in Auckland Airport!
Check out off the beaten track locations - especially small historic towns such as St Bathens.
Don't accept that you have to pay to do everything in NZ. It does feel in places like every opportunity to make a buck is being exploited, to the disadvantage of tourists, but with research you can find great free/low cost alternatives i.e Curio Bay in the Catlins
Curio and Porpoise Bays: We saw fur seals, hectors dolphins, yellow eyed penguins and a petrified tree forest, all for free. Fantastic given that you usually have to pay to see penguins and dolphins elsewhere. Great motorcamp on the cliff above the bays.
Staveley Store - Iceskating: Quaint open air country natural icerink in the bush. Excellent value, unique location.
SH6 Greymouth - Westport: Amazing drive. Very beautiful. Take your time and enjoy.
Do not expect cheap reliable internet. Try the libraries as a place to find free internet. The Hamilton Library is awesome, there is even WiFi outside in Garden Place.
Do lots of research before you come. Take advice from those who know. Be prepared to ask questions and ask for help. N. Zealanders are very helpful and friendly. Need lots of bugspray. Sandflies are evil, especially when chilling out on beaches on the West Coast such as Gillespies Beach
Book well in advance for events - e.g. Wild Food Festival, Hokitika. When hiring a campervan - check very closely that everything works correctly.
River/picnic spots: South Island: Take or buy a fry pan fat splater - get kids to pan for gold, or just have fun on the rivers, great place to cool down. Have the best time ever! Duntroon is pretty special.
Christchurch free bus: Unbelievable way to see Christchurch and its free!! Go to the bus exchange for more info.
Sunset at Hokitika Beach: One of the best places to see a pinky sky sunset (March)
Cloud free skies gave us spectacular views of the night sky, including the milky way, without light pollution. All the areas around Lake Tekapo are amazing. Drive just out of town along some dirt roads, get isolated and enjoy the view!
The very north of the Coromandel Peninsula is absolutely worth to visit. Winding, gravel road, but fantastic.
If going by campervan, don't underestimate the distances, eat at The Beach House in Riverton, do the Rob Valley track, have windshield insurance, expect changing weather.
Take time and go to check out East Cape. Driving to the lighthouse is a surreal experience.
If you are going to Doubtful Sound by kayak bring a scarf for neck and face protection and thin polyprop gloves - All to protect hands from sandflies.
Walk around the streets of Rotorua (around waters edge) and see steam rising out of everywhere - peoples gardens, storm water drains etc - great way to get the impression of how ordinary peoples lives live side by side with the thermal action!!
Buskers Festival Christchurch: Highly entertaining, very well organised with continuous entertainment with acts from all around the world. Great fun, good for locals and tourists alike.
Mussel Festival, Coromandel Peninsula: Good for area, great idea around an unusual promotion.
New Chums Beach. 20 minute walk from Whangapoa. It is just a very beautiful beach. Don't miss this place.
Auckland toll road. Pay ahead at the booths. It's a pittance to charge by credit card but will incur international fees. You can pay at the BP Station heading north, or at Titfords Bridge heading south, you can also pay online. There is a free route that takes a bit longer to drive and is well signposted.
Old Cromwell Town: Look at old houses, lovely restored.
Believe what people tell you, you really don't need everything you have packed. If you need anything, second hand shops, Savemart, have the answer. I wish I had listened. There is one just north of Hamilton
Hilltop Drive from Lyttleton to Christchurch: Breathtaking scenery of the city and surrounding areas. Plenty of viewpoints along the way.
Timaru: Fantastic sculpture park and wonderful exhibition of fabric art.
There are plenty of Otago wine tasting oppotunities along the Gibbston Valley, close to Queenstown: Such friendly hosts and such delicious wine!
Marlborough Sound, Queen Charlotte Drive: Is this the best drive in the world?
South of South Island, Southern Coastal Drive: Great drive, lots of lookouts, walks, views, great sight seeing, nice to see the real New Zealand, e.g. towns not commercialised for tourists. Starts at Owaka.
Christchurch Port Hills Drive: Great drive, views - see Christchurch both the town and wildlife. Great walks.
Coromandel town: Pottering about in this really friendly town is great - free exhibitions displaying the local crafts and needlework groups efforts, stream, smoked mussel tastings, lovely.
West coast drive - Greymouth to Westport: Fantastic coastal scenic drive, one of the best in the worls. Take in Pancake Rock en-route (free) stunning scenery.
Snorkling Gemstone Bay near Hahei: Free (if have own gear!) - bouys with info on dotted around the bay. Lots of good size fish to see in the marine reserve - would suggest walking to Cathedral Bay too as very pretty.
Port Hills - Christchurch: Driving up the winding roads to look out over spectacular landscape was spectacular and very memorable.
Nice and very quiet beach at Patons Rock (north of Takaka).
