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  >  Destinations   >  Countrywide   >  Favourite Places

Blehneim

I am usually in a hurry to get to Nelson, why take a detour to Blenheim?

Often overlooked by visitors rushing off the Picton ferry on their way to Nelson.  Blenheim with nearby vineyards, a vibrant artisan community, wide open spaces and, just down the road the iconic Queen Charlotte Sounds is a world class destination tucked into the hills and rivers of the South Island. And Blenheim is home to New Zealand’s aviation story. The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.  … Peter Jackson is a huge fan, in fact he’s been part of the centre since it was set up …

Check out our travel guide >> Blenheim & Piction travel guide: what to see

Dunedin

Why should I go to Dunedin, isn’t it boring?

Dunedin is barely a blip on the Queenstown glitz and glamour of the New Zealand tourism poster.  However Dunedin is an underrated gem for New Zealanders and Australians with its small town grace.  The town played a significant role in the emergence of modern New Zealand, grand nineteenth century wealth is carved into the distinctive combination of dark basalt and Oamaru stone Dunedin Railway building. Yet you would not be visiting a museum but a vibrant, contemporary city that is looking forward rather than harking back to faded glory.  Dunedin will become one of your favourite places to visit.

RAGLAN

I’m not interested in surfing, so why should I go there?

West Coast beaches, iron black sands, pounding surf are a spectacular drawcard for Raglan. The seaside village of Raglan is New Zealand’s original surf town. Yet Raglan is more than a surf beach destination there is a thriving art scene supported by local weekend visitors,  burgeoning food scene with locally sourced ingredients creating a culinary hit with visitors as well as stunning scenery.  Landscapes range from west coast surf beaches to inland spectacular waterfalls and quiet gravel roads leading to towns steeped in the history of New Zealand.  There are opportunities to explore the North Island without the crowds congregating around the postcard destinations.

Check out our travel guide >> Raglan travel guide: what to see

NATIONAL TROUT CENTRE

Sounds boring, is it a scientific centre or something?

I think it is a place where drivers keep on driving on their way south?  Stop, check it out and be surprised. 

National Trout Centre is a practical name for a mesmerising encounter.  The State Highway One sign is functional.  Children will not be bored and adults get a chance to view, at very close quarters lots and lots of swimming trout. Pink bellied, gleaming, swimming, shafts of silvered trout circle around the bridge entrance.   The entrance is the quintessential New Zealand river view of swirls, curls and water movement from a swift moving stream.

Check out our travel guide >> National Trout Centre Turangi: What to see

WESPORT

Is’nt always raining in Westport?  And it’s very small with not much to do.

Westport is where wild meets west.  Mountains bracket the coast, the Tasman Sea four metre swells create an isolated splendor  A livelihood is sought in a narrow band of land between sea, sky and mountains.  Glorious remote West Coast, South Island is not a tourism hot spot.  It is an original New Zealand underrated gem ready and willing to welcome visitors.  Follow in the footsteps of prospectors, a heritage gold and coal mining trail. Check out a place where it was all about survival of the fittest, or survival of the luckiest.

WHITIANGA

Why go to Whitianga?  The road trip is winding and takes about 3 hours from Auckland. 

Whitianga  is more than a beach, it’s an urban vibe nestled in a rural landscape of sea, sand and surf.  Child friendly with plenty of space for all ages to simply let go.   It is one of my favourite places any time of the year.  This is because of galleries, cafes, wide open spaces and a sense of country meets urban gloss.  Whitianga is having your cake and eating it too.

Check out our travel guide >> Whitianga travel guide: what to see

The journey is worth it

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