I have always made it a priority to explore my own backyard before I explore someone else’s. Most of my exploration of New Zealand was when I was a university student, short on cash and looking out for good GrabOne or Groupon deals for accommodation and travel.
I am adulting nicely now so most of my travel budget has been to travel internationally. However, now I have returned home there are some amazing places that need appreciation.
This is New Zealand’s largest city with the most population density. If you’re travelling from overseas, you will most likely land in Auckland. Auckland has so much to offer. From hiking in the Waitakere Bush on the west coast to fine dining and drinking wine in the CBD. Auckland has everything. The iconic SkyTower is a good starter for any tourist. Stay tuned for my travel blog all about Auckland! There is so much to cover!
Pronounced “Fug-a-ma-ta” this is one of the best and most popular summer destinations. Located in the Coromandal, Whangamata is blessed with stunning surf beaches and a cute town to match. Every year in March they have the famous Beach Hop event where enthusiast of American Muscle cars attend from all over the country to parade their beasts.
3. Tauranga and Mount Maunganui
Another summer capital which is known for its mountain The Mount and international surfing competitions. Tauranga and Mount Maunganui are right next to each other so I recommend you check out both while you are there. I must warn you though, they’re fancy so expect boutiques, gelatos and fine dining restaurants. I will be releasing a blog soon to cover the best places to eat and do.
Also known as “RotoVegas”, Rotorua is definitely a hot spot. Literally, because of its thermal activity which gives the city it unique sulfur smell. Bathe in hot pools, mud baths and learn about our rich Maori culture. There will definitely be a blog in future dedicated to Rotorua. There is so much to do.
So majestic. I absolutely love Queenstown. It is a winter wonderland. If you’re wanting that Lord of the Rings views; Queenstown is the place. Beautiful, crystal clear lakes surrounded with epic ice-topped mountains. If your thinking of travelling there for the snow, the best time of year is July-September.
Wine country. Hastings and Napier has to be one of my favorite areas. Climb or drive up Te Mata peak, learn about the history of the earthquake and explore the art deco buildings. Last time I was there was for Social Sciences conference. Stunning weather and plenty of outdoor spaces for networking.
Taupo is a town based around a fresh-water lake which connects to the mighty Waikato river. The Waikato river travels all the way to Port Waikato which is back in Auckland. You will find plenty of waterfalls like Huka falls on your travels to Taupo. A beautiful town with everything you need. I always stay here as a stop over when I do long drives to Wellington.
What I love most about Gisborne is probably their enthusiastic and friendly Mayor Meng Foon. Foon is of Chinese decent but is true Kiwi. He speak fluent Te Reo Maori, Cantonese and English. I spent an evening with his family and friends when I was touring for Miss Universe New Zealand in 2016. Gisborne is famous for their oranges and known as the sunshine state. One of the biggest summer festivals called Rhythm and Vines is held there every New Years where thousands of young people flock with their tents.
9. Paihia and Russell
Definitely a favorite of mine. I have spent multiple weekends in Paihia. One of my favorite hotel chains has a Corpthorne there where you can borrow a bike and helmet and ride around the area. Paihia is where the historic Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This treaty is one of the most discussed and important documents of New Zealand’s history. Across the water you have Russell (New Zealand’s first capital city) which is easily accessible by car ferry. A cute boutique town and famous for their fresh oysters, I am in heaven.
10. Waiheke Island
A short ferry ride from Auckland wharf, Waiheke is the island of the rich and famous. Wineries are scattered across the island so I suggest you do a wine tour to get some views, great wine and delicious food. There are also some great packages with Fullers which gives you ferry tickets and access to transport on the island. Stunning views with magnificent houses. I am not joking about the rich and famous.
These are only 10 of the amazing towns New Zealand has to offer. There is plenty more like Christchurch, Greymouth, Nelson, Hamilton and the list goes on. Stay tune for my future blog posts on Auckland, Rotorua and Tauranga!