New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

  • Small but lovely: St. Kentigern.
    Small but lovely: St. Kentigern.
    by Kakapo2
  • Moeraki Boulders
    Moeraki Boulders
    by Robmj
  • New Zealand fur seal basking on Tonga Island
    New Zealand fur seal basking on Tonga...
    by JohanIsWeg

New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

  • Sightseeing

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    One of the nice little suburbs of Auckland is Mission Bay, with the beautiful water view and the nice park set against the beach, this is definitely worth the 10 minute drive from downtown. Sarah is sitting in front of the Trevor Moss Davis Memorial Fountain, which opens in the springtime for a water and light show. Springtime officially starts on...

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  • Port Hills

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Gethsemane Gardens If you would like to visit a wildly romantic garden with a Christian theme, then this is it! St. Cecilia Chapel is an enchanting little trellis structure in the heart of Gethsemane Gardens. High on a hill and close to heaven, the chapel overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Romantic pathways lead you through the gardens, which have a...

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  • Arrowtown

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    Arrowtown is located approximately 21km from Queenstown, towards Cromwell and offers a place of relaxation and walking trails. Arrowtown started in the gold rush, with Chinese immigrants. The Chinese village remains are a popular free attraction (not many things are free in Queenstown). The local school children do a study on these each year....

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  • Wai-O-Tapu

    Rotorua Off The Beaten Path

    This attraction consists of a serious of geothermal pools and bush walks and the infamous Lady Knox Geyser. They are located just south of Rotorua and are best reached by car. You should buy your ticket at the main location and then drive back to the geyser. The geyser goes off only once a day at 10.15am. The interesting thing about the Wai-o-Tapu...

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  • Port Chalmers

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    Port Chalmers is located on the north shore of Otago harbour and is the deep water port for Otago. A short, 15 minute drive from Dunedin, and we were here! We found a nice lookout here, where my photo was taken from, it had great views of the port area, and of the beautiful Iona church. Port Chalmer's is also famous because the last Antarctic...

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  • Northland

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    When visiting the Bay of Islands area we had to make at least one cruise to see at least a couple of the 144 islands. We decided to make the "Cape Brett Hole-in-the-Rock Cruise" with Fullers, leaving in the morning from Paihia for a halfday cruise. Fullers vessel is a nice catamaran, but if you want to sit outside on the deck be sure to board...

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  • Canterbury

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    Peel Forest is about halfway between the towns of Timaru and Christchurch, via the back roads. Its a great spot for walking, picnicking and just enjoying the outdoors. Several waymarked trails through the trees, and open spaces too.

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  • Hauraki Gulf

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    Update 24 July 2008 The ferry company operating the trip to Tiritiri Matangi has changed (and if only the name...) since I wrote my tip: It is no more the Kawau Cat Ferry but 360 Discovery - and it now costs NZ$ 66. Contact details for 360 Discovery at the end of the tip. Only one word is good enough to describe Tiritiri Matangi: Paradise! Once...

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  • Lake Tekapo

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    New Zealand's most famous sheep stealer, James McKenzie owned a dog named Friday. Both the Mackenzie County and the pass are named after him. McKenzie was apprehended at the Mackenzie Pass by an overseer for the Rhodes Brothers at Levels Station. His dog Friday drove approximately one thousand sheep towards Burkes Pass in 1855 from Levels Station....

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  • Milford Sound

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    MIlford Sound is a must do while in NZ. It is very isolated, so I recommend doing the fly - cruise-fly option from downtown Queenstown. There are 3-4 companies who offer this. It is rather expensive, however does mean that there is not 10 hours wasted sitting on a bus. Also provides the opportunity for amazing photography from the plane. MIlford...

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  • Skyline Gondola and Luge

    Rotorua Off The Beaten Path

    Skyline Skyrides take you up 487m above sea level to a fun on Mt Ngongotaha which overlooks Rotorua, Lake Rotorua and the surrounding areas. There is a restaurant and bar at the top which of course has a spectacular view, and informal eating area and The Luge. This is a world first, 1km gravity ride on a 3 wheeled luge cart which of course has a...

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  • Mount Cargill.

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    If you have a car, then a drive to the summit of Mount Cargill, northeast of the city, is a must. The views from here are expansive and you can see the entire Otago Peninsula and harbour. To the north and northwest the views stretch up the coast and into the rugged Otago hinterland. The road is gravel and not well graded for about a quarter of the...

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  • Auckland Region

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    When going from Paihia (Bay of Islands) to the Haruru Falls, you can follow the Haruru Falls track. The Falls were a bit disappointing (probably because I had seen the Whangarei Falls some days earlier) but the +/- 1 hour track was very nice. One moment you are wandering about in the dense forest, the next moment you are completely taken by...

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  • Otago

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    When gold was discovered in in 1863.in a valley in the foothills of the Mt Ida Range in Central Otago it wasn't long before the town now known as Naseby quickly began to grow as prospectors followed their dreams. The field here proved to be so rich and extensive that the town ended up being moved as the workings grew and grew. The little town...

