With warmer weather on the way and temperatures climbing steadily, planning a summer road trip is a great idea. If you’ve never been to New Zealand before, or live here but haven’t ventured further afield than the cities, you’ll soon discover some of the most beautiful and natural gifts around. The below spots offer some of the most incredible and sought-after scenery that is on offer, so consider including some of these coastal gems in your road trip itinerary.
Abel Tasman National Park
With waters that are as clear as glass, and sandy shores that truly glisten in the light, Abel Tasman National Park is known for having some of the longest hours of daylight, meaning any adventure here can literally last all day. There are numerous little coves to navigate and bays to visit for those after a kayak adventure, while the 51km Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of the top 10 walks you can do in the country. The scenery here includes trails which wind overland from the beaches to slopes that meander up between Wainui in the north and Marahau in the south.
Dotted with caves set in a craggy mountain, and hugging the golden beaches, Coromandel Peninsula is a picture-perfect place to explore. Only 2.5 hours away from Auckland, you won’t believe how secluded and spacious this area feels. This area is home to Hot Water Beach, which is a treat for travellers. The warm water flows out from an underground river along the beachfront and travellers can dig their own spa pools in the sand and luxuriate for as long as they like.
Bay of Islands
Teaming with marine, Bay of Islands is a holiday hot spot is just 3 hours away from Auckland. There are over 140 islands to explore and snorkel around, while cruises are available year-round. Keep an eye out for the local marine life such as penguins, whales and pods of dolphins who like to frolic with visitors – so don’t forget your waterproof camera!
Nicknamed simply The Mount by locals, this dormant volcano is a sacred Maori site that is located along the shoreline. Not only is Mount Maunganui impressive to look at, but a great place enjoy the stunning sunset vistas for those who choose to hike its slopes. The beach is perfect for suntanning, snorkelling, surfing and swimming. You’ll have the mount watching over you wherever you are along the coast, and the golden sands and nearby cafés make it an ideal hang out regardless of the time of day.
With fields awash with lavender-hued flowers and turquoise waters that look like they’re out of a painting, the coastal area of Tekapo is a paradise for nature lovers looking to play games with friends. While the water seem to invite visitors in, please be warned that they’re fed by icy glaciers and are unlikely to be warm enough to swim in for long, regardless of what time of year you visit. Apart from the gorgeous natural scenery that abounds, the hike to Mount John offers visitors an observatory to explore, and breath-taking vistas of the town below and lake.