With the first Top 20 list receiving some great responses and a lot of recommendations, I knew I wasn’t too far away from compiling the Part 2 of this list, considering how unbelievably amazing our Aotearoa is ! While some from the list below were already mentioned in the “honorary list” in Part 1, the others definitely were worth making aware of, to either get you guys tick it off your list or just help me make it to Part 3 at some stage 🙂 Meanwhile if you want to look at the part of the Top 21 MUST SEE/DO in NZ, click HERE !! Well for now let’s get straight into the Part 2 of My MUST SEE/DO, shall we:
1. Walk up to the Putangirua Pinnacles – These pinnacles are some of the most amazing rock formations that you’ll ever see. It will make you feel like you are on a different planet altogether, just the way you’d feel at Moeraki Boulders or Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. A perfect day would be to do the walk at the Pinnacles, climb to 200+ stairs to Cape Palliser Lighthouse and then finish it off with some wine tasting in Martinborough on your way back. Pure Bliss !! Watch a VIDEO HERE I made when I took my folks for a short hike up there..
2. Click a Selfie at Bluff Signpost – Now this signpost might probably be the most photographed signpost in NZ, given nearly a 100,000 visitors make it to this point assuming its the southern most accessible point of South Island. While it’s definitely worth getting down all the way, the actual southern most point of South Island is the SLOPE Point in Catlins. Can’t blame anyone though, cuz typically Cape Reinga-Bluff is advertised as the Top-Bottom (accessible) points of New Zealand. However as a fun fact – Northernmost point of NZ is Nugent Island, in the Kermadec Islands and Southernmost point of NZ is Jacquemart Island in the Campbell Island group. Read more HERE
3. Nugget Point Lighthouse – Just a short walk from the car park, this light house at Nugget Point in the Otago region, is a great spot for photographers. The walk itself gives you some stunning views of the Otago Coastline but it’s when you reach the viewing platform you get to admire the spot even more.
4. Admire Te Rewa Rewa Bridge in the Naki – When a bridge turns out to be an amazing piece of art by itself and also wins numerous international accolades, it must be definitely something worth a watch right? Well it’s more than just that when you walk to this amazing bridge in New Plymouth, just a few kms out of town by car or a little longer by walk along the Coastal Walkway. Either way it’s a must go to, if you are in the region.
5. Sulphur Point & Hatupatu Scenic Point Rotorua – Most people when in Rotorua go to check out the beautiful structure of Rotorua Museum. What many miss out on is the road behind the museum that leads to an awesome Sulphur point where you can see geothermal activity splurt out right in front of your eyes. The color of the water at this part of the Lake is so distinct & stands out that it’s hard to miss. And further from the Sulphur point is the Hatupatu drive that leads to a dead end where a scenic point gives you panoramic views of Lake Rotorua. If at the right time you might even be able to a few sky divers right above your head.
6. Rere Falls, Gisborne – This beautiful waterfalls just about 40kms from central Gisborne, is so hidden and secluded that on even a hot Sunday afternoon, I didn’t find a single soul lurking around !! It was so quiet and peaceful that it became my blogspot of the trip and I sat there soaking it all in by myself whilst I wrote THIS POST.
7. Walk NZ’s Longest Swing Bridge at Buller Gorge on the west coast. At 110 metres (360 ft) in length this bridge spans the Buller River, 14 kilometres west of Murchison. Walking across the bridge with the green waters of the river below, makes it for one of those “Oh my God NZ is so pretty” moments. Click HERE for more
8. Experience the high winds at Mt. Kaukau Wellington – Ever want to feel like being blown away by 100km winds, and that too on top of the summit, without the fear of falling off from a great height? Then Mt. Kaukau summit in Wellington is just over a 40min short hike away from the suburb of Khandallah. Get yourselves up there on the windiest day possible ! It is an out-of-this-world experience for sure.
9. Hit the Ruapehu Summit in Alpine conditions – Whilst I’ve stayed away from writing about any hikes or walks in this list (or the previous one) this one particularly made it mainly because it’s more of an hike, rather a slightly tiring walk (preferably guided) to make it to the top. And when you do, you get to admire Ngaurahoe on one side and the Taranaki on the other both shining bright and white in winter. Doing the summit walk in the peak of winter is an experience you’ll remember for life. Click HERE to read a separate post on this.
