You’ve probably heard or read about many of the incredibly beautiful spots that abound in New Zealand, but seeing is believing. So, get your bags packed, book your flights and you’re ready to visit this earthly paradise – The Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa.

Castle Hill, South Island. Credit: Francis Vallance (Heritage Warrior)

Already on your places to visit list will be Milford Sound, Queenstown, Rotorua, Kaikoura and Abel Tasman National Park – all the exotic spots you’ve read about in guidebooks or on travel blogs. There are many more beautiful locations that you might not have heard about. These include hidden treasures that New Zealand locals hold dear to their hearts, unwilling to part with these gems in fear they cease to be a secret. These locations are still considered to be off the beaten track for tourists but remain favourite hot spots for the locals.

One piece of advice is that it takes at least a week to go around each Island- preferably it takes two weeks for each Island minimum. So if your time is limited, pick an Island and explore it properly rather than rushing through the entire country.

So, get your holiday insurance organised (you can check for a range of packages to suit your needs), pack your bags, get annual leave from work and hop on the next available flight to New Zealand! The following mind-blowing locations await you!

Crucible Lake

The Beautiful Mount Aspiring National Park. Credit: Michal Klajban

Crucible Lake is a little gem that resides in the heart of Mount Aspiring National Park in the South Island. It is an iceberg-studded lake, surrounded by the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand. The Mount Aspiring National Park is famous for its alpine lakes, mountains, waterfalls, beech forests, glaciers and podocarp rainforests. You can watch the beautiful native birds that populate this region or hike the scenic tracks. There’s so much you can do here.

Farewell Spit

Panorama of Farewell Spit Credit: Jonathan Brewer

Imagine finding a desert amidst the Pacific Ocean; that’s exactly what Farewell Spit looks like. It is the longest sandbar in the world and home to more than ninety bird species. Situated at the northern end of Golden Bay in the South Island, its stretch of sand is 26km long. If you want peace and quiet on a beach – with just you, the sea and no one else around – then Farewell Spit is the place to go.

New Chums Beach

Credit: Piotr Zurek

New Chums is another hidden beach in New Zealand. It can only be reached via a remote track or by boat and is located in Wainuiototo Bay on the northern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Once ranked among the world’s top ten beaches, New Chums features a glorious stretch of golden sand and native forest. It is only accessible by boat or on foot, so remains hidden from the masses.

Lake Marian

Credit: BHendel

This small portion of New Zealand paradise is situated in the South Island of New Zealand, in the Darran Mountains of Fiordland National Park – the surrounding area of which is UNESCO World Heritage listed. Fiordland National Park is also among the top 14 national parks in New Zealand.

Tiritiri Matangi Island

If you long to take your explorations beyond the tourist trail, head to Tiritiri Matangi Island, less than thirty minutes from Auckland by ferry. The artificial seashell path and the secret tunnel through which freshwater gushes out are both well worth seeing. Tiritiri Matangi bears a resemblance to Waiheke and Rangitoto islands but offers more privacy. Birdwatchers are frequent visitors to this island.

The Blue Pools

Although these awesome swimming lakes are not that much of a secret amongst locals, many visitors to New Zealand tend to bypass them. However, it is an excellent spot for jumping from the bridge or swimming. You can find it along the Haast Highway, just an hour drive from Wanaka.

Castle Hill

The ‘Spiritual Centre of the Universe’ was the title given to Castle Hill by the Dalai Lama in 2002. Situated in the South Island of New Zealand on a large private farm, the rocks give it the appearance of an ancient ruined castle. Flock Hill Station is a key attraction close by, where the battle scene in ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ was filmed.

Stewart Island

A tiny Island at the far south of NZ, Stewart Island can be reached by a short flight in a tiny plane or a (sometimes) rough boat ride. Once there, you’ll find a pub, a few cafes, and a small grocery store. It’s isolated and difficult to get to, but once you’re there, it’s worth it. The native birdlife is unlike anywhere else in NZ, and the tramps and trails are numerous and unpopulated. This is a destination truly for the intrepid.

So, there you have it – New Zealand’s most amazing spots that are still a secret to many.

Featured image: © shirophoto –