Looking for the best, must-visit destinations in New Zealand? Let us be your 2021 guide!
Planning your next adventure? Or simply wanting some inspiration for future travels? Well, turns out that Australia’s favourite neighbour, New Zealand, will be welcoming visitors much sooner than anticipated. So, in partnership with New Zealand tourism, we’ve tracked down the top 10 must-visit destinations in New Zealand to add to your 2021 bucket list.
Blue Duck Station
Located in the heart of North Island, Blue Duck Station offers guests a stripped-back and unique fine dining experience. You can find this restaurant on the highest point of the station, effortlessly looking down onto the Whanganui River and the Whanganui National Parks with surrounding views of New Zealand’s charismatic mountain ranges. Blue Duck Station offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for diners thanks to their two-hour bush safari surrounding the restaurant and finishing with a 10-course degustation menu seating just 10 guests.
Auckland’s Hotel Britomart is easily described as a gateway to New Zealand’s famed city. An urban oasis, Hotel Britomart prides itself on their authentic and relaxed ambience from the hand-made bricks of the hotel’s exterior to the beautifully timber-lined rooms; It is a must for any Auckland-based visit. With Auckland’s famed downtown waterfront just a touch away, exploring the city has never been easier. And, if you’d rather not leave, munch your way through Britomart’s fresh Italian fare, vibrant Vietnamese of first-class coffee and desserts for that much needed pick me up.
Waitaki Whitestone Geopark
If discovering and exploring is at the forefront of your New Zealand getaway, let the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark be your answer. South Island’s hidden treasure, Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is a land of geological and cultural marvels located deep in the Te Waipounamu of Aotearoa. Sitting halfway between the equator and the South Pole, Waitaki Whitestone Geopark allows explorers to embrace themselves in this majestic precinct through a range of easy walks, uphill hikes, cycle routes, heritage trails and more. Stretching out from the alps to the ocean, visitors will also find bustling towns, a whitestone city carved from limestone, galleries, museums, villages and more.
Reefton Gin Distillery
Sitting on the west coast of South Island, Reefton Gin Distillery is a modern oasis for spirit production in New Zealand. Housed in one of Reefton’s original buildings which has since been carefully restored, the Reefton Distilling Co. team welcome visitors with open arms to their working distillery, tasting bar and retail store. Nestled deep in the untamed wilderness of this quaint town, apart from crafting the finest botanical gins, fruit liqueurs, vodka and whisky, Reefton Gin Distillery also pays tribute to the town’s history making past.
For a sweet treat that goes well beyond a simple afternoon pick-me-up, Owhaoko will have you buzzing as soon as you enter. Set on 6950 hectares of mountainous terrain between the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forests in the central North Island of New Zealand, Owhaoko is an area famed for their rich heritage and oozing an equally delicious supply of premium manuka honey. Integrating food gathering traditions continued on by locals, Owhaoko harvests premium honey made by foraging bees on their land. Allowing guests to completely immerse themselves in the luxury and total solitude Owhaoko has to offer; visitors can stay in their mountain cabin that overlooks the winding rivers and high plateaus.
Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat
You may have read about this place in their feature in TIME Magazine’s World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019, but if you haven’t, Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat is also the only New Zealand accommodations chosen to make the list. Also hailed as a must-go destination, Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat captures the imaginations and hearts of travellers every visit. Set between two soaring mountain ranges, a glacier-topped peak and the river-fed headwaters of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is a unique destination with an endless variety of things to do, from the peaceful to the exhilarating to the sublime.
Found south-east on South Island, Penguin Place is a private conservation reserve dedicated to helping the endangered yellow-eyed penguin survive. Hailing as the world’s first entirely tourism-funded conservation programme, Penguin Place offers 90-minute tours which includes a short introduction to the issues the penguins are facing, a visit to the Rehabilitation Facility, a short bus ride to the reserve and, of course, a guided walking tour where visitors will also have the opportunity to spot a range of native bird species.
Found north-west of North Island in New Zealand, Footprints Waipoua is a must-visit for any traveller looking to experience the true beauty of this enchanting forest. Offering intimate encounters, Footprints Waipoua will take visitors on a guided walking tour led by local Maori teachers allowing guests to experience and learn about the importance of the Waipoua Forest ecosystem. Here, visitors will also have the opportunity to view New Zealand’s tallest tree – the Tane Mahuta (The Lord of the Forest) which stands at 51-metres high.
Have you ever heard of inclusive tourism? Admittedly, for most of us, we haven’t. But, let Making Trax be the ultimate guide you never knew you needed. This not-for-profit platform initiates and facilitates experiences for people who normally would not have access to them. Aimed to educate adventure companies, Making Trax assists to provide relevant information about acquiring or designing adapting equipment for clients needing that little bit more care. Whatever you need, whether that be leading tours, developing an adaptive product for your business or simply give you advice on how to make someone else’s dreams come true at your business.
Located on South Island’s east coast, Orokonui Ecosanctuary offers a range of tours for visitors to explore the famed south-eastern forest. If you’re stuck on what to do, we’d recommend the one hour Orokonui Highlights Tour which takes guests through the grassland and regenerating forest and the start of the ancient forest habitat. Home to a range of native fauna, guides will also share their knowledge of Orokonui’s history, its conservation stories and will discuss some of New Zealand’s treasured native species you will encounter along the way. Finishing at their viewing platform, you will also have an up close and personal encounter with their 600 year old broadleaf forest.
Ready to explore New Zealand without getting on a plane? Then get your tastebuds ready with New Zealand’s Apple Crumble-infused Cider! Or, if you’d rather hit the road, don’t forget to pack these 10 must-have travel items for your next road trip. Thank us later.