Top 5 Hidden Gems Of New Zealand

Last Updated on May 23, 2023

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New Zealand has established itself as a world-renowned travel destination with its rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes, and awe-inspiring fjords. With so much on offer, it’s no surprise that tourists often stick to the ‘must-see’ attractions during their stay here. But, come to think of it, wouldn’t it be amazing to explore some of New Zealand’s lesser-known hidden gems and experience something truly unique? 

It’s time to break away from the crowds and indulge in some of the country’s most secluded and undiscovered spots. Imagine dipping your toes in the clearest lake in the world or relaxing in a natural spa on a remote island with no tourists in sight.

Top 5 Hidden Gems Of New Zealand

In this guide, get ready to go on a journey to discover the top hidden gems you can include in your well-planned tours in New Zealand with family or friends. 

Below you can explore some of the most picturesque and unspoiled locations that’ll leave you with unforgettable memories:

1. Hokianga Harbour 

Nestled on the rugged coastline of New Zealand’s North Island lies the enchanting Hokianga Harbour. With its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty, this hidden gem offers visitors an unforgettable experience like no other, making it an ideal location for those traveling to NZ

One of the highlights of Hokianga Harbour is the towering sand dunes surrounding the harbor entrance. These massive dunes offer an exciting playground for thrill-seekers who are up for the challenge of sandboarding down the steep slopes. 

The harbor is also rich in history and considered the Maori culture’s birthplace. Visitors can take a guided tour of the harbor and discover the early Maori settlements and the impact of European colonization on the area to immerse themselves in the local Maori culture and learn about the area’s fascinating history.

In addition to its rich cultural heritage and adventurous activities, Hokianga Harbour is also a perfect place to relax and unwind. The area boasts several beautiful beaches and scenic walks where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the harbor or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. Seafood lovers will also be delighted that the region is renowned for its fresh and delicious seafood, with many opportunities to sample the local delicacies.

2. The Blue Pools 

The South Island of New Zealand is known for its breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders. Amongst the many attractions lies a hidden gem—The Blue Pools. The more popular tourist destinations often overshadow this picturesque glacial swimming spot, but those who do make an effort to visit are rewarded with an unforgettable experience. 

Located just a short drive from Wanaka, The Blue Pools can be accessed by taking a 20-minute walking track along the Haast Highway. As you make your way through the scenic forest, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Photo by Sime Basioli on Unsplash

Once you arrive at The Blue Pools, you can take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters or jump from the nearby bridge for a thrilling adrenaline rush. 

Whether you seek respite from the summer heat or yearn to bask in the tranquil ambience of the surroundings, this spot is an idyllic oasis.

3. Kai Iwi Lakes 

Kai Iwi Lakes, located in the Northland region of New Zealand’s North Island, is a hidden gem that offers visitors a pristine and serene experience. Its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches make it the perfect spot for swimming, kayaking, and camping.

Whether you want to unwind on the sandy beaches or explore the stunning natural surroundings, Kai Iwi Lakes offers something for everyone seeking an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern society.  

Aside from swimming and camping, Kai Iwi Lakes offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, and even water skiing. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll also enjoy the chance to spot native birds and wildlife in the surrounding forest. To make the most of your visit, consider camping at one of the many campgrounds in the area. This way, you can completely submerge yourself in the pristine environment and relish your time at the lakes.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

The region also boasts some exceptional walking and hiking routes, allowing you to appreciate the magnificence of the encompassing forest and hills.

4. Farewell Spit 

As you venture towards the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, an awe-inspiring sight awaits you—the longest natural sandbar in the world. Spanning over 26 kilometers, Farewell Spit is a sight to behold. Despite its remarkable length, Farewell Spit remains relatively untouched by tourism.

When you arrive, you’ll be amazed by the sheer vastness of the beach. With so much sand, you’ll have no trouble finding your private spot to relax for the day, making this serene and enchanting destination feels like your very own slice of paradise.  

Soak up the sun, take a dip in the ocean, or stroll along the seemingly endless stretch of sand. As the sound of waves gently caresses the shore, enveloping you in a sense of peace, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the serene tranquility of your surroundings.

5. Putaruru Springs 

Photo by Nikhil Prasad on Unsplash

New Zealand never ceases to amaze with its breathtakingly transparent and exquisitely colored water bodies. And now, you have another hidden gem to add to your list—the Putaruru Blue Springs.

Located only two hours southeast of Hamilton, the spring is situated along the Te Waihou Walkway. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates the wonders of nature. The source produces almost 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water and is considered one of the purest water sources globally. 

The Mamaku Plateau, where the spring feeds from, is responsible for filtering the water for up to a century, resulting in an exceptionally pure and crystal-clear water source. The water is so clean that it showcases a remarkable blue hue while being nearly transparent. However, don’t be deceived by its inviting appearance, as the water is a chilly 11 degrees Celsius throughout the year, and swimming is not permitted. 

Nevertheless, visiting Putaruru Blue Springs is a unique opportunity to witness the magnificence of nature’s creations.

Ready to go on an NZ adventure? 

While its cities are undeniably captivating, New Zealand’s magic also lies in its untouched and often overlooked destinations. So why not step outside the usual tourist spots and explore the lesser-known destinations in New Zealand? You’ll be rewarded with stunning scenery, fascinating wildlife, and a sense of adventure that can only be found in this spectacular country.

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