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Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
1. Otago Peninsula.
Dunedin’s great outdoors begin at the Otago Peninsula. Start at the top and go from there.
2. Tasman Glacier.
Seeing this glacial lake with its (rapidly disappearing) icebergs and New Zealand’s highest mountain as a backdrop is best done in the early morning hours.
3. Auckland Waterfront.
Auckland’s waterfront is easily accessible from the CBD. Join the locals for an early morning run or bring your camera gear from some superb long exposure shots.
4. Nugget Point Lighthouse.
The Catlins are located an hour and a half south of old Dunedin. Start your day at Nugget Point Lighthouse and go South along the coast from there.
5. Purakaunui Falls.
Despite being tucked away in thick forest, these waterfalls can be reached in less than half an hour from the car park.
Cross the bridge and continue North from Auckland. Locals flock to Piha on weekends and holidays, meaning it’s best to enjoy on weekdays.
7. Hahei Beach.
Remote beaches (including beach swings) are scattered all across the Coromandel peninsula, 2-3 hours East from Auckland.
8. Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Start early to conquer the mighty Tongariro Crossing. It’s not uncommon to experience all 4 seasons within a day in this region of New Zealand’s North Island. Come prepared with plenty of layers, water, and food for a full day of exploring. One of the regular shuttle buses will take you back to either your car or Taupo. Book ahead.
9. Lake Taupo.
The Maori Carvings on Lake Taupo started as an art project for a few local students. Now, their significant cultural meaning sees both local and foreign travellers paddling or sailing across the lake to get a glimpse themselves.
10. Whakaipo Lodge.
Light pollution is a rarity in New Zealand’s rural areas. The grounds around Whakaipo Lodge on the outskirts of Taupo allow for star gazing at the Milky Way.
11. Hooker Valley.
The Hooker Valley track has some of the region’s best views across the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. During high season (November to February) the easy 2-3h return walking trail sees a sharp rise in visitor numbers. Dawn and dusk make for the best photo opportunities.
12. Te Waihou Putararu.
If you’re short on time, the Blue Spring can also be accessed from Leslie Road (15 min each way). Otherwise, start your half-day adventure from Whites Road.