With summer in full swing, all we want to do is plan our escapes. And while we wait for an international escape, New Zealand is hard to beat when it comes to authentic experiences that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world. Indeed, it’s time to rediscover the delights of your homeland, so here are 14 enchanting secret places to visit in New Zealand this summer.
1. Slipper Island, The Coromandel
This secluded island would give Fiji a run for its money. Expect the most stunning white sand beaches, activities like mountain biking and water sports, exploring shipwrecks and lighthouses, followed by the cutest pig to mind and much more. Excitingly, Slipper Island Resort is the main accommodation which makes up 95% of the island, and boasts an array of luxurious chalets and glamping tents. Therefore, expect a lot of privacy. Excellent for couples looking for a summer getaway, or a group of friends because you can rent the whole island out.
📍 15 minute water taxi from Tairua, The Coromandel, New Zealand
Also known as Pupu Springs, you’ll find this hidden gem on the South Island in Golden Bay. It contains some of the clearest water ever seen, and is the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand. Equally, it’s the biggest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere. Because the springs are important in the Māori culture, it is forbidden to swim in the water. However, it is well-worth the 45 minute hike.
📍 Pupu Springs Road, Tākaka 7183, New Zealand
3. Bell Rock Lookout
This track near Napier in Hawkes Bay isn’t much of a secret, but what many visitors don’t realise is that the 4.4 mile loop has an iconic lookout that can only be accessed on foot. When you reach the top, you’ll feel as if your in the Lion King as you take in the panoramic views in front of you. Certainly, the lookout you need an insta-worthy shot atop this summer.
📍 Pohokura Road, Hastings District, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
4. Hell’s Gate Mud Pools
Rotorua is an epic geothermal utopia with mud pools, natural hot springs, majestic forests and volcanic lakes. Hell’s Gate Mud Pools are said to have healing properties, so you will feel your anxieties melt away as you cover yourself in mud, exfoliate in the Sulphur spa, and just indulge in a therapeutic experience. Indeed, one of the most magical secret places to visit in New Zealand this summer.
📍 Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand
Another secret place in Rotorua. This award-winning tourist attraction is a secluded forest walk that features 28 suspension bridges through ancient redwood trees. If you go at night, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale, walking on platforms in the trees surrounded by illumination and stunning lanterns. Wonderfully, it was once visited by Royals, Prince Harry and Meghan, so you know it must be spellbinding.
📍1 Long Mile Road, off Tarawera Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, New Zealand
6. Tunnel Beach
Another one of the greatest secret places in New Zealand for adventurists. After a short walk on a coastal trail in Dunedin, revealing spectacular wild flowers, clifftops and a secret 1870 built tunnel, you’ll land at Tunnel Beach. Bring a picnic, and stay for sunset…we promise it will be extraordinary.
📍 Tunnel Beach Road, Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Inspired by Bali, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered another world, at this fascinating haven near Punakaiki. This Canopy Camping coastal accommodation features an outdoor bath and shower, fire pit, and more, nestled among a peaceful garden, with iconic views of the West Coast. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the wilderness, but also feel like you’ve travelled out of New Zealand.
📍 Fox River, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand
8. Arethusa Pool
This surreal secret lake can be found on the Lake Wanaka island of Mou Waho. Opt to camp there or take a day tour, and hike to experience the wonders of this famous glacially formed lake. When you reach the viewpoint, it overlooks the enchanting pool, and landscape, which makes an epic instagrammable shot for your feed.
📍 Mou Waho Island, Lake Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
9. Kai Iwi Lakes Reserve
Escape to the exotic dune lake of Lake Kaiiwi that resembles a tropic paradise. Lounge on the white sand beaches, swim and catch rainbow trout, delight in the lush green forests, and plenty more. Most visitors opt to camp under the stars for an unforgettable experience. Indeed, this is one of the greatest secret places in New Zealand to add to your summer bucket list.
📍 Dargaville, Bay Of Plenty, Northland, New Zealand
10. Fairytale Treehouse
Another unique fairytale experience that will take you on a real life journey beyond your wildest imagination. This majestic house hidden in a secluded forest, and built into trees, is the perfect summer escape for couples looking for a bit of childhood nostalgia. Check out the advertisement on the Airbnb website for more information.
📍 Whangerie, Northland, New Zealand
If you’re seeking some relaxation this summer, these pristine hot pools are just the place for you. Unfortunately, you can only access them by air or by boat. Though, they are magnificent mineral hot pools, surrounded by lush greenery and a blue water lake, offering the perfect weekend getaway to soak up the summer sun.
📍 Manupirua Bay, Rotorua, New Zealand
12. Blue Pools Track
Although this spot is a famous tourist attraction, not many Kiwi’s know it even exists. One hour from Wanaka, hike through a majestic forest, and cross a swing bridge, to bathe in the marvellous blue pools of Makarora River. Believe us, the photos don’t even do this place justice. Consequently, you’ll have to experience it for yourself.
📍 Mount Aspiring National Park, Otago Region, New Zealand
13. Farewell Spit
As the longest sand track on the planet, it stretches across 34km. Enriched in history, culture and nature, this spot is an unmissable adventure this summer. With a gannet colony, an 1869 historic lighthouse, shipwrecks, and more…you’ll be totally enlightened. You can experience the whole track with a Farewell Spit Safari Tour.
📍 Golden Bay, New Zealand
14. The Dukes Nose Lookout
One of the Northland’s best kept secrets, this incredible hike is excellent for fitness enthusiasts. The 6.7 mile track is tough but offers iconic views at the top of Whangaroa Harbour. Certainly, an instagrammable experience.
📍 Bay Of Islands, New Zealand