Scenic drive, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland: Drive scenic drive from Swanson to Titirangi (or reverse), stopping at Arataki Visitor Centre and any of the easily accessible bush walks along the way. Rainforest in the city. Views! Sensational!
If you are going camping in a van consider visiting the two charity shops in Glen Innes (Suburb of Auckland). We came away with very good pots, pans, duvet, wineglasses, etc at very good prices. We also bought a used single burner stove, but all the campgrounds have kitchens and most have BBQ's, so we haven't used it once!
The northern part of the Abel Tasman walk between Awaroa and Mutton Cove is paradise within a paradise!
Wanganui: Very nice views, a scenic drive a longside a river.
Christchurch: A good way to explore Christchurch by foot and see some beautiful buildings and artwork.
Lake Mangamahoe, New Plymouth: The most picturesque lake in NZ. On a sunny day with the snowcapped Mount Taranaki in the distance.
We stumbled across on old relic wharf at the northern end of Tokomaru Bay that seems associated with these ruins from another era. It's a crazy place. One of the best finds in all of NZ!
Sunset off , Paekakariki Beach along the Kapiti Coast: Grab some wine on a sunny day and head down to the beach in the evening to catch a stunning sunset and chill under the stars.
Go to Muriwai Beach, gannet colony, nice coast and free.
Weka Pass walkway passes crazy rock formations and caves showing Maori Rock art. All with views of surrounding mountains. It wasn't busy at all and we were the only people here.Takes around 1.5 to 2 hours return.
Don't miss 'Punakaiki Cavern' in Punakaiki! And glow-worms, Milford Sound, Glaciers, Pancake Rocks in high tide.
Molesworth Road, Hamner to Blenheim: Amazing experience, set off early and do it justice, (take your bug balm).
Te Anau-Milford Hwy: We spend a couple of days on the road. Did little walks and camped at Lake Gunn DOC campsite. We recommend the Summit Walk incl.the Nature Track at the top.
Riccarton Market, Christchurch: Good place to hang out on a Sunday with the locals, music, wide variety of food, produce arts and crafts etc.
Whole country is very informal; shorts, tees and sandals acceptable most everywhere except Wellington, where black corporate outfits are standard issue.
Running in the woods outside Hanmer. Beautiful trails, deserted in the morning, quiet except for the birds.
Lake Alexandrina: We can walk round the whole lake in about 6 hours, birds, nature, grasses and mountain views.
Haast-Jackson Bay Road, Haast to Jackson: We have seen dolphins swimming by the beach, penquins walking in the street. AMAZING.
Fishing on Taramakau River, South Island: Caught some big trout and salmon. Great location and just by where we were staying.
Driving from Hanmer - Lewis Pass: The views are magnificant. Rough, rugged nature with beautiful rivers meandering through the landscape.
Don't skip Doubtful Sound! It is amazing and you will see true nature not created by human interference.
Parihaka Music Festival, Parihaka Pa site: Awesome music festival, the best!! Normally 2nd weekend of January, chilled out, can be enjoyed by everyone, camping great, free hot shower.
Lion Rock, Piha: Cool beach with good surf. Great view from half way up Lion Rock. Then get some chips from the little cafe/takeaway.
East coast ( North Island), between Opotiki and Gisborne: Really amazing nature. You feel like you're living in another world. Quiet and wild, beautiful beaches. Its well worth driving all around.
Moke Lake, Queenstown: Beautiful, peace and nature.
Leave space in your schedule for just wandering - many cities have lovely parks, domain lands and botanic gardens. Albert Park in central Auckland is awesome.
Sheep Dog Trials, Middlemarch: We were told about a local sheep dog trial, drove to the hill country where ranchers had gathered with trucks, dogs and sheep. What a great day.
I took a short walk (less than 1 hour) north of Piha along the Laird Thomson track up to the Te Waha Point lookout and down to a cute nearby beach (Whites Beach), this was when I realised that I was in NZ!
The cafe and outlook over Farewell Spit is just fantastic.
Northcote Point - Right underneath the harbour bridge, this is a really quaint wharf area. There are a couple of reserves to walk around as well as an old local pub for a drink, a nice old movie theatre too. The cruisy thing is that you can catch a ferry straight into downtown if you so desire.
We were told about the little blue penguins that come ashore an hour after dusk, on the waterfront to the north of Te Papa. A treat for us staying overnight in our camper at the Wellington Wharf.
Visit the Otara markets in Southern Auckland, early on a Saturday morning. All sorts of things on offer from cheap chinese goods to to authentic weaving and carvings and different foods. The best part is definitely taking the time to look around – people watching is the way to go!
North Head - Devonport. We visited this place with friends and loved it. Back in WW2 the New Zealand army built some tunnels on North Head which are still intact. - bring a torch and a camera for some action shots. Plus we watched another family slide down the steep hill on a cardboard box. Looked like fun.
Bethells beach on the west coast. Rugged, beautiful, pretty scary swimming as it’s a super steep beach. If you want to take time away from the big seas and go for a swim, check out the lagoon, a short walk from the beach - sheltered and safe.
