10 nature spots you just have to visit in the Land of the Long White Cloud
1 – Kerosene Creek
Don’t let the toxic sounding name deter you, this place is A-MA-ZING. Most people who travel to Rotorua tend to stick to the man-made pools, but for the real experience, Kerosene Creek is the one. Just don’t ask the locals how to get there – they’ll try to deter you as they want to keep this place their own little secret…
2 – Rangitoto Island
Created by a volcanic eruption around 600 years ago, Rangitoto is just a short ferry ride from Auckland. A Maori term meaning ‘Bloody Sky’, Rangitoto offers breath taking views of the city and the walk to the top also allows you to explore lava caves and even New Zealand’s floral emblem, the silver fern. It takes around an hour to reach the peak and remember to bring supplies as there are no shops on the island.
3 – Tongariro Crossing
Feeling up for a good nature walk, or ‘tramp’ in Kiwi terms? Stretching 19 kilometres, expect to see some seriously dramatic scenery as the relatively flat lowlands transform into an icy alpine section, followed by a rainforest! Lake Taupo provides much of the incredible backdrop, where bright green lakes, dark volcanic sands and unexpected jets of geothermally heated steam will provide your version of nature porn.
4 – 90 Mile Beach
Boasting spectacular sunsets and one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world, ninety-mile beach is an almost never ending paradise. New Zealand’s most fabled stretch of sand, it stretches from Ahipara to Scott Point and is in fact only 88 kilometres long, but who’s counting.
5 – Cape Palliser
Journey to the southernmost point of the North Island and you’ll come to the very picturesque Cape Palliser. Climb up to the lighthouse and you’ll be afforded spectacular views of the coast and South Island, as well as front row seats to a breeding colony of fur seals.
6 – Crucible Lake
A diamond in the rough, this beautiful little iceberg studded lake lies in the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park., in the South West of NZ’s South Island. The bad news? It can only be accessed during a 3-4 day hike, so only experienced hikers are advised to make the pilgrimage. If you do make it though, this truly is some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in the country.
7 – Earnslaw Burn
If you’re in Queenstown, why not detour off the beaten track for a few hours and follow in the footsteps of dwarves and hobbits and take the track to Earnslaw glacier. One of the standout locations in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Earnslaw Burn is a glacier that has created a number of cascading waterfalls.
8 – Mokoia Island
Famously known as the location of one of New Zealand’s greatest love stories, Mokoia Island in Lake Rotoura is considered sacred ground by the local Maori and as such access to the island is limited to small boat tour groups only. The islands foreshores have geothermal springs including the famous Hinemoa Pools.
9 – Waitomo Caves
Despite essentially being filled with a ton of creepy crawlies, Waitomo Caves are one of New Zealand’s most well known tourist attractions. Situated in the Waikato region in New Zealand’s North Island, the caves are famous for their stunning stalactites and stalagmites, colonies of glowworms and caving activities. You can even go black water rafting, an activity we highly recommend!
10 – Tawharanui Marine Reserve
One for the underwater lovers amongst you, Tawharanui Marine Reserve is part of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, NZ’s national park of the seas. Over 50 species of fish have been recorded in this area, including stingray, eagle ray, moray, conger eels, red moki and spiny lobster. Don your fins and your snorkel and explore the plethora of New Zealand’s underwater beauty.