New Zealand is considered to be the most beautiful place on planet. If you are planning to visit this country rich in natural landscape with mind blowing adventures to try then you are really lucky. There are many places to visit, hike, trek and camp but there are few locations which you will really feel to be in paradise. Here are the bet 10 local hotspots to venture and be close to nature.
1. Crucible Lake
This beautiful little iceberg-studded lake lies in the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park, in the south-west of New Zealand’s South Island. It can be accessed during a 3-4 day hike by experienced hikers only – a truly off the beaten track destination surrounded by some of the most beautiful and most dramatic scenery in the country.
The lake is set in a hanging valley under peaks festooned with glaciers. In the several acres of water, flat blocks of ice that had formed in the winter floated alongside huge icebergs that had calved from the glaciers above. There were over a hundred good-size bergs in the lake, which looked frigid and gray under pewter skies.
The Mt Aspiring National Park is known for its mountains, alpine lakes, river valleys, waterfalls, glaciers, and beech and podocarp rain forests. The mountainous and glaciated heart of the park is unspoilt and truly a wilderness. Rising above the park’s largest glaciers, is Mount Aspiring (Tititea) the highest mountain in the park at 3,033 metres. You can reach the park from either Wanaka, Makarora or Glenorchy.
It’s on the Gillespie Pass Circuit that hikers have the option of visiting Crucible Lake. This loop hike is 58 kilometres long and takes between 3 to 4 days to complete. It links the Young, Siberia and Wilkin valleys via Gillespie Pass (at 1,490 metres) and can be walked in either direction. You can view more about the Gillespie Pass Circuit on the DOC website.
2. Castle Hill
Castle Hill is a location and a high country station in New Zealand’s South Island. It is located at an altitude of 700 metres, close to State Highway 73 between Darfield and Arthur’s Pass. It is private property and located within the Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area.
The hill was so named because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle. The front of Christ Church Cathedral in Christchurch was made from Castle Hill limestone. The station was established by the Porter brothers, and later owned by brothers John and Charles Enys.
You probably didn’t know this but Castle Hill was named by the Dalai Lama as the ‘Spiritual Centre of the Universe’ in 2002. The ruins look somewhat like an ancient castle and occupy a large, private farm. Nearby Flock Hill station was the filming location for a battle scene in 2005’s “Chronicles of Narnia.”
3. New Chums Beach
‘New Chum Beach’, which ironically has been voted as one of the world’s top 10 beaches. New Chums Beach is a beach in the Wainuiototo Bay on the northeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, near Whangapoua. New Chums Beach is flanked to the north by the 171 m tall Pukenui and to the southeast by the rocky Motuto Point rising to 85 m.
New Chums is only accessible by boat or a 30 minute walk on an off beaten track. This stunning stretch of golden sand is fringed by Pohutukawa and native forest and is deserted for most of the year. New Chum beach embodies ‘The Coromandel good for your soul.’ This protected beach has no buildings, no roads, no infrastructure or camping – it is a jewel in New Zealand’s coastal crown.
4. Farewell Spit
Farewell Spit is a narrow sand spit at the northern end of the Golden Bay, South Island of New Zealand. Known to the Māori as Tuhuroa, it runs eastwards from Cape Farewell, the island’s northernmost point. It is located about 50 kilometres north of Takaka and 20 kilometres from Collingwood. The tiny settlement of Puponga stands close to the western (landward) end of the spit.
It forms the northern side of Golden Bay and is the longest sandspit in New Zealand, stretching for about 26 km above sea level and another 6 km underwater. The spit runs in from west to east, and is made from fine golden sand. You are guaranteed to find your own private beach for the day as Farewell Spit is way off the tourist radar. It’s like a desert in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
5. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Located just a short drive from Base Rotorua, Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley is the hydrothermal system created on 10 June 1886 by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera, on the North Island of New Zealand. It encompasses Lake Rotomahana, the former site of the Pink and White Terraces, as well as the location of the Waimangu Geyser, which was active from 1900 to 1904.
The area has been increasingly accessible as a tourist attraction and contains Frying Pan Lake, which is the largest hot spring in the world, and the steaming and usually pale blue Inferno Crater Lake, the largest geyser-like feature in the world although the geyser itself cannot be seen since it plays at the bottom of the lake.
Waimangu means ‘black water’ in Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand. This name comes from the water that was thrown up by the Waimangu Geyser, which was black with mud and rocks.
6. Lake Marian
Lake Marian is an alpine lake at the southern end of the Darran Mountains in the Fiordland National Park in the South Island of New Zealand. The lake is located just above the treeline in a hanging valley leading northwest from the Hollyford Valley near The Divide pass. The valley is sheltered by steep snow-covered peaks of over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) on all sides apart from the entrance.
The lake is fed and drained by Marian Creek which in turn feeds into the Hollyford River. Marian Creek’s catchment upstream of Lake Marian includes several permanent snowfields in a cirque at the head of the valley northeast of the peak of Mount Crosscut. There the creek drains two smaller alpine lakes, Lake Mariana and Lake Marianette, followed by the 122 metres (400 ft) tall Lyttle Falls, before it reaches Lake Marian.
7. Putangirua Pinnacles
The Putangirua Pinnacles (also known colloquially simply as The Pinnacles) are a geological formation and one of New Zealand’s best examples of bad lands erosion. They consist of a large number of earth pillars or hoodoos located at the head of a valley in the Aorangi Ranges, on the North Island of New Zealand, in the Wairarapa region.
You may recognise this eerie place from LOTR or as the ‘Paths of the Dead’ in Return of the King. There are many walking trails and a few camping grounds around the scenic reserve which can be found at the bottom of the north island.
8. Anapai Beach
Anapai Beach can be found in Abel Tasman National Park. Abel Tasman National Park is a New Zealand national park located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the north end of the South Island. It is named after Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand and who anchored nearby in Golden Bay.
Like New Chums, this beach can only be reached by foot or boat .There is a very small campsite which you can book for a night. A coastal paradise that you can walk through or explore by cruise boat, sailing catamaran, water taxi or sea kayak, visitors love the way the Abel Tasman National Park mixes physical exertion with beach life. Bursts of hiking or paddling are punctuated by sun bathing, swimming and sedate snorkelling.
9. The Blue Pools
These ideal swimming lakes are not too much of a local’s secret but they do tend be bypassed my many travellers visiting New Zealand. Located just a short drive from Base Wanaka, take the 20 minute walking track along the Haast Highway to the swing bridge which crosses the Makarora River.
A great spot for swimming or jumping from the bridge you can spend time looking at the Blue Pools and then carry on down the valley for a couple of hours. Most of the track is through the beech forest beside the river but there are also open sections. Nice flat walking but because the track is so new it can be a bit muddy if there has been rain.
10. Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most important and exciting conservation projects. It is located 30km north east of central Auckland and just 4km from the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. A hundred and twenty years of farming had seen this 220-hectare island stripped of 94% of its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The Island is now 60% forested with the remaining 40% left as grassland for species preferring open habitat.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is just a short ferry ride from Auckland. There is a secret Tunnel with freshwater running through it and a handmade Sea Shell path leading to a lookout. The island is frequented by birdwatchers and is well worth a day trip.
Now enjoy these 10 favourite and popular hotspots in New Zealand and share your thrilling experiences.