Wellington botanic gardens were a great find. So close to the city and a nice trip on the cable car.
The free bus that works around the central city circuit is nice on your first day in Auckland. It gives you good ideas about the best places to visit. Catch it anywhere along Queen Street
If you walk the Tongariro Crossing then it's a really early start (a longer drive than you think) from Taupo. Consider staying closer to the start of the track.
A day (and night) spent north of Auckland was worth it. Visit the Goat Island Marine Reserve and hire some cheap snorkel gear if you don't have your own. great fun.
Otari Bush in Wilton. A friend told us to visit here at night so we could see the glowworms - which are fantastic! A special free experience for us.
Queenstown Exploration - wandering around Queenstown , down by water, through gardens, around the shops - Great fun!
Seeing the water of Lake Tekapo. Just stop, look at the turquoise water, jump in and feel like in (cold) heaven!
If you are walking any of the tracks, Milford, Kepler or Routeburn or going to Milford Sound or Doubtfull Sound then stay in Te Anau. Staying in Queenstown means a 2 to 4 hour trip each way.
State Highway 25 from Thames to Coromandel, beautiful view and road.
SANDFLIES as soon as you hit the West Coast - Hokitika! Good repellant! North Island is also very awesome not only the South Island. DOC Campsites mostly clean and cheap. Don't behave as a European if you want to travel independently.
Drive Queenstown to Milford Sound. Above all the last part of the route, popping out through the Homer tunnel is unreal! Fjord - feeling.
Sunsets, sunrise and the stars and milkyway - Lake Pukaki at night is unreal, Mt Cook in the distance. Haven't seen so many and so beautiful ever!
Rabbit Island is a beautiful beach, flat, good for swimming with kids plus lots of picnic areas and a playground.
The drive and viewpoint at Te Mata Peak is quite spectacular.
Hawkes Bay Farmers Market - Saturdays 9am till 1pm. A diverse and inspirational way to buy food. Almost every local produce stall has goods to taste leaving you no good reason to walk away empty handed.
Go to less crowded places off the beaten track such as Glenorchy, Te Anau, and Okarito. Take walks (top brochures at West Coast - Trig lookout walk in Okarito is awesome! Avoid busy places with activities which cost a lot!
Toilet facilities everywhere. With a few exceptions it was nice to find (usually) clean facilities along the road. Some even have showers and provide towels -these cost a few dollars, the one in Taupo is well worth it!
Kaiteriteri beach is a beautiful spot. Quiet, safe swimming and the view from Kaka Pa Point is stunning.
Hicks Bay Wharf was a highlight. Locals fishing and swimming with fantastic outlook.
When travelling around the East Cape it's worth seeing the largest Pohutukawa tree (Native Christmas Tree) in NZ. It has long limbs!
If you like diving, the Poor Knights Islands are amazing (Top 10 in cool water in the world).
Short walks from Dawson Falls info centre to Dawson Falls itself or Wilkies Pools (natural waterslides and great swimming). Excellent for families as all walks take no longer than 20 mins return.
At Lake Wanaka if you go to the end of the pier you can feed the fish & eels. My kids really enjoyed this.
On state highway 1, just south of Levin township there is a very large and very cool adventure playground that the kids really had fun at.
The Art Deco walk in Napier - An absolute MUST. Visit the local i-SITE for details.
Driving into Milford Sound after 250mm rain - water everywhere, huge waterfalls, swollen rivers, really really awesome.
Buller Gorge Drive - fantastic scenic experience.
Lake Tekapo - the lake colour has to be seen to be appreciated.
See Nugget Point! Beautiful nature for free!
Dunedin Train Station - very interesting building and historic town.
Lighthouse Walk - Moeraki. Watching of penguins and seals very close! Great!
Road to Observatory, Lake Tekapo - fantastic view over the area.
Te Anau to Milford Sound Road. Stunning scenery, nice easy drive in summer.
Mount Cook DOC - helpful staff, gave us the information and more.
Pancake Rocks and Blowhole in Punakaiki - great place to see this and stay for one night - great beach there.
Go to Stewart Island! Terrific walking tracks, more birdsong than we have heard in years! All over NZ people have been friendly and helpful.
Parking is really expensive in the Auckland CBD and the ticket checkers really make sure you don’t over stay. There are lots of parking buildings, if you are not too worried about walking a bit there is more parking available on the city fringe, then catch the buses to get around. Britomart, in Downtown Auckland is the central bus station from where all public transport travels from. There is a free central city bus (a red one), but buses are pretty cheap anyway – take coins.
Tune into local radio stations to get an idea of what sorts of events are happening around town especially in the summer when there are lots of free open air concerts in parks around the city. Go George FM (96.6) - the station that started in a garage and now has hit the big time.
Make sure you bring a torch and good shoes when you explore the Abbey Caves just out of Whangarei. The trip takes a few hours and you will see lots, and lots of glow worms, stalactites and stalagmites.
