New Zealand is one of those places that takes your breath away on a continual basis. Its two islands are vastly different, but both intriguing in their own ways. The North is a hive of geothermal activity: volcanoes, hot springs, and hot water beaches. The South is chock full of wilderness: epic mountains, beautiful fiords, and pastureland as far as the eye can see. I spent the bulk of my time there on the South Island, and that’s where the majority of my favorite places were. So, for those keen on seeing some of the same places, here are eight of the best sights on the South Island of New Zealand.
New Zealand was one of the most beautiful countries to drive through for the scenery and the vast scale of the place.” – Louise Nurding
I did these sights in reverse, but I also started my Kiwi adventure in wee Te Anau. Most people take the ferry over from Wellington, so we’ll start at the north end of the island.
Te Pukatea Bay in Abel Tasman National Park
The Abel Tasman Trek is one of the famed Great Walks of New Zealand. I stretched the trek to four days, though most do it in three. Doing so allowed me to spend that extra day on the northern loop of the trek, which often gets skipped. The best spot, however, was where I spent my third and final night in the park: Te Pukatea. It’s up a side-trail and was personally recommended to me by the DOC staff member who helped me book the trek.
I could immediately see why she liked it so much. The beach was pristine — the forest encroaching on it as waves smoothed the iron-rich sand. To me, Te Pukatea encapsulated the essence of the Abel Tasman experience: beaches, rainforest, and solitude. [Read more…]