10. Summit Road Drive in Akaroa Valley – Now Akaroa is a small town very popular with cruise companies as most of them tend to dock there for a day before proceeding further. This gem of a valley in the Canterbury region has a drive called the Summit Drive which literally drives along the tip of the hills in the valley giving some stunning views of the harbour on one side and the coast on the other. If you are lucky you might even drive through the snowfall like I did in October. Read more HERE..
11. Hear the loud creeks of the Gannets in Muriwai, Auckland – There are only a handful of Gannet Colonies in NZ that are accessible to the public, but none of them more easier to get to, than the Muriwai Gannet Colony in Auckland. Located at just about 10-20min walk from the Car Park (depending on which side you park), the Gannets here are at their prime between October-January although on either side of those timeframes you’ll still get to see plenty of them. Be prepared to experience some “smell” along with the noise of these of beautiful looking white/yellow birds. They sure are a sight to behold. And if you time your visit right, the sunset comes as an added bonus !!
12. Catch a sunset from Kaiti Hill Lookout in Gisborne – The drive up to this lookout point is still fresh in my head. As soon as you drive to edge of the lookout point car park, it feels like you are flying high above the clouds, with the cliff in front turning into a sheer drop, that you can’t see. Watching the sunset from here with a glass of wine is a perfect way to end your day in the city or even your travels 🙂
13. Rimutaka Crossing Pit Stop – En route to Martinborough over the Rimutaka Ranges, is a pit stop area where you can pull over to rest and/or begin a multitude of short or long hikes as you fancy. However at the pit stop itself is a look out point about 30 seconds from the car park which gives you beautiful views of the ranges; so beautiful that IMO it puts Sydney’s Blue Mountains to shame 🙂
14. Admire the Tirau iSite – Now we have iSites of all sorts across NZ, but this one in Tirau is a clear stand out of the lot. It’s literally a giant corrugated iron dog, sheep & a ram, next to each other that you can’t miss when you drive from Hamilton to Rotorua. A very obvious photo stop for a lot of them, no doubt. FYI the town has branded themselves as “Corrugated Iron Capital of the World”, when you spend a day or two in the town you’ll know why.
15. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway in Bay of Plenty – Probably the most beautiful part of the North Island to drive aimlessly, is the stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway between Te Araroa & Tolaga Bay !! Although the entirety of this highway from Whakatane to Gisborne is amazing too, this stretch of about 130kms was particularly beautiful given the number of valleys you pass through, whilst having the Pacific Ocean for company on the other side. More HERE.
16. Climb the 176 steps of the Durie Hill Tower in Whanganui – While in Whanganui it’s not hard to miss out the view of the 105ft Durie Hill tower that stands out quite obviously on top the Durie hill. Make your way to the base of this tower and climb all the way to the top to get a good view of the city as well as the Whanganui river. The experience of climbing and getting down is so awesome, as you get the feel of walking round & round in circles, possibly even making yourselves dizzy..
17. Okere Falls & Eat Street Rotorua – Firstly the Eat Street in Downtown Rotorua is a place that comes to life at night when the beautiful colorful lights turn on, every single evening. The lights alone are worth going there for, whether you eat anything or not. Next the Okere Falls is yet another beautiful waterfall hidden away from Rotorua’s highlights unless you go looking for it. And if you dare yourself, you can even jump off into the water for a quick swim.
18. Go Wow at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery – The facade of this art gallery in New Plymouth is an art in itself. Like giant mirrors stacked next to each other, the building is an amazing point of interest in downtown New Plymouth. The one city in NZ, outside of Wellington where I could see myself living at some stage.
19. Hot Water Beach Coromandel – Yet another natural wonder in NZ is this beach in the Coromandel. I don’t mean the water at the beach is hot, but if you dig down about a foot deep or so, at the bay you can get yourself a natural spa ready in minutes. Read more HERE
20. Train ride from Wellington to Waikanae – Not sure where else in the world you can find a 45 min train ride that goes from its capital city to a coastal city passing through numerous tunnels as well as giving you some stunning views of the coastline along the journey. And in the evenings you are even treated to some gorgeous sunsets as that coast is where the sun sinks into.
And that’s the next Top 20 of my MUST SEE/DO in New Zealand. It will be a while before I extend this to Part 3 but I think I might compile a different sort of list altogether. Keep following for more, until then Ka Kite Ano.. Meanwhile the first part of Top 20 is HERE again, just in case you want to see what were in that 🙂