If you are looking for good beaches along the south end of Lake Taupo go to Pukawa, there is a nice reserve next to the boat ramp. The reserve has some nice big trees and seats for some summer goodness.
When driving to the Central North, the route through the King Country (Te Awamutu, Te Kuiti, and Taumaranui) is a nice alternative to SH1. Nice scenery.
Make the most of all the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The ferry terminal in downtown is easy to use and the boats go out to most of the islands several times a day. In many cases you can bring a bike over for a small extra cost.
Tamaki Drive is a very popular place for running/ walking and if you would be into it – roller blading. This stretch of road starts at the CBD and follows the coast for 10km past bays and beaches. Plenty of ice creams along the way.
The Kai Iwi lakes are well worth a visit, three clear turquoise coloured lakes surrounded by white beaches and pine forest. In this area you can go swimming, fishing, walking and mountain biking. There is also access to the Tasman Sea.
Raurimu Rex – the driftwood dinosaur on the main highway at Raurimu is worth a photo, he now has a local friend in the shape of a Kiwi at the beginning of Findlay Street in national Park Village. These sculptures are created by a local artist and none of the wood used is modified in anyway, very clever.
Moeraki Boulders: Half way between Oamaru and Dunedin off state highway one. Interesting spherical boulders on the beach. About a 5 minute walk from the main lookout area you can access these rocks at both high and low tide. You just see more at low tide. The little Moeraki township is also well worth checking out, just 3km's further south, great eateries, shops and a very nice view up the coast.
The Otago Peninsula is a great drive. You must visit the albatross colony at the northern tip, there are also penguins there. Drive along the coast, and then up over the top on the way back.
Check the weather when driving south to Dunedin in the winter. Snow can easily fall to sea level and the road over Mt Cargill is often closed for hours.
Whangarei Falls, just 5km out of town are an easy walk through some nice bush. Very photogenic and sometimes used by trained professionals for abseiling activities.
Great beaches both in Dunedin, and just out of town. Long Beach has bolted rock climbs, really good swell for learning to surf and caves right at the end that you could sleep in.
Check out Baldwin Street – the steepest street, and has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. One year somebody went down this in a wheelie bin, they didn’t come off so well....
Just 10 mins out of town is the local surf beach – Kakanui. Surf and swim with the dolphins, this place is also famous for potatoes.
Otago Rail Trail – 3 day bike ride, almost free if you have your own bike and tent. Sort your vehicle shuttles out before you start and your accommodation during the summer if you are staying in lodges as it gets REALLY busy. Don’t ride too fast over the bridges (I broke my spokes) and it can be a fairly long push to the next little township. Bring a wine and some glasses for enjoying the views anywhere. You also don’t have to do the whole thing, you can just do parts of the trail, and there are better parts than others. Read all the interpretive information along the trail to get the full feeling of what the area was like back in the day. A cruisey trip. There were even people carrying fishing rods on the back of their bikes..... It all starts in the small town of Clyde.
Central North island has excellent mountain biking tracks: Craters of the Moon in Taupo, 42nd Traverse, Fishers Track, Old Coach Road, Mangapurua Valley just to name a few. Check with locals about the conditions of the tracks, in the winter some tracks are unrideable and with the pumice in the soil, you will ruin your brakes! Check weather and be prepared, a lot of these places have limited cell phone coverage and can be in very rural areas so you need to be self sufficient. Definitely bring a head light; it has often come to good use.
Tupapakurua Falls track starts 3kms along Fishers Track in National Park village, an awesome trail run or walk. The first part of the track is well graded up to Taranaki Lookout. The walk to the falls is downhill along a slightly rougher track marked with lots of blue tape, there are some cool viewing points along the way, especially the one that looks out over huge flat areas that are covered with ponga trees and give this Jurassic Park type panoramic view – awesome. Continue down to the bottom and follow the stream up to the falls, you can almost get right underneath them.
Hauhangatahi is one of the oldest volcanoes in the area and has been deemed a wilderness zone with in the Tongariro National Park. It’s an awesome walk with great views over the nation park from a different angle. If you are driving to Ohakune from national Park Village turn left at Erua, park your car, walk across the railway tracks, turn right and follow the tracks for 3 power poles, you will see a small wooden sign on the left hand side that says “track”. Follow this, it’s about an hour through the bush marked with tape, then follow the wooden stakes up to the top for another two hours to the top. Have a goody!
Tongariro National Park had dual heritage status, not just for the natural stuff but also because of the huge cultural significance of this area. There are historical sites dotted around the place such as Te Porere; there is a lot of information to be found about the local legends at visitors centres. Immerse yourself
Elephant Rocks: about 30 minutes out of Oamaru heading inland towards Duntroon make the effort to go past Elephant Rocks (where Narnia was filmed) It's free access into privately owned farmland. It's a massive boulder field that people into rock climbing play on. It's worth taking a picnic and taking the time to work out what sorts of animal these rocks all represent. All around this area are heaps of fossils; you may even see parts of Moa and whale......
