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Eight one way roads, no exit roads and off the beaten track exploration

The ends of the earth, nine places worth the detour

The road is gravel, windy and seems to take ages to arrive. Anticipation can be replaced with why on earth are we trying to find this place and whose idea was this anyway. Then the horizons open and the destination beams a smile of welcome. Remote, special and with its own unique personality here are places where remoteness is charming. Where being at the end of a deadend road is special and a detour of several hours is just a blip getting to experience the joy of discovery.

  1. SLOPE POINT

Another lighthouse, another powerful place where natural elements combine. Visitors are braced against the constant winds. Frankly it’s freezing and it is February (mid summer). You start to feel like the trees, hunched and bent in one direction facing away from the wind. The weather energy, the boiling, rolling surf and the lighthouse perched on the tip pointing directly at the endless ocean is sheer chilling glory. There is even a single solitary cemetery to ponder about. A definite place worthy of any bucket list.

Directions

Slope Point is the southernmost point of the South Island of New Zealand. Slope Point lies just south of the small settlements of Waikawa and Haldane, near the southwestern edge of the Catlins, Wikipedia

 

Windswept coastal trees at Slope Point in New Zealands Catlins region.
Windswept coastal trees at Slope Point in New Zealands Catlins region
  1. MELLONSFOLLY RANCH

The Central Plateau North Island has the historic Forgotten World Highway with its primeval forests and sheer ravines. Drop dead gorgeous. Yet few people visit the remote central Canterbury settlement of Mellonsfolly Ranch. It is an authentic wild west town bang smack in the middle of New Zealand. Extraordinary streetscape that would not look out of place in a movie set. Got a pair of authentic Levis, cowboy and cowgirl boots and get going.

Forgotten highway, mist rolling in, New Zealand Forgotten highway, mist rolling in
Mellonsfolly Ranch, New Zealand @Dean Wright Mellonsfolly Ranch @Dean Wright

Directions

Turn off State Highway 4 between the Ohakune turnoff and Raetihi at the Ruatiti 22KM sign and continue to follow the Ruatiti signs and brown Transit Old West Town signs.

Please note

There is NO cell phone coverage in the Valley .Remote and currently closed. The waiting is going to make it even better. We’ve even heard a rumor it’s for sale.

Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand @CaveWorld
Waitomo Glowworm Cave @CaveWorld
  1. RURAKI WALK – Waitomo caves

Tourist poster for dead end fun. Nothing like a large network of caves, underwater river systems and glow worms to foster visitor excitement at Waitomo Caves. Since the late nineteenth century visitors have been drawn to the earth’s interior to see what is underneath. And then there is Ruakuri Walk. Visitors who have made it to Waitomo should not miss the lesser visited Ruakuri Walk. Limestone outcrops, small caves to peer into, picturesque waterfalls complete this off the beaten track walk.

 

Directions

Ruakuri Walk: Waitomo area, Waikato region

  1. KARANGAHAKE GORGE

The Ohinemuri River gorge is a historic gold mining location. Walk along steel truss bridges and through railway tunnels. The edge of the Coromandel region is home to several walks off the beaten track. Check out Visit Karanganhake Gorge & Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park: NZ Jane.

The tumbling river below and the regenerating bush should tempt you to stop and explore. Get your explorer vibe going and delve into the rich history and charm of the cycling trails and short walks. And think about the frenzy of gold mining and trudging through the bush in the wet and cold.

Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway, New Zealand @Wikimedia Commons
Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway @Wikimedia Commons
  1. HOT WATER BEACH (Raglan)

Trudge over enormous black sand dunes to get to your destination. Start the journey at the quiet  settlement of Kawhai. Hot Water Beach / Ocean beach at low tide provides the hardy visitor with an instant hot water spa with stunning vistas of iron sands, ocean and sky. It is likely you could be the only people on the beach. Remember to bring a shovel. There are no toilets or drinking water at the beach. And it’s a hot steep slippery climb up the iron sands, best to attempt this in either spring or autumn. Summer it’s hot, boiling and sweating hot.

Directions

Drive to the end of Ocean Beach Road (ask one of the friendly locals if you have trouble finding this road). Park in the car park and walk over the sand dunes down onto Ocean Beach.

Kawhia open air thermal sauna, New Zealand
Kawhia open air thermal sauna
  1. LAKE COLERIDGE & TORLESSE TUSSOCKLANDS PARK

You can’t go any further as there is a stupendously big alpine range in the way, The Southern Alps one way destination Lake Coleridge is South Island lucious scenery without a tour bus in sight.

The mere 24.5km from Torlesse Tussocklands Park is approximately 1  – 1 ½ hours driving. It’s windy, narrow and definitely explorer territory. While a 4WD makes the journey more comfortable it can be achieved in a saloon car (2WD). Impassible in winter this is a summer treat. The bonus is Torlesse Tussocklands Park located at the junction to SH 73 and Arthurs Pass over the Southern Alps.

Back track to SH 73 to a winding route to Arthurs Pass

Lake Coleridge, New Zealand
Lake Coleridge
  1. THE BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE

PAPER ROADS going nowhere fast. And you even have to walk the last 18km or mountain bike the terrain. The Aotuhia Bridge to Somewhere is accessed via Whangamomona. Behind the hotel the road passes the camping grounds and an abandoned Catholic church. You are greeted with a notice that the road is no longer supported by the Council. The paper road is accessible on foot or mountain bike. You will arrive at an abandoned settlement of Aotuhia. It’s a road into the journey of failed farming enterprises. It’s the lesser known relative of the Bridge to Nowhere and suffered a similar fate.

Location

River, Aotuhia, Whangamōmona

For further information consult The ‘bridge to somewhere’ – Taranaki places – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

The Bridge to Somewhere, New Zealand @TripAdvisor
The Bridge to Somewhere @TripAdvisor
  1. CASTLE HILL, CANTERBURY

Maori rock drawings over 500 years old are records left by the Waitaha, the first tribal group to travel through the Canterbury high country at altitudes of 700m. The distinctive limestone rock formations are extraordinary. Nature has sculptured shapes to stimulate the imagination.

The water eroded remnants are twisted into fantasy shapes. The karst landscape is stunning. Photogenic masterpieces located in the Waimakariri Basin. The karst outcrops are part of the Kura Tawhiti Reserve. Observe the glorious butter yellow flowers, do not pick,  Castle Hill buttercup is extremely rare and a lot of work has gone into protecting it. And drones are prohibited over the Kura Tāwhiti Reserve.

Castle Hill Conservation Reserve @sonyaustralia
Castle Hill Conservation Reserve @sonyaustralia

Unique journeys, personal adventures.

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