When you’re young, wild and free, the last thing you want to do when you visit New Zealand is to travel down the ‘tourist highway’, sticking out like a sore thumb with a geeky camera hanging round your neck. No way - you wanna see the real Aotearoa, go where the locals go, do what the locals do. With that in mind, we’ve put together '7 kick-ass NZ spots the locals go to'. You’re welcome, Vibrators.
Situated amongst the beautiful native New Zealand bush, this awesome campground is located in the heart of the popular Coromandel Peninsula. Each summer, thousands of people (both Kiwis and travelers from overseas) flock to the Coromandel, yet Riverglen remains one if its best-kept secrets. To cool off on a sunny summer’s arvo, simply head towards the trees where, on the other side, you’ll find a crystal clear river - complete with a rope swing, and enough steep rocks to do ‘bombs’ off all day! When the sun goes down, you’re lucky that spot #2 on our list is 5mins down the road...
Pub, bar, tavern; whatever you want to call it, you can’t visit ‘the land of the long white cloud’ without heading to a local watering hole. You wanna see things like a local? This is where it’ll happen. ‘The Coroglen’ is infamous around New Zealand’s North Island for being a true-blue local rural pub that somehow manages to land some killer artists performing over the summer months. Even on a night where the crowds aren’t funnelling in for a gig, ‘The Coroglen’ will show you a perfect mix of ‘rough round the edges’ farm folk and genuine Kiwi hospitality.
OK, maybe we’re a tad biased - spot #3 on our list also happens to be situated in the Coromandel Peninsula. But hey, it’s not our fault! This place is truly magical; Hot Water Beach. You don’t have to be a genius to realise that the clue is in the title. At this incredible beach, naturally heated hot water comes up through the sand, creating the most epic natural bath 2 hours either side of high tide. You’ll definitely want to get your timing right though - baths dug without the help of the cool high tide tend to be the perfect temperature to cook your day’s shellfish haul!
When you’re in the North Island in spring or summer, you can’t not visit ‘the mount’. With stunning views across the entire Bay of Plenty region, this incredible walk is hands-down worth every step. At a good pace, you’ll be up the top within an hour. Best of all? It’s absolutely free! After a few burnt calories, head to one of the awesome local bars in the township below the mountain for a cold brew… or three.
New Zealand truly is a land like no other. Thermal activity can be found all across the country, and no place more so than Rotorua. About half an hour south of the city, down a secret gravel road, you’ll find Kerosine Creek. Here, much like Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel, a mix of natural hot water springs and cool, clear river water surround you as you soak in the river. Perfect for relaxing after a day spent Zorbing, white water rafting, luging or ziplining.
Traveling to New Zealand in summer? You should know this: Kiwis love their ice cream. In fact, New Zealanders consume the most ice cream, per head of population, in the entire world! With this in mind, there are bound to be a couple of epic ice cream spots around the place, right? You got it! Our favourite, and potentially New Zealand’s most generous ice cream serving, is at the Kuaotunu Store. Thousands and thousands of Kiwis will be able to tell you stories of visiting Kuaotunu as a child in summer, and getting ‘the biggest ice cream ever’. Often too large to eat, Kuaotunu are famous for their ice cream sizes, and you’ll often find the workers challenging each other to serve the biggest ice cream. If you think you can handle it, ask for the ‘Kuaotunu Killer’.
New Zealand is often famous for its beautiful white, sandy beaches. But a little-known fact is that most of our West Coast beaches are actually black-sanded. One of the best (in our humble opinion) is the small surfing town of Raglan. Each summer, people from all around the country escape to Raglan to catch some of the ‘best waves in New Zealand’. Whether you’re a surfer or not, you’ll fall in love with Raglan. It boasts a number of awesome cafes and bars, as well as the most delicious ‘fish n chips’ you’ll get for miles around!
So there you have it! Our ‘7 kick-ass NZ spots the locals go to’, according to us: locals! Interested in visiting any or all of these spots? Lucky for you, they’re all included in our summer tour itineraries! For an easy way to see them (plus a heap of other obvious reasons), book your epic Kiwi Vibes tour today!