Second hand shops: There are heaps of treasures to be found almost in each little town you come to. The best place for second-hand anything is the Oamaru recycle centre (the local dump). A good place to recycle your rubbish as it's just across the road from the motor camp.
For people who like jumps in to lakes, the rocks just before Bulli Point along SH1 between Turangi and Taupo are the one. When heading north, it’s the first of the three 25km corners you get to. Part as close to the side of the road as possible and be careful as there is lots of traffic including massive trucks. Walk just through the bush and you will get to some good big rocks. Scott Robinson canon ball stylzzzzzz!
There is a great swimming hole to the left of Mahuia Rapids which is off SH47 close to the Whakapapa Village turn off. Good picnic area. Take your rubbish with you, there are no bins.
Stone fruit a plenty in the summer – cherries, apricots, peaches – YUM! Cromwell is where its at!
Wander around downtown Dunedin and see the old buildings, the Octagon is a great place to visit cafes and get into the vibe. Scottish influence is big in this part of the country. You may even hear people the bag pipes.
For fresh veggies and food go to the farmers markets – held every Saturday morning down at the Station Buildings
The rugged black sand beaches on Auckland’s West Coast beaches are very different to the serene white sand beaches on the east. They are often not safe for swimming in, if you do swim only when it is patrolled by life guards and in between the flags. These beaches have lots of good fishing spots, but again be prepared as a lot of drowning take place when people are swept off the rocks unaware by rogue waves. Piha is very popular for swimming and surfing, it is a windy road to get there and the closest to the city. Karakare is close to Piha, very isolated and made famous by the movie “The Piano”. Muriwai is a very long beach popular for kite surfing and the Gannet colony. Bethells is popular and has several smaller beaches and a lake close by. Whatipu is not as popular as it is further out of the city; it is a huge expanse of sand dunes and wetlands. No dogs allowed. Caves to be explored.
Volunteer to meet some local people, the regional parks all have different conservation projects going on and it’s an awesome way to experience another part of the city. Conservation projects also take place out on several islands in the Hauraki Gulf such as Motuihe and Motutapu, all you need is a ferry ticket. Make sure you book in.
Pauanui Beach - Shellfish gathering. Like lots of NZ beaches Pauanui has plenty of shellfish. As the tide is going out, take of your shoes, twist your feet into the sand and you will feel the shells underneath, pick them up and put them in your plastic bag. When finished put them in a bucket full of salt water, and finally steam them when you want to eat them. Make sure you always follow the shellfish collecting restrictions as this is very carefully monitored to make sure this is a sustainable practice.
Crown Range road – driving from Wanaka to Queenstown drive in low gear coming down the hill to avoid your brakes disappearing. Amazing views of the Remarkables and the Gibbston Valley of wines.
Go to the Hokianga Harbour and walk up the massive sand dunes - impressive. Catch the ferry there from Opononi, or its a 15minute drive from Mitimiti.
In Kawakawa are NZ’s most famous toilets designed by Friedrich Hundertwasser.
Go back in time to experience the colonial birthplace of New Zealand in the small, yet very busy town in the summer; Russell, where this countries founding document the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This little town was for a short time the capital city of NZ. Easily accessed by both road and ferry from Paihia.
If you get the chance, go boating in the Bay of Islands – the most relaxing place to be on the ocean. Surrounded by 144 sheltered islands where there are many private beaches to spend the day, or days at. Amazing.
Bring some cut up potatoes, kumara and pumpkin to the Thermal Walk in Tokaanu. There are some pits in the hot water you can put your food in. Cover, come back in a couple of hours and voila your food is steamed – this is a poia, similar to a hangi but steamed, not smoked.
Kinloch is another popular beach on the shores of Lake Taupo, a little lake side holiday spot. There is a great mountain biking track that starts from here over the hill to Whakaipo Bay. In the summer there is a good pontoon just off the shore in the lake to jump off.
The old buildings in Oamaru are great, spend time walking around watching the carvers work with the “white stone” (local limestone), spend time in the local free art galleries, go to the fresh bakery, drink some whiskey and watch out for the local people in their Victorian era clothing riding penny farthing bikes..... Better in the weekend.
Oamaru Gardens: even if you are not a garden type of person, this park is awesome massive old trees and great little walkways, wicked kids playground and during march hosts the annual wine and food festival - well worth going to.
There are lots of good drives around this area – get off the beaten track. If heading south into Central Otago drive up the Waitaki valley, at Duntroon head over Dansey’s pass to Naseby. Dansey’s Pass is half unsealed but totally worth it. You can do it in a camper, beware the road is quite narrow in places. There is a cafe halfway along the journey.
