Skip to Content
Couple overlooking natural beauty.

Kiwis SHARETHE PLACES THAT aRESPECIAL TO THEM

By Jessica Rapana

Presented by Tourism New Zealand

Credit: Graeme Murray

Group of tourists canoeing through creek.

To know New Zealanders is to know the beauty of their homeland – Aotearoa, New Zealand

From the Great Walks and unspoiled beaches, to the off-the-grid spots you won’t find on a map, and the flora and fauna unique to their corner of the world, there’s something special for everyone.

For Kiwis, the importance of place is what makes them who they are. After all, there’s a reason they always ask “where abouts are you from?” when meeting visitors.

So, Traveller.com.au spoke with four New Zealanders about the places at home that are the most important to them and why.

Credit: Camilla Rutherford

Sean Moran St Bathans,
Takauikatutu,
Central Otago

Sean, a “farm boy” from rural Central Otago, is now based in Auckland where he works in the fitness industry as a multimedia designer. Outside of work, he is a keen photographer and sports and adventure addict. But his favourite place to recharge is still somewhere closer to home.

“St Bathans in Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems,” he says of the 1863 gold mining township, situated at the base of the eastern side of the southern spur of the St Bathans range. “It’s a small town that lies deep in the Manuherikia Valley. It’s off the grid. There’s a lake, some mountains, a country pub and the population is seven. It is the complete opposite to the chaotic 1.7 million Super City that I currently live in. St Bathans is isolated. It’s the perfect place to chill out and recharge.”

Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago
Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago
Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago
Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago

“I always tell my mates it’s a ‘must visit’ if they are heading towards my home town. Get yourself a four-wheel drive and head out to the foot of the range, or grab a towel or a kayak and head to the lake, walk around it, then head up the hill for your classic country pub feed, washed down with the South’s finest tristar drop.”

“I aim to head out there every time I go back home. Some people question why, because nothing changes there, but that’s the beauty of the place.”

Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago
Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago
Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago
Blue Lake In St Bathans, Central Otago

To visit St Bathans, fly into
Queenstown and drive approximately
2 hours northeast.

Map of New Zealand

Nicola Thomas Big Manly Beach,
Whangaparāoa,
Auckland

Every summer growing up, Nicola, would go with her parents and her sister to Big Manly Beach on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, about 25 kilometres out of Auckland. The family still go back there now.

“We would either fly to Manly (very exciting, best dresses required!) or drive in the Blue Ford Cortina (no air conditioning),” explains Nicola, who is originally from Christchurch but now splits her time with her husband and their daughter between Auckland and Riverdale Beach in the Wairarapa.

Big Manly Beach, Auckland Big Manly Beach, Auckland
Big Manly Beach, Auckland

“We spent hours on the beach getting burnt swimming and playing outside in the sunshine. On Friday nights, if we were good, we had fish and chips for dinner, eaten with bone-handled fish knives and on fine china plates. We had our first slice of Vogel’s (New Zealand famous bread!)) in Manly, too. Yum!”

“One of my memories is fishing on the rocks with Dad… No luck. He came home stood on a Kina (sea urchin), which we must of gathered and we spent the afternoon pulling thousands of spikes out of his feet.”

To visit Big Manly Beach, fly into
Auckland and drive approximately
1 hour north.

Map of New Zealand

Chantal Morkel Cape Foulwind,
Tauranga,
West Coast

Chantal was born in South Africa and lived in Johannesburg until she immigrated to New Zealand with her husband in 2007. The couple are constantly exploring their new backyard, from paddle boarding and hiking to watching the sunset with a couple of cocktails. Not only can the couple appreciate New Zealand with a fresh perspective, but for Chantal, one of local travel’s greatest pleasures is the joy of spending a couple of days off the grid.

“We were after a quiet and relaxing getaway away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and a little bit off the beaten track,” she says of Cape Foulwind, situated in Westport on the rugged, yet charming, West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast  Credit: Fraser Clements
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast Credit: Fraser Clements
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast Credit: Fraser Clements
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast Credit: Fraser Clements

“Cape Foulwind is a quiet and what feels like ‘untouched’ area. The very long beach along Okari Road is ideal for a long morning or afternoon stroll. If you like more action, the main surfing beach in Cape Foulwind (Tauranga Bay) always has a few keen surfers in the water. There is also the Cape Foulwind Walkway nearby, which is an easy and well-maintained (and stunning) walkway with breath-taking panoramic views of the mountains and coastline. The birdlife is fantastic. The seal colony can also be viewed from the walkway.”

“Cape Foulwind is a great spot to visit for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is close enough to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, or Westport for grocery essentials and to visit the Kawatiri River Trail, but far away to have a relaxing and quiet time. Best accommodation is at Linga Longa at the end of Okari Road in Cape Foulwind. The property is on the owners’ farm. The deck of this accommodation is incredible for gins, sunsets and to watch the tide come in and go out of the Okari Lagoon.”

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast  Credit: Fraser Clements
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast Credit: Fraser Clements
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast  Credit: Fraser Clements
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast Credit: Fraser Clements

To visit Cape Foulwind, fly into
Christchurch and drive approximately
4.5 hours northwest.

Map of New Zealand

Mau Barbara Marlborough Sounds,
Te Tauihu-o-te-waka,
Marlborough

For Mau, who moved to Christchurch from Sydney at the age of 13, it’s the tranquility of the Marlborough Sounds, a collection of ancient sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The fire and emergency worker last visited there with friends from work earlier this year.

Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough  Credit: MarlboroughNZ
Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough Credit: MarlboroughNZ
Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough  Credit: MarlboroughNZ
Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Credit: Miles Holden

“It is so soothing to the soul to see so much green, untouched land,” he explains. “It’s a great place to unplug, breathe and actually live for a few hours or a few days. Take in the sheer beauty of your surroundings. The wildlife is next level and around every turn, a new view better than the last.”

Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough  Credit: Miles Holden
Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Credit: Miles Holden
Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough  Credit: Miles Holden
Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough Credit: MarlboroughNZ

To visit Marlborough Sounds,
fly into Wellington and catch the Interislander Ferry to Picton (approximately 3 hours).

Map of New Zealand
Back to top