Road trips are amazing, but do you know what’s even more amazing? A road trip across New Zealand! It’s one of the most breathtaking, magical countries in the world. To really explore its wild, off-the-beaten-track secrets you’ll need a car and preferably some travel buddies with good taste in music. All set? Then keep reading for the best places to visit during your New Zealand road trip…
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The northwestern tip of New Zealand’s North Island isn’t exactly easy to reach. We spend hours driving through deserted countryside populated only by sheep. When we finally arrive at Cape Reinga we follow the footpath from the car park into the thick fog until finally a lighthouse appears on the horizon. We can hear the sound of waves crashing below, but besides that there’s no other sound. It’s wonderfully quiet here at the end of the world.
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Tongariro Alpine Crossing
This is the most beautiful hike in New Zealand in our book. For three hours we battle our way up the mountain, until we reach the first highlight: Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. After a photostop we continued our ascent across craggy paths and narrow crossings until finally we reach our goal: the summit and incredible views dominated by the turquoise beauty of the Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake. Sturdy shoes and a jacket are essential here, because even in the height of summer you’re likely to encounter snow.
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Welcome to the self-proclaimed party capital of New Zealand. After weeks of tranquility and isolation it feels great to be surrounded by people again. From bungee jumping to paragliding to skydiving, this city is a haven for adrenalin-junkies. We opt for a comparatively tame hike to the top of Bob’s Peak and are rewarded with amazing views of the city.
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A visit to the famous Milford Sound is a bucket list staple for many travelers. On our boat trip through this stunning Fjord landscape we pass rugged cliffs, waterfalls and a family of seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Milford Sound is no insider tip, but the hype is most certainly justified.
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The highest mountain in New Zealand and the surrounding national park made a big impression on us. Our 3-hour hike along the Hooker Valley Track took us across winding boardwalks, boulders and meadows towards a glacial lake – all with the stunning Mount Cook towering in the background.
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If you think New Zealand is sparsely populated, you haven’t seen anything yet. In the raw coastal area known as The Caitlins on the South Island there are just 1200 inhabitants, making this the perfect destination for anybody in need of peace and seclusion. Make sure you make a stop at the craggy Nugget Point, which is home to a seal colony and penguins.
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This place will give you goosebumps. On the Otago Peninsula we had one of the most beautiful moments of our entire New Zealand trip: in the middle of the deserted Sandfly Bay we come across a seal. And then another, and another. It’s an incredible experience seeing these lovable animals in the wild.
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About the authors:
Katharina and Romeo are two free spirits from Vienna who travel the world together. You can see more of their stunning photos, videos and stories on their German language blog sommertage.com.
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Did we miss anything out? Leave your New Zealand tips in the comments below ??