Drive over the Lindis Pass in the afternoon to see rose coloured tussock and light
Te Arai Point is a good place to go fishing and surfing, you can camp in the carpark on the sandy/grassy part just behind the dunes. There are a couple of toilets but no water
Go up Mt Eden (a dormant volcano); just off Mt Eden Road close to the shops for a 360 degree view of Auckland.... for free. Lots of tour buses, so go there in the evening to catch a glimpse of the city lights.
Devonport is worth a visit, a relaxing historic seaside village on the edge of the North Shore. You can drive there from the city over the harbour bridge, or catch the ferry from downtown Auckland.
The visitor centre at Whakapapa is worth the visit and an excellent option when it is raining at Mt Ruapehu (which is about 360 days a year....). It explains the legends of the mountains really well as giving lots of good information about the native fauna and flora in this area.
Naseby is a cute little town with a good forest for mountain biking. Everything can be hired outside the pub. Lots of history about gold mining. In the winter get into curling.
The Clyde Dam is pretty impressive, more impressive though is the old part of town in Cromwell, or what is left of it as it was flooded when the dam was put in. Now a little place where you can check out a few galleries, eat nice food and find out all about the local history.
The Tutukaka Coast has most beautiful beaches and a good place to see the beautiful Poor Knights Islands (marine reserve). The first little settlement you get to is Ngunguru, drive on past Matapouri to Whale Bay. Whale Bay is accessed by foot only, but via a very good track.
If you are driving up north from Auckland, use highway 16, which goes out northwest to Wellsford. The roads are far more wow and scenic with less traffic, lots of beaches to see along the way.
There are lots of walks and mountain biking out the back of Dunedin for adventurous people – weather changes quickly here and there can be lots of flooded rivers, ask the locals and be prepared for what you are getting yourself into. Very different to Europe! Get mountain biking information from the Dunedin council website. Easy rides for beginners and kids are in Jubilee Park.
Waihora Lagoon along the Western Bays Road is a hidden gem and so worth the effort to go and see it. When you turn in, you go through some farmland and along some fairly rough roads – if your car can handle it keep driving until you reach the carpark. Park and follow the track to the lagoon. Old trees dripping with lichen surround the lagoon, it almost feels as if little talking animals are going to come out and talk to you. ....This place is magical.
The Waihaha River mouth on the Western Bays Road is most often reached by boat or kayak, but there is a little track..... Drive to the end of Waihaha Road and follow the bush track down the hill. From here to reach the camp site you do need to swim across the river mouth (which happens to be freezing cold), if you are organised and have some sort of floating device that keeps your stuff dry, it’s fine. Once at the camp site, you need to find the custodian to see if there is actually space to stay and they charge a small fee. If you are in a kayak the trip up the Waihaha river is worth it, the Tieke Falls at the end are cool and surrounded by a good swimming hole – a good place for a picnic!
The little town of Opononi is a real New Zealand icon, it may not look impressive to the traveller but in the 50’s this town had a resident dolphin called Opo living there that swam with people. There is a sculpture as a reminder (drive slow or you will miss it). Check out the video shown at the local museum to get the vibe why NZ loved Opo so much.
The full day inner city shopping experience: Start with souvenirs at the bottom of Queens street, make your way up, go into Vulcan Lane and High Street for designer shops, walk past the book stores in Lorne street. Make your way back to Queen street and go up the hill. Turn right into K Rd for a slightly more “gritty” shopping experience – interesting, ethnic, hidden treasures, follow right to the end where you turn right again into Ponsonby Rd, and discover more quirky shops intermingled with many designer home accessory store and many cafes.
Bethells beach on the west coast has a real community feel. There are a few beaches around here to explore – you can walk over the sand dunes to O’Neill’s beach as well (foot access only). The beach is not very safe to swim at; the life guard tower is not manned all the time. There is safe swimming close by at Lake Wainamu. A little shop at the beach sells good looking food; cash only.
Manukau Heads light house is one of the highest driving points in Auckland with amazing views over the city and on a good day you can even see Mt Taranaki on the west coast. Entry to the lighthouse is by donation, a good picnic spot but the water is not safe to drink so bring your own.
Goat Island is NZ’s first marine reserve. You can bring your own dive or snorkel gear and see the marine life for free.
Go to Great Barrier Island, it’s a holiday in its own right, amazing beaches, surf, and forest. Get there by plane, or the ferry to the small settlement of Tryphena. Bring as much food over as you can as everything on the island is really expensive.
Auckland city Library is a good place to chill out, read newspapers from around the world, flick through magazines and use the internet. No parking outside as it is in the middle of the city behind Queen Street.
The drive out to Whangarei Heads road follows little sheltered bays along the coast, at the end of the road is Ocean Beach, a massive beach with white sand, excellent surfing, rock pools and amazing views.
If you want to go well off the beaten track make your way up to Mimiwhagata Coastal Park, managed by DOC, camping available, basic water and toilets. You have to walk a few hundred metres to get there.
