Top 26 Spooky bizarre, odd, freaky things you can find in New Zealand from places to creepy crawlers
- Slope point, the southernmost point of the South Island, south of Waikawa
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
- Mellonsfolly Ranch, Upper Ruatiti
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 Manawatū-Whanganui 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. How to get there : 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. Currently closed. The waiting is going to make it even better. We’ve even heard a rumour it’s for sale.
- Karangahake Gorge, between Waihi and Paeroa
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. 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.
- 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.
- Lake Coleridge & Torlesse Tussocklands Park, Arthurs pass
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.
- The bridge to somewhere, Aotuhia, Whangamōmona
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.
- 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.
- World’s Loneliest Tree, Campbell Island
The Sitka spruce, a northern hemisphere native, is a long way from its taxonomic cousins, and in fact, the closest tree of any kind is more than 170 miles northeast on the Auckland Islands. The seed was planted around the turn of the 20th century by Lord Ranfurly. More than 100 years later, this lonely tree is considered the most isolated tree in the world.
- The natural flames of Murchison
The world’s only perpetually burning fire in a forest. A seemingly clear South Island river, the Blackwater carries a small amount of kerosene. There’s oil buried in these hills, and in a deep fold of beech forest in the Blackwater Valley, the oil feeds a little-known natural phenomenon – if you know where to look. A bizarre cauldron of bright yellow smokeless flames burns eternally in the bush here, feeding off natural methane gas leaking continuously from the ground.
- Jedi Religion in New Zealand
On the 2001 New Zealand census, 53,715 people listed their religion as “Jedi.” That was more than the amount of Buddhist and Hindu in the country. New Zealand had the highest per capita population of reported Jedi in the world that year.
- Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown
According to the Maori legend is Lake Wakatipu is said to be a giant taniwha – a huge monster – lying on its side with its heart beating at the centre of the lake. The beating heart creates the waves that you often see at the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
- Gumboot throwing is a sport
In a small town, Taihape an annual festival takes place where the sport of throwing a gumboot is celebrated. Winner is who throws the boots to the furthest distance. Crazy!
- Unique limestone rocks at Pancake Rocks, Paparoa National Park.
Occur only there. Nowhere else in the world. The well known Inland Pack Track follows a track originally formed by gold miners.
- Longest Name in Any English Speaking Country
The 85 characters long Maori name for a hill in Hawke’s Bay is the longest place namefound in any English-speaking country. It is: Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungah-oronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which roughly translate, “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his loved ones”.
- We are the first country to see the sunrise
Thanks to the curvature of the Earth, the North Island city of Gisborne on the East Coast is the first to see the actual sunrise … Mount Hikurangi is the place to be … stunning sculptures reflect the stories associated with sunrise.
- Creepy crawler
The weta is the largest insect in the world, weighing at 70g. The weta loves carrots and has ears on its knees.
- Powelliphanta snail
It has a carnivorous diet of earthworms (which it sucks up through its mouth), weighs 90g and can live for up to 20 years.
- CARDRONA HOTEL
Jimmy Patterson, owner of the historic Cardrona Hotel (1920’s – 1961) was a control freak. Jimmy decided how much a patron could drink. Any mention of a journey over the high altitude Crown Range and it was only one drink. And Jimmy would not sell alcohol to women who were reduced to asking a male friend to purchase on their behalf. Jimmy owned the hotel until his death at 91. Now Jimmy just doesn’t know how to let go. He is still trying to tell people what to do and is the resident ghost. Considered to be one of most photographed hotels in the country and boasting its own resident ghost, the Cardrona was established in 1862.
- Lyttelton Hotel, Christchurch
The hotel burnt down with a guest sleeping. The new replacement hotel came with a resident ghost. The ghost walks in and out of the dining room and into the lounge, even during the day. It would go into the bar lounge and the owners of the hotel at the time had a small poodle and it would run around and bark at what we thought was nothing. The bar lady at the time said it was in the bar all the time and she would talk to it. Previous owners heard the ghost playing pool and when they entered the room there was no one there. This always happened prior to them opening business for the day.
- Prince’s Gate Hotel
The 19th century hotel is a relocated hotel. Originally built in the gold rush town of Waihi the hotel was carefully dismantled board by numbered board and repurposed in Rotorua. Prohibition had killed the profitable bar trade and Rotorua looked promising. The former New Central Hotel was reborn as Prince’s Gate Hotel. The name reflects the new location, directly opposite the Commemorative Archway Gates entrance to the stunning Government Gardens and Bath House Museum. The archway gates celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales. And ghosts, the Prince’s Gate is a hot bed for ghostly stories. There is an attractive female ghost only seen by single men and haunting room number 29. Or is it room 39 with the story of a young woman who likes to seduce young single men in the hopes of finding a husband. Then there is the phantom who appreciates opera. He faithfully, at 6.30 pm sails down the majestic kauri staircase to find Christine his lost love. His powerful singing voice calls to Christine to accompany him up the staircase.
- Camp Adair, Hunua
The story says that a group of children was killed by the teacher here, and that the teacher can still be spotted roaming around these grounds.
- Napier Prison, Bluff Hill, Napier
Used to be a prison, orphanage and a psychiatric unit. Napier Prison was built in 1862. There are often reports of supernatural activity in the prison, which you can now explore through self-guided day tours, spooky night tours, walk the death row, the hanging yard, the psychiatric units.
- Slope Point Tararua Acre Steamboat disaster cemetery, Waipapa Lighthouse Rd, South Island
The lone cemetery such as near lighthouses are a testament to heroic actions or the call to duty. The story can be humorous or heartfelt. The visible reminder of life is there in the solitary grave. It tugs the emotions and it is a moment when we think about others rather than ourselves. Think of Slope Point, The Catlins New Zealand with its heroic gravesite. It’s poignant and definitely tugs at the heartstrings.
- Port Chalmers cemetery, Church Street, Port Chalmers, Dunedin 9023
Historic cemeteries have captured prejudice in bricks and mortar with the graveyards sectioned according to race, religion and Christian denomination. Jews, Chinese, Protestants, Catholics all had their separate places where mowed lawn verges acting as fences between beliefs. There is definitely no mixing of beliefs in the afterlife. The cemetery is a social document that gives today’s visitors clues to taste, fashion and living conditions.
- Bolton street cemetery, Wellington
The historic cemetery is a crafted landscape decorated to honour lives and it is a pleasure to visit with glorious statutes, inscriptions and plants. Another photo opportunity with sunset making a contrast between the light and dark shadows. It is a place for nineteenth century picnics with the Sunday Glen Eden train service (Auckland) packed with family members, their floral arrangements and picnic hampers off to visit Great Aunt Betty’s grave for the day.
- Taradale Cemetery, 121 Puketapu Road, Taradale, Napier (Te urupa o Taradale)
Cemeteries are great places to find the awe moment, to take time to catch your breath while on holiday. It is unusual for a cemetery to be packed with tourists and visitors. There seems to be an unspoken code, among visitors of social distance and giving individuals space to contemplate. There is often a seat for visitors to simply soak up the quiet, the sense of life, nature and the circles of timelessness that permeates the cemetery. Cemeteries rich quiet enables visitors to lose the sense of self, to be anonymous in the spectacle of the dead. The silent ghosts, the funeral finery reminds us wherever we are there is a universal element to the act of dying and burial that transcends gender, ethnicity or religion.