New Zealand is home to some of the best sites – and sights – in the world. It is a place filled with sprawling landscapes and breathtaking sceneries. These include the mountains of Milford Sound, the magical set of Hobbiton, the icy Franz Josef Glacier and the mud pools and geysers of Rotorua.
Aside from the usual must-see sites of NZ, there are plenty of awesome places to visit in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Here is a list of some of its most underrated gems.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi Island may not be your typical place to get a souvenir item or a custom sticker in NZ, but the experience is an unforgettable one. Located in the Huaraki Gulf, this island is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It is one of NZ’s most exciting and important conservation projects.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is home to rare birds such as the takahē, North Island kōkako and kiwi and several other endangered reptiles. It has been mammal-free for years, which led to its blossoming aviary population.
Golden Bay, Abel Tasman
Golden Bay is one of the hidden gems of South Island NZ. Tucked in the island’s northwest corner, one can enjoy the breathtaking scenery or participate in arts and crafts and sports. Fall in love with the view of the famous Takaka Hill.
Enjoy the quiet golden beaches, protected by the longest sand spit, Farewell Spit, which keeps the waters calm and safe for families to enjoy. The towns are perfect for taking a stroll with unique shops and local cinemas to keep you occupied and entertained.
Despite its extraordinary beauty, tourists and visitors seldom visit the area. If you decide to swing by, you will not be disappointed.
Kapiti Island, Wellington
One of New Zealand’s oldest and most essential sanctuaries for birds is Kapiti Island in Wellington. Experience what it is like to be on a predator-free island and see native birds and critically endangered species roaming about when you visit the island.
An overnight stay might even give you the chance to see a little spotted kiwi bird running around in the wild. Despite being such an accessible area to go to, a visit to the island can only be possible by joining approved tours in small groups to limit the number of people on the island each day.
The Catlins, Dunedin
One of the most unsung spots in the South Island region in NZ, the Catlins is a beautiful and captivating place. Located between Balclutha and Invercargill, the area boasts of picturesque waterfalls, forests, and beaches.
Head over to The Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail to see petrified remains of a 160 million years old forest. Check out Nugget Point for amazing wildlife such as yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions, or maybe even a Hector dolphin or two at play along Porpoise Bay.
Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay
Located in Hawke’s Bay, famous for the best food and wine NZ has to offer, Te Mata Peak gives you a spectacular panoramic view of the land. The nature trails leading up to the summit, with an elevation of 399 metres, is an excellent exercise for hikers and bikers.
On a clear day, you might even see the volcano Ruapehu. Legends say that the mountain is the body of the giant, Te Mata. It is said he died eating his way through the hills trying to prove his love for Hinerakau.
There’s so much more New Zealand has to offer. Be sure to include these places and others in your travel itinerary when you visit.