The cape: a few little walks along the coast and over the hill where you can go and see the little blue penguins and the yellow eyed penguin for free at dusk. Walk out along the pier and you might run into a big stinky seal as well......
Up the Waitaki Valley are a series of lakes created as part of a huge hydro power scheme. At the top of Lake Benmore is a short walk of about 40mmins, at the top you can see Mt. Cook across the lake.
The Domain is a huge oasis in between Auckland central and Parnell. Gardens and lots of paths to check out, also a good short cut to get to other parts of Auckland. On the top of the hill is the impressive Auckland museum.
If you are game to drive along 90mile beach you need to be a bit careful, only do it 2 hours after high tide and drive as close to the water as possible so you don’t get stuck in the soft sand. Lots of cars do get stuck, flooded and destroyed. Emergency services are far, far away, it is for this reason that if you are driving a rental car you will not be insured. If you are not keen to drive yourself, catch a tour bus.
At the southern tip of 90 mile beach is Ahipara, a surfer’s paradise, also very close to Ship Wreck Bay where you can see wrecks at low tide. This area is loaded with lots of history about gum diggers.
Port Chalmers, a quaint little town across the harbour from the peninsula is worth checking out – cool little shops, and while you are here, drive up further to Aramoana. Walk out on the very long wharf, amazing views, Antarctica beckons.
There are 25 Regional Parks throughout the Auckland region that have lots of walks, picnic areas, safe swimming beaches, historic sites, and places to camp in them. One thing to note though is take extra plastic bags as none of these parks have rubbish bins, you must take your rubbish home. A good place to get a whole bunch of useful information about the regional parks is the Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Ranges.
Make the effort to walk to the Bridge to Nowhere on the way paddling down the Wanganui River.
The drive to Wanganui through the Parapara's is very beautiful, Roads are very windy. There can be slips in bad weather
Kai Iwi Beach is about 10mins out of town and is patrolled during the summer. A great family beach with safe swimming.
A good day trip is is along the Whanganui River road. Loop from Wanganui to Pipiriki across the Papapara Scenic Highway. takes 4-6 hours
Mountain biking in Rotorua is amazing!!!! The Redwoods have heaps of tracks of varing difficulty and are easy to navigate around. There are lots of places where you can rent bikes from. There is even a shuttle to bring you to the top.
There are lots of very beautiful lakes close to Rotorua City. Lots of easy walks and good swimming spots. Easy to get to by car. The Blue lakes are 5 minutes from Whakarewarewa Forest
Kayaking on Lake Tarawera is the goods, the mountain is quite intimidating and majestic. Lots of good fishing spots and a few nice campsites.
If you happen to have access to a kayak, paddle out on Lake Rotoiti to the natural hotsprings. The 45 min paddle is well worth the effort.
Rotorua has night markets in the middle of town every Thursday, weather permitting. Good local produce.
The track around the Blue Lake in Rotorua is very nice. About 5km, good for a quick run and the lake is good for a swim afterwards. There are toilets there.
Wellington is a funky town! The waterfront area is great, the museum is there as well as many sculptures dotted along side the walkway. Lots of good photo opportunities.
There are lots of markets in Wellington city and suburbs, mainly on the weekends. Each market seems to trend towards a specific something; some are fresh produce, some are mainly craft, and some are overflowing with interesting brick-a-brack. Wellington’s oldest market is the Harbourside Market in Waitangi Park.
Wellington has a wind turbine on Brooklyn Hill. Good views.
There are really good walks around Wellington City. We did all of the seven recommended ones, our favourite was Sanctury to Sea, which started in Trelissick Park at the bottom of Kaiwharawhara Road: this easy walk is well signposted and takes about 2 hours.Worthwhile way to see the city in a different view.
There are lots of Heritage trails and sculpture trails to explore in the main city if you have extra time. The free sculpture trails start at the City Gallery in the middle of town.
One of the best city streets is found at Cuba street in Wellington. Great food and just take time to look at all the interesting people walking along the footpath. A must do!
The drive to around KariKari Peninsular is fantastic. Lots of secluded beaches. We didn't stay there but Maitai Bay looks a great place to spend the night.
The Hope Saddle lookout (Nelson to Westport Highway 6) is perfect for a quick stop. Easy walk to viewpoint. Great lookout.
Peters Lookout on State Highway 80 (on the way to Mt Cook) is well worth a stop. Beautiful views over lake.
If you have family, the two playgrounds at Ohope are as good as any that we found in NZ. The playground by the shops also has huge trees nearby which are great for climbing. While to other down the beach has a fantastic flying fox. Both are right on the beach so its easy to take a quick swim. Fantastic spot.
The Fairbrother Walk gives an excellent experience at Ohope with amazing (pohutakawa - NZ Christmas Tree) flowers and interesting eco kiwi project. We didn't see or hear any kiwi but walked during the day. Nice swim in ocean after a hot walk!
We stayed at Ohiwa beach and walked up to the nearby Maori Pa site. Nice spot and great views.