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  • West Coast Beaches

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    Our local West Coast Beach is great for some fresh air, a walk along this beach is fantastic! Always popular for swimming, surfing, picnicking and fishing but not as crowded as other West Coast Beaches. Please have a respect for the sea as when the surfs up rips work very well so remember always swim between the flags! This rugged West Coast...

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  • Lyttelton

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    and lots of charm. With its brightly painted houses tumbling down the steep hills and narrow stairs to go up and down, Lyttelton reminded me of the Chilean port of Valparaiso way across the other side of the Pacific. Whilst still the busiest commercial port and deepest harbour on the South Island, like its Chilean counterpart, Lyttelton has seen...

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  • Wanaka

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    Wanaka is a small town situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka and was originally settled during the gold rush excitement of the 19th century. It is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Parkand is a resort town for both summer and winter activities. It is about an hour's drive from Queenstown.

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  • Agrodome

    Rotorua Off The Beaten Path

    The Agrodome is a 160 hectare working sheep and cattle farm which gives international visitors a real hands on live experience of farming. There is complete interaction with goats, cattle, sheep, deer and baby lambs. There are many performances throughout the day including sheep shearing and dog trials. It is a unique experience for city and...

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  • The Catlins

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    Waipapa Point is one of several places along the Catlins Coast where it is possible to see Hooker’s Sea Lions. These endangered animals are found mostly at the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, but a few live on the Otago Peninsula, the Catlins Coast, and on and around Stewart Island. Much larger and more aggressive than the shy New Zealand Fur Seal,...

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  • West Coast

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Just three km's north of the hustle and bustle of Punakaiki starts the Truman Track at a small car park along SH 6 between Greymouth and Westport. The track did lead us through dense native bush with lots of typical New Zealand trees like rata's, silver ferns and nikau palms. Closer to the coast there are bushes and flax plants. There is a viewing...

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  • Nelson/Tasman

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    Tonga Bay Beach among one of the many beautiful stretches of beach in the Abel Tasman National Park. We kind of just stumbled on it on our hike through the bush. A very tranquil and peaceful place. Admittedly even in the summer (late December) there was no way I would have gone in the water...far too cold. But many people were out canoeing and...

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  • Auckland Botanic Gardens

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    On the edge of the large Central Lawn area is the Potter Children’s Garden which is designed with the little ones in mind. There is a maze and an interactive walled garden with stories of the puriri tree and native wood pigeon. On the other side of the lawn is the Discovery centre, the rose garden and an area of beautiful camellias from both New...

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  • New Brighton Pier..

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    The pier was built originally in 1894 and was demolished in 1964. $4 million was raised by the council and community funds to build a new pier, and in 1987 it was opened. You can get good views of the ocean at the end, though on a nice weekend day a lot of people will fish from it, and if you dont like the smell of fish and blood then you might...

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  • Kawarau River

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    Even if you don't dare to do a bungy jump, you can walk around the Bungy Centre with exhibitions on the history and equipment used for bungy jump. The surrounding is very beautiful. You can take pictures from the viewing platform or head to the bridge to take some pictures. Did I have a go at the bungy? There is a cafe where you can have a sip...

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  • Rotorua Museum

    Rotorua Off The Beaten Path

    The Rotorua Art & History Museum (Te Whare Taonga O Te Arawa) has some nice exhibits and contains artifacts that display the cultural heritage of the Arawa tribe, who were the main pre-European inhabitants of Rotorua. If you don't interest to visit the exhibits, the charming museum building and its garden is also worth to take pictures.

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  • Taiaroa Head

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    The Albatross has long been a creature of reverence and superstition. Well before Coleridge penned his 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', seafarers believed that when their captains died their souls took the form of an albatross to wander the oceans forever. The Royal Albatross, one of the largest seabirds, is a gliding phenomenon. It regularly...

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  • East Cape

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    We didn't see any dragons but we did see evidence of very poor living conditions and we saw locals travelling to town on horseback. The East Cape is the most remote of NZ's North Island destinations but the journey from Opotiki to Gisborne on the Pacific Coast Highway should not be missed. There seems to be a fear among some New Zealanders that...

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  • West Coast

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    The day we drove from Fox Glacier to Haast we passed some awesome scenery down the West Coast. This place was called Knight's Point Lookout and was great to spend a few minutes admiring before heading off on our way. Like most things in NZ it had a little parking area and info boards that explained what you were looking at.

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  • Mt Eden

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    The Eden Garden is a privately operated garden open to the public on the slopes of Auckland's largest mainland volcano, Mt Eden. The garden occupies an abandoned quarry and was developed from 1964. Today it is full of pleasant walkways through shady groves of native and exotic trees. There is a nice cafe to refuel in. It costs NZ$5 to enter. The...

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  • Akaroa

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Akaroa was orginally set up by the French in their attempt to claim the local area for King & country. While the original 63 French settlers were at sea, sailing towards what they believed was a small piece of France in the South Pacific NZ Governor William Hobson despatched Capt Stanley, on "HMS Britomart", with an English flag. Soon after...

