Kiwis, 8 ways to explore your own backyard
We’re living in a bizarre world right now. Any plans you had for 2020 might be on hold right now, as flights are cancelled, lockdowns are announced, and events are called off. Luckily, our small corner of the world hasn’t seen the worst of it. We’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor adventures. Plus it’s more important than ever to support local business. Here’s a bunch of ways to explore your own backyard, get some fresh air and help out fellow kiwis.
Slide down Te Paki’s giant sand dunes
The far North has plenty of natural beauty to boast about, but if you’re looking to add an adventurous spin to the trip, add Te Paki to the list. It was once actually its own island, but over millions of years sand built up to form the dunes. They’re a remarkable sight from below, or if you’re up to it you can walk to the top for some stunning views. But the most thrilling way to enjoy them is of course to sandboard down. The locals tell us any old boogey board won’t do the trick, but you can hire a sandboard for $10-15 nearby.
Walk Tawharanui Peninsula
Tawharanui Regional Park is located just 90 minutes north of Auckland but is one of the country’s most stunning untouched locations. Once a large private farm, the Regional Park has so much to offer. Lounge on the beach, go for a surf, take a leisurely stroll up the hill, enjoy a picnic or go on the ecology trail. Either way, you’ll find crystal blue waters, rare wildlife and panoramic views.
Explore the Redwoods
Whakarewarewa Forest, also known as The Redwoods, is 5600 hectares of epic forest with something for everyone to enjoy. It’s one of Rotorua’s greatest treasures, known for mountain biking tracks, walking trails and the towering Redwood trees. A truly unique experience, even for Kiwis.
Admire Cathedral Cove
This picturesque spot on the Coromandel is an iconic postcard perfect Kiwi location. And on visiting, you’ll see why. Just a skip, hop and a jump from famous Hahei and Hot Water Beach, this stretch of the Coromandel is a must-visit.
Climb Cape Palliser
Just an hour’s drive from Wellington, Cape Palliser is unforgettable. Climb to the top to see the grand old lighthouse up close. The views (and the steps) will take your breath away. Spot the seals lounging on the rocks, blissfully unaware of the worldwide pandemic taking place!
Kayak the Abel Tasman
Top of most New Zealand travel lists, the Abel Tasman National Park is one long stretch of stunning coast waiting to be explored. Visit a bunch of idyllic beaches on foot, amongst lush native forest on the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Or hire a kayak to get around – exploring caves and secluded bays only accessible by water. There are plenty of charming accommodation options along the way, allowing multi-day adventures. Wildlife enthusiasts will want to visit Tonga Island Marine Reserve, home to little blue penguins and seal pups as well as an array of marine life.
Walk Hokitika Gorge
Google ‘Hokitika Gorge’ and one of the popular questions asks why the water is SO blue? This kiwi gem is truly impressive – yet you don’t need to trek for hours to experience it. It’s nice and easy, and takes just 15 minutes one way, so it’s suitable for the kids and parts are also wheelchair accessible. Ready for more? Check out nearby Mount Cook National Park.
Cycle Gisborne’s coastal railway
Pedal along a scenic coast on a tandem side-by-side bike connected to the old railway. A totally unique way to experience the East Coast. There are a few different options depending on how long you’ve got (and fitness level). Kick it old school with a standard pedal bike, or take it easy with an e-bike. Once you’re done, check out our next favourite Gisborne activity – feeding the stingrays!