New Zealand has an abundance of scenic features, many of which remain untouched and off the beaten track. Check out some of New Zealand's secluded secrets, and include them in your New Zealand holiday plans!
Rotoroa Island, Hauraki Gulf (Auckland)
Rotoroa Island is found in Hauraki Gulf, just over an hours ride on the Fullers Ferry out of Auckland. Originally shut off from public access, for nearly 100 years, the island is now a haven for wildlife. The island has worked with DOC (Dept. of Conservation) to become predator-free, providing a home to a range of endangered native species including Kiwi, Pāteke, Takahē and Tīeke.
The island features magnificent beaches, camping, and a couple of baches (beach houses), offering the ultimate natural escape.
Image credit: Fullers
New Chums, Coromandel Peninsula
Hidden away in the Coromandel you will find New Chum Beach, voted one of the world's top beaches. This beach is protected and has no buildings, roads, infrastructure or camping. It is a jewel in New Zealand's coastal crown.
This beach has won multiple awards including a spot on The Observer's list of Top 20 Best Deserted Beaches in 2006 and Conde Nast Traveller Must-Do list too.
From the northern side of Whangapoua Beach, a 30-40 minute along the shoreline and over the headland via the Mangakahia Drive track will lead you to New Chums. Shuttle transfers are available to New Chums Beach from Coromandel Town with Coromandel Adventures.
Image credit: Reddit
Nikau Cave, Waikaretu (Waikato)
The Nikau Cave found in Waikaretu, in the Waikato (only an hour and a half drive south of Auckland) is a family run business showcasing remarkable rock formations illuminated by millions of phosphorescing worms (glow worms).
The local family run a café at the entrance of their kilometre-long tunnels. They invite all to take a tour through their cave network!
Image credit: Auckland Tourism
Mount Tarawera Crater, Lake Tarawera (Rotorua)
Found on the east side of Lake Tarawera, Mount Tarawera's last major eruption occurred in 1886. The explosion of basalt killed more than 150 people burring an entire village. The mountain range (pictured below) you see today was formed as a result.
The crater offers a difficult to reach, yet unique experience, as you are challenged with a 5-hour hike to reach it. This is one for the most determined sight seekers.
Note, this land is privately owned by the local iwi (tribe) and is immensely revered, having redefined the land and life around it. You need permission to visit, which you are able to get through Kaitiaki Adventures.
Image credit: The Mindful Travel Co.
Castlepoint Beach, Wairarapa
Located in the wider Wellington Region, on the Wairarapa coast, Castlepoint is around a 50 minute drive from Masterton.
The beach attracts large summer crowds due to its historic lighthouse (one of the last two remaining beam houses in the country). Castlepoint has a photogenic lagoon, rocky fishing spots and highly-regarded surf breaks.
If you’re walking up to the lighthouse, make sure to keep an eye out for, and respect the native seabirds and fur seals that call the area home.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Roberts Point Track, Franz Josef Glacier (West Coast)
This track is through the dramatic Franz Josef Glacier Valley. It features everything you'd expect from a West Coast track, from swing bridges to glacier fields, this track has it all.
DOC states the 12km is an "advanced" track requiring a 'good' level of fitness. So if you're up for it, the reward is certainly worth the effort.
Image credit: Department of Conservation
The Blue Pools, Wanaka
Not much of a local secret, however quite unknown to many international tourists, the Blue Pools offer a unique experience. An hours drive out of Wanaka down the Haast Highway, leads to a walking track. The walk is around 25 minutes each way providing a perfect swimming spot.
The water streams from the glaciers flowing down the eroded rocks, creating a collection of deep blue pools.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Mount Crichton Loop Track, Queenstown
Many may think there is no stone left unturned by tourists in Queenstown, however, the Mount Crichton Loop proves that there's always more to see.
A DOC maintained track leads to views over Lake Dispute and a stone sleep out for more seasoned trampers to stay in (first come first served). The two and a half hour hike showcases waterfalls, spectacular scenery, and a glimpse of the gold mining past.
Image credit: Heli 'n Hike Glenorchy
Crucible Lake, Otago (Mount Aspiring National Park)
The deep blue glacial waters of Crucible Lake can be found in the heart of Mount Aspiring National Park on the Gillespie Pass Circuit. While the track is a 58km loop for experienced hikers, the view is worth every step!
The circuit offers dramatic mountain scenery, rich vegetation, and river filled valleys.
Image credit: Entranced by Wilderness
Aramoana Beach, Dunedin
One from the long list of New Zealand's secluded beaches, Aramoana Beach at the mouth of the Otago Harbour has to be one of the best-kept secrets. Dark sand and dramatic cliffs are crawling with penguins and albatrosses, making you feel connected to nature.
30 minutes drive from Dunedin, it's just out of the way enough to promise peace and quiet.
Image credit: Taylor Point Homestay