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Top Ten New Zealand Summer Destinations

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The New Zealand Summer is bustling full of backpackers who want to experience it all, from the stunning sunny weather to the ever-changing scenery to the pure adventure. However, some backpackers have limited time, some don’t know the country too well yet and some are open to the advice of people in the know so here we go…

The Best New Zealand Summer Destinations

1. Bay of Islands

It’s a favourite of all travellers, you have the beach there as well as surfing, swimming, sailing and dolphin safaris. Only another 4 hours drive away and you’re at New Zealands most northern point, Cape Reinga, the big massive sand dunes and the Giant Kauri Trees! The Bay of Islands is also home to one of New Zealand’s major historical events, where the Europeans and Maori people signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

dolphin bay of islands
Dolphin, Bay of Islands

2. Auckland

Auckland is one of New Zealand’s gateways, where the majority of travellers come and go. People come and think “I MUST GET OUT” but in fact there is heaps to do and it’s a lot cheaper and better to do it in Auckland. Also we have 48 Volcanoes that Auckland is based on and some are expected to BLOW, well in 60 Years but still! Auckland is also the home to the Hauraki Gulf, boasting some stunning and unique Islands to visit, you can’t miss Waiheke Island!

waiheke island
Waiheke Island

3. Hot Water Beach

People reckon this is just a beach, but in fact it is an awesome place to be, where else in the world would you have a beach, an awesome beach side campsite and a natural spa!!! At this Beach all you need to do to get to a FREE SPA is dig. Yes that’s right, dig into the sand and make yourself a little pool, and just like that a spa!

hot water beach
By Andy king50 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Raglan

This place is known as the Ultimate Surfing Capital of New Zealand, with the population as low as anything. This small town has said ‘NO!’ to Macs, KFC to everything! Raglan is such a small town you could walk from one side to the other in 20 Seconds! Make sure you stay at the Secret Karioi Lodge, located in the middle of the bush, but has everything you need – TV, Stereo, Pool Table, Flying Fox, a beautiful deck to see the sunset over the ocean and even a place to hire surfboards and learn to surf!

raglan surfing

5. Rotorua

Rotorua, or Rotovegas as it’s also known, is New Zealand’s culture and spa spot and where backpackers can experience Maori Culturual Shows. You can have a face to face cultural experience and even walk in Rainbow Springs at night. Rotorua is where you can walk around in the dark with a flash light and check out the night native birds and river eels. Rotorua also has natural spa’s and springs where you can have a soak in water that’s been heated by the underground geothermic vents. You can do rafting, zorbing, schweeb, agrodome swing and much more. Rotorua is the one of the Adventure Capitals of New Zealand so you can pretty much do anything here, so GO NUTS!

champagne pool wai o tapu rotorua
Champagne Pool at Wai O Tapu Rotorua

6. Taupo

Lake Taupo is found in the middle of the North Island and is a must see on your New Zealand trip. Taupo has so much to offer but one of the things that it’s most famous for is Skydiving. The cheapest in NZ and in my opinion, the best. Jumping out of a plane, at 15 000 Ft and seeing Mt Doom, (Mt Ruapehu) in the far distance and seeing the coasts of New Zealand! Oh did I mention the pick up in a White limousine and jumping out of a pink plane!

When you come to Taupo a lot of people talk about the Tongariro Crossing, a walk through the National Park. This is one of the famous NZ walks that most people do. It’s Mt Doom from the Lord of the Rings, or Mt Ruapehu as the locals know it, you can do the crossing and it can take up to 5 hours!

Huka Falls
Huka Falls- iStock

7. Gisborne

This place is already known to most people, it’s the first place in the world where you can see the sunrise before anyone else in the world! It is also the ultimate place to spend your New Years, where there is a 3 day event which is called Rhythm and Vines. For 3 days Gisborne hosts all types of music and this is an experience that can’t be beaten. Other than spending New Years there, you can also visit the film location for the Whale Rider, rock sliding, shark diving, stingray feeding and horse riding! After all that, Gisborne is the perfect place to try out some New Zealand wine.

wainu beach gisborne
Gisborne is one of the first spots in New Zealand to see the sun pop its head up beyond the skyline and Wainui is the perfect place to watch it. Credit: Tourism Eastland

8. Abel Tasman

Not many people seem to take the time to come here but, from my experience, this is a must see. You can stay at a place right by the beach and have first pick at what there is on offer here. You can also participate in 3 day 2 night hikes and mix it up with a kayak trip. Kayaking is the most popular activity to do. Where else in the world can you do a kayak trip and pick up a passenger along the way – one of the oceans most playful animals – the seals! How cool is that?!

abel tasman national park
Abel Tasman National Park: Kayak in the ocean before starting your hike in the forest – do both in one day because everything is fairly close together. (James Cameron). CREDIT: Camilla Stoddart

9. Franz Josef

‘TO EVERY TRAVELLER, THIS IS A MUST DO!’ You can do walks, hikes, ice climbing, you can even do a Heli-hike which is the best way to experience the Glacier! The Glacier makes you feel as if you’re in one of those mountain climbing movies! You can spend a whole day doing the Awesome Full Day Glacier Hike and have up to 6 Hours of Ice time!

franz josef glacier new zealand summer destinations
Franz Josef – Edwin Lee

10. Queenstown

The ultimate place to visit in the winter but equally as good in the summer. Experience adventure with everything from Jet Boating, to bungy jumping to skydiving. Queenstown is the Adrenaline Capital of the South Island and New Zealand. In Queenstown we have the biggest bungy, The NEVIS, 134 Metres! These are some must do experiences for any adrenaline junkie! Queenstown is a base for anyone and with the amount of things to do there, you will never get bored!

romantic places in queenstown beach
Queenstown Beach – pixabay

These are my favourite places to visit during the New Zealand summer so make sure you try to visit at least one, if not all, of them. If you reckon I should have added anything else or I need to change something get in touch! Let us know your plans for the great New Zealand summer.

4 thoughts on “Top Ten New Zealand Summer Destinations

  1. The best places on Aotearoa? Tarawera and Tongariro, but these geothermal areas are missing in your wrong list… :))

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