Summer is here! It’s a time to celebrate with friends and family and explore parts of our wonderfully diverse Aotearoa that we keep meaning to visit but somehow put off for “one day”.
What are you waiting for? Life is short, and there’s so much to experience. May this summer be a time for you to gather some friends for an adventure, wild or chilled, and to explore somewhere you’ve always wanted.
Here’s a snapshot of our favourite areas to spark some ideas and it's likely some of our NZ tours will be visiting these spectacular NZ summer spots.
Take your time exploring New Zealand’s sunniest untouched coastline with its rugged bush and historical landmarks. Te Araroa, our oldest pohutukawa, awash with summer colour, will guide you to the East Cape lighthouse with views from the top that are well worth the effort to get to our most eastern point.
If you fancy a spot of fishing, you’re spoilt for choice. Excellent rock fishing can be found nearby via the bush walk at Haupara Point. The mighty Motu River is a must if you’re keen on fly fishing. Enjoy the dense rainforest enveloping this beautiful river by jet boat or white-water raft. Or take a deep-sea charter from Waihau Bay to world-renowned Ranfurly Banks, where you’ll find all the big game you could hope for.
Opotiki is steeped in history and a great place to base yourself to enjoy the gentle ride of the Motu Trails cycle loop or the coastal Dunes Cycling trail. You can walk them if two feet on the ground is more to your liking. Visit Raukokore’s old white church overlooking the sea, and you’ll see why it’s so popular with photographers. St Mary’s Church, with intricate carvings and tukutuku (woven panels), is one of NZ’s finest Maori churches and a place to reflect. Climb the sacred Mt Hikurangi, the resting place of Maui’s canoe and see the sunrise. Rest your weary muscles with a soak in the Morere Hot Springs and enjoy a topple of Chardonnay or other spoils of the region’s famous vintages. There is just so much to do and explore along this exquisite coastline. Learn more about our favourite East Cape spots.
With its quaint cafes and art galleries, Havelock, the ‘Greenshell mussel’ capital of the world, is the perfect place to organise a fishing trip or excursion to explore Marlborough Sounds. Jump on the Pelorus Mail Boat and explore some of the most remote corners of Pelorus Sound. Visit sheltered coves with sandy beaches enveloped in the bush-clad hillside, alive with native bird chorus and enjoy clear, tranquil waters with dolphins, seals, penguins, and orcas.
The stunning Queen Charlotte track is compulsory if walking is more your thing. Whether you do a short walk to Davies Bay for a swim and a picnic or decide to walk or mountain bike the sensational 4-day track, there’s something for everyone.
The Wairarapa region has a lot to offer with its stunning rural landscapes and coastline, award-winning pinot noirs, and charming historical townships. Enjoy views from the North Island’s southernmost point at Cape Palliser or climb magnificent Castle Rock at wild Castlepoint beach to visit one of NZ’s last manned lighthouses. Great for swimming, these waters are frequented by fur seals, several dolphin species and, at times, whales.
Walk through the forest to the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve and be wowed by its unique rock formations, or visit Pūkaha Scenic Reserve, a captive-breeding sanctuary for some of our most endangered wildlife, including tuatara, monster eels, takahe, kākā, kōkako, kiwi and kākāriki.
Greytown’s delightful wooden Victorian buildings offer a wide selection of cafés and restaurants serving seasonal produce and local wines, whilst designer boutiques and stores are full of treasures from jewellery to antiques and art. Enjoy a self-guided walk or cycle around one of Martinborough’s family-owned vineyards, and discover why wine from this region is so renowned.
Conveniently located just a 40-minute ferry ride from central Auckland, Waiheke Island is a world away with its white sandy beaches, stunning vineyards, rolling bays and olive groves. Perfect for all the best things in summer: picnics, swimming, and kayaking. Explore the beautiful beaches of Onetangi and Oneroa. Walking trails skim the island’s cliff tops, beaches and pockets of native forest.
Wineries are dotted throughout the island and have delicious offerings of resiling, pinot gris, and local produce. To walk it all off, why not explore the underground tunnels and WW2 gun emplacements along the Stony Batter walkway on the island's eastern end?
