What are Some of the Lesser-Known Gems in New Zealand?
New Zealand is well known for all of its awesome tourist destinations, but if you want to avoid the crowds, there are plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. Here are a few of our absolute favourite lesser-known gems in New Zealand.
Aorangi Forest Park, Wairarapa
Aorangi Forest Park is a 194-square-kilometre protected area in the Wellington Region of New Zealand. By road, the park is around 80 km south of Masterton and 100 km east of Wellington. Access into the rugged Aorangi Range and the network of tracks within Aorangi Forest Park is gained via several major streams.
As seen in the Lord of the Rings, visit the Putangirua Pinnacles! Rain and flood erosion has formed these impressive stone pillars. The leaning rock formation, Kupe’s Sail is also worth checking out. The Park also contains Māori occupation sites; a kainga (a resting and eating place for travellers) and the Putangirua Pa site, on a steep outcrop.
Paradise in Picton
Few places in New Zealand can compete with the tranquillity and beauty of Picton. The graceful coming and going of the Picton ferry does nothing to disturb this idyllic seaside town – in fact, it arguably adds to the magic. If you are looking for accommodation in Picton, check out the Picton Yacht Club Hotel for a relaxed and comfortable stay.
There is something for everyone in Picton and you don’t need to organise anything to enjoy a few hours of relaxation. In fact, we recommend you give yourself half a day of scheduled nothingness to unwind. Rain or shine, the views of the hills, palm trees, and magnificent Marlborough Sounds will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
Aramoana Beach, Otago
Aramoana Beach, which sits at the mouth of the Otago Harbour, is lined with steep cliffs and has a boardwalk through a salt marsh where you can view birdlife and ships coming in the harbour. Aramoana Beach is an awesome place to go for so many reasons. You can collect seashells, surf, watch wildlife, climb sand dunes, look at interesting rock formations, or just walk along the beach (often in complete solitude).
There are a couple of different sections of beach broken up by the Aramoana Mole (a massive breakwater) where you’re likely to encounter sea lions and birds. The peninsular beaches draw most of the foreign tourists, but Aramoana is definitely worth adding to your Dunedin itinerary.
Motueka Saltwater Baths, Nelson Tasman
Built in 1930, the Motueka Saltwater baths overlook the glistening waters of Tasman Bay and D’Urville Island in the distance. This unique attraction couldn’t possibly be in a more scenic, yet relatively undiscovered location. What was once a wire enclosure designed to provide safe swimming in the bay has now become somewhat of a destination in its own right.
With a wooden deck for sunbathing, a playground, picnic area, and BBQ facilities, the Motueka saltwater baths are popular with locals all year round. Here you’ll find families splashing around during the summer months, and photographers rugged up warm to indulge in some sunset photography during the winter. Visit during high tide in the early morning or sunset and there’s a good chance that you’ll have it completely to yourself, so you can practice your walking on water.
CPG Hotels Have You Covered for Accommodation
If you are planning a NZ getaway, CPG Hotels have some great boutique accommodation options around the country, each with its own unique character, history, and style. Proudly New Zealand owned and operated, our properties are renowned for offering true Kiwi hospitality, excellent service, and inspiring design. Get in touch with us today to book your stay.