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  • Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens.

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    Glenfalloch means 'peaceful valley' and this place is indeed just that. The gardens are free (donations welcome) and there is plenty of parking. They are only a short drive from Dunedin along the scenic coastal Portobello Road, that hugs the Otago Harbour. There is a cafe on site that serves nice coffee and muffins. The gardens are privately...

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  • Otago

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Trail leaves from Mount Cook Village Campsite. Appx. 60-90 minutes walk up to Hooker Lake. Fantastic view of Mount Cook and the Hooker Glacier. Stay the night at the campsite, then get up early to beat the crowds!

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  • Auckland Zoological Park

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    Auckland Zoo may not be particularly vast on a world scale, nor does it have the diverse range of animals of some world zoos, but it is one of my favourite ways to spend a day. The gardens are really pleasant to wander around and the enclosures are continually being upgraded to standards on a par with the world's best zoos. In February 2003, I saw...

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  • Sumner

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    We wanted to go to the cinema on our last night in Christchurch but the film we wanted to see was only showing at one place - Hollywood Masters in Sumner. "Where's that?" we asked. "Right across town" - the reply. "It'll take you half an hour to get there from here!" So off we set for Sumner - and we were so glad that we had. What a charming...

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  • Larnach Castle

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    On the Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle is open daily for both guided and independent tours and has a huge collection of New Zealand antiques, situated within 35 acres of gardens and grounds. The Barker Family, present-day owners, have lovingly restored this historic castle. Built in 1871 by a local Member of Parliament, Sir William Larnach, the...

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  • Hawkes Bay

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Mahia Peninsula is situated between Napier and Gisborne. It is about a 2 hour drive from Napier (1 hour from Gisborne) along SH 2; in Nuhaka is a turn off to the peninsula. The scenic roads follows Hawkes Bay. Through an isthmus we did reach the settlement of Mahia Beach with a very wide sandy beach. Although we were in the middle of the summer we...

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  • Ponsonby.

    Auckland Off The Beaten Path

    Western Park, Te Rimu Tahi, in the suburb of Ponsonby and near Freemans Bay, is one of Auckland's oldest parks. Opened, officially to the public, on 17 Nov 1879. It is a great place to sit in the sun and eat or read, but just to appreciate some grass and trees in the middle of the city.

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  • Arthur's Pass

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    We booked a tour with Motorcyclesnewzealand.co.nz The route: Christchurch, Arthur's Pass, Portsmouth, Havelock, Kaikaroa, Hanmer Springs back to Christchurch Good roads, Great guide. Comfortable lodgings, Superb views! We saw the south new zealand that most tourists do not see.

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  • Canterbury

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Now, should you be in Christchurch and decide to gravitate around to the harbour at Lyttelton, there's an interesting, though not unique, bit of history on a high point overlooking the bay. It's called a time ball and its purpose goes back to the days of the sailing ships when, in harbours around the world, at just before one o'clock, this large...

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  • Orana Wildlife Park Set on 80...

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Orana Wildlife Park Set on 80 hectares of land within the McLeans Island recreational area, 18 kilometres or about 30 minutes drive from Christchurch's Cathedral Square, Orana Park has been designed with the emphasis on natural settings for the animals. Here you can view them close-up, with few fences, wire or cages. Because of the importance the...

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  • Marlborough

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Driving south from Blenheim we passed the rugged Wither Hills and the interesting double bridge over the River Awatere. Suddenly we saw a strange coloured lake. This is Lake Grassmere, which has a more or less pink colour. This colour is caused by a micro organism, which changes its colour in salt water. And Lake Grassmere has salt water, because...

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  • Methven

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Not exactly off the beaten track but close to Christchurch is the town of Methven (about 1.5 hours drive). Methven is the gateway to the Famous Mt Hutt ski field, the highst in the Southern Hemisphere. Mt Hutt sits high on the eastern rim of New Zealand's awesome Southern Alps. With a stunning backdrop of range after range of snowclad peaks and...

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  • Waikato

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Morrinsville is a farming community located in the Waikato region near Hamilton. When I was a young girl I had a farm stay here and helped milk the cows and watched them shear sheep. Most of rural New Zealand contains farms just like this one.

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  • Hermitage Hotel

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Mount Cook National Park is where you will find New Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt Cook (or Aoraki). The area also has the largest glacier in the country, Tasman Glacier. At the foot of the mountain is Mt Cook village and is the starting point for several hiking trails. The Maori name, Aoraki, means Sky Father and Mt Cook stands at 3,755 making...

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  • Taranaki

    New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

    Driving SH 3 from Hamilton to New Plymouth we reached Tasman Sea at Awakino. About 15 km's further along the road is the little settlement of Tongaporutu. On the southern side of the bridge over the river is Clifton Road and at the end a small car park. With low tide it is possible to walk along the rocks to the beach to the Three Sisters (and...

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New Zealand Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of New Zealand off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for New Zealand sightseeing.
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