Stay overnight in a beautiful beach house where you can wake up to the sound of the waves and a dip in the sea to recharge completely.
Make the most of hot, dry, long summer days lakeside surrounded by the splendour of the Southern Alps. This world-renowned region offers so much. Why not try a skydive in Wanaka if you're after thrill-seeking adventures? Soak up the incredible views of lakes, glaciers and the magnificent Clutha River on your 20-minute scenic flight and minute free fall down. For something different as a group adventure, climb over boulders and on suspension bridges up the world’s highest waterfall cable climb with WildWire Wanaka.
No trip to Wanaka is complete without scaling Roy’s Peak and walking the Rob Roy Glacier in World Heritage Mount Aspiring National Park. Wanaka’s Lavender Farm is also worth a visit to enjoy the fields of flowers in full bloom, their delicious ice cream and local products.
Queenstown is famous for many things, including the iconic TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu. During this 90-minute tour, soak up spectacular views of the Remarkables and Walter’s Peak. Conversely, the birds-eye views from the Gondola also offer another panoramic perspective. Enjoy New Zealand’s best golf courses with a day at Jack’s Point, Millbrook or The Hills.
Unwind, indulge in a spa treatment, and soak at Onsen Hot Pools with its infamous views over the Shotover River. Jump on a bike and enjoy exploring quaint Arrowtown, beautiful cafes, wineries and the Kawarau Bridge, which all connect as part of a 130km cycling trail network.
You are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to wineries. From Rippon Lee Winery on the shore of Lake Wanaka to the most extensive wine cave in the country at Gibbston Valley Winery, there is plenty of award-winning Pinot Noir sampling to be had.
With its azure waters lined by golden beaches and dotted with sculpted rocky outcrops, the Abel Tasman National Park is a place of unmatched beauty. Whether you plan to walk all or part of the track, take advantage of the easy access of its remote bays with frequent water taxis. Perfect too for a kayak journey, where you can explore the beautiful Falls River and bays not accessible by walkers.
Stay at the luxurious Awaroa Lodge in the heart of the park, and enjoy relaxing in the sunshine surrounded by birdsong. Treat yourself to a massage at their day spa and their seasonal organic produce at the Harakeke Restaurant or Pizzeria.
The Coromandel comprises over 400km of unspoiled sparkling blue water and white sandy beaches, the perfect contrast against splashes of red Pohutukawa trees in their full glory over the summer. Time slows here with its relaxed, rustic vibe and wide assortment of activities, all just a stone’s throw away from hiking, cycling, fishing, sea kayaking and diving. Mender, through local pottery and art studios, enjoy the many concerts and events that celebrate this wonderful, soulful place.
It's a paradise for walkers to enjoy the Coromandel Coastal walkway or Pinnacles. What could be better than sitting in your spa at Hot Water Beach if you want to relax and unwind? No trip to the Coromandel is complete without a trip to the spectacular Cathedral Cove marine reserve, which is accessible by foot, boat or kayak. Feel the memories of our Matauranga Maori ancestors and soak up some of NZ’s most stunning coastal areas, extending from the cove to the chain of offshore islands believed to be the footsteps of the gods.
Bay of Islands
Whether you’re drawn to the Bay of Islands for its big game of fishing and sailing or want to explore its subtropical paradise beaches and historical landmarks, this beautiful area is guaranteed to leave a mark on your heart. Made up of 144 islands, there is nowhere better to holiday as a group. You can charter a yacht, hire sea kayaks or cruise for the day to enjoy abundant marine wildlife above and below the water- dolphins, whales, marlins, penguins, gannets and manta rays.
Base yourselves in the delightful towns of Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri or Kaikohe to sample delicious local produce and access tours and activities. Experience the spectacular Hole in the Rock at Piercy Island by boat or air with an unforgettable Heli-tour. Stand in awe at the base of the great Tane Mahuta, and retrace your footsteps at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Rainbow Falls.
Paroa Bay Winery and Villa accommodation offers the ultimate small group getaway where land, sea and sky merge into one. Midst the remarkable scenery, let yourself be replenished by spoils from their famed vineyard and Sage restaurant.