On a hot day there are nice swimming holes near Nelson city in the Maitai River.
Take the turn off at Hicks Bay and drive for a couple of minutes to Onepoto Beach. Beautiful spot with great swimming and interesting rock pools.
Taking the walk down Tolaga Bay Wharf (the longest in NZ at over 600m) is a great side-trip. Watch the locals catching fish.
Hire a bike and cycle around the various wineries. There are lots of good ones to choose from.
Ruakokore Church. Has to be one of the best Church locations in the world. A family of penguins live underneath it and the vista is fabulous.
Lucy's Gully. A 5 minute detour off the main road. Native bush, picnic areas and trails (including a decent walk to the summit), plus a grove of American Redwoods, planted in the 1920's.
Ahu Ahu Road End is a top place to stop for a swim, a little break or take the short walk over the Weld Rd road end. Interesting location with offshore reefs and good surf when the swell is running.
Castle Point Lighthouse walk - watching the huge swells rolling in at the point is magic, and there are trails around coastal caves to explore. Best visited at low tide, and extreme care required.
Christmas Bay: short, steep walk to amazing coastal views. An inspiring spot to watch the sea do what it does best, especially when a big swell is running.
Cool caves to explore, complete with glowworms. You need to ask the owner and pay a donation for access, but well worth it.
The drive to the lighthouse is pretty crazy, with a rugged access road. Walk to the lighthouse and get a real ‘edge of the earth’ feeling. You can keep driving up the coast to White Bay (you need to stick to the road as it is private land all around).
Ocean Beach – Sheer cliffs and incredible wild coastline. Walk the 4WD track around the Coast for incredible views.
Great fishing, diving and a wild, in-your-face coastline awaits exploration along the Tora Coast.
The little known walk from Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay is stunning. 1.5 hours return.
Woodville harbours perhaps the finest collection of second-hand stores in New Zealand... Seek and ye shall find.
Wastebusters is a local legend - a veritable treasure trove of the pre-loved! Most houses in Wanaka contain a few gems sourced here. Wander around and check out the local 'reduce, reuse, recycle' efforts in action.
Broken Hills in the Coromandel. Lots of interesting walks taking in gold mining history. Plenty of tunnels too. Some over 500m long. Bring your torch! If in a camper then the nearby campground is a worthy stay.
In summer, on a hot Wanaka day, take a picnic dinner and head to Beacon Point for a swim in the shallow, unusually warm water as the sun sets. Beauty!
Otama beach is beautiful. Isolated with white sands.
The 309 road. Take your time as there are lots of possibilities along this twisting, gravel road. Including a waterfall, swimming holes and Kauri trees. Explore and enjoy.
The drive into the West Matukituki Valley is a gravel road with a few fords, a few sheep, sheer mountains, and is total magic. Central Otago mountain country at its best. Note that after rains or during the spring melt the fords can be substantial, and best not tackled in a 2WD car (speaking from experience).
The Waihopai Spy Base isn't a known tourist attraction, but my visit provided a lifetime memory. Drive down Waihopai Valley road underneath alpine mountains and suddenly you come across two giant golf balls, in the middle of a paddock. It's a surreal experience. Only 5 minutes off the main road. But hush, hush.....
If you like crayfish then Nin's Bin is well worth stopping for. Located within a seaside caravan, on the roadside of SH1, overlooking the Pacific ocean. Super fresh and the prices are much cheaper than in town.
Take the 1 minute drive down Kiwa Rd, directly off State Highway. Fantastic rest areas and one of Kaikoura's most consistent surf spots. Jump in the water or just take time next to the mighty Pacific Ocean.
We found this amazing Waihau beach and no-one else was there! I'll never forget it.
The Gisborne waterfront was like a beacon for early Maori and European explorers. Just 5 mins from the city, retrace history and walk to where the first pacific waka and Captain Cook's ship the Endeavour first made landfall at NZ.
Kaiaua Fish and Chips - cheap, real nice fish and chips and you can eat it on the beach across from the shop.
Ship Cove - This historic site was Capt James Cook's most favoured anchorage in all his visits to NZ. Now a scenic reserve, it's also the northern start/finish point of the Queen Charlotte Track.
On a hot day you'll want to cool off. Nothing better than a dip in a clean mountain river. Payne's Ford in Golden Bay has a great pool nearby - complete with overhanging climbing, rocks to jump from and a swing into the deep.
Taupo. You can try a huge range of honey and other bee products for free, interesting information about bees (I really like documentary you could watch there and that you could sit there in front of the documentary - TV very cosy with many pillows etc). But products when you wanted to buy them very expensive, great that you could look into the beehives.
Cheese Shop, Featherston A new shops in January 2014, great range of cheese and deli items - funky interior, great service, free tasting.
The Chocolate Eclair Shop, Ohakune Almost free! $1.20 chocolate eclairs with fresh cream as big as a bread and butter plate - 2 hands required -totally pleasurable!

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