Top 100 “Must Visit” Destinations in New Zealand: #80-#71

By | October 26, 2010

26 October 2010

It must be noted that New Zealand is an island nation, completely surrounded by ocean and home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world.  In this edition we will be focusing on some of these beach lovers’ playgrounds as well as other aspects of our stunning country.

#80    Cape Palliser, Wairarapa

Situated on the southernmost tip of the North Island, remote and romantic Palliser Bay is a seaside village not to be missed.   With a historic lighthouse, breath-taking views to the South Island on a clear day and accommodation choices from luxury to campsites; this is a place to relax and enjoy.  With plethora of wildlife, excellent fishing and a friendly local atmosphere, there is something for everyone.  See

#79    Taranaki Gardens, Taranaki

Taranaki is a district of New Zealand which is home to over half of our nationally acclaimed gardens.  The Pukeiti rhododendron garden (set in lush rainforest) is spectacular between July and December and is home to over 10,000 different varieties!  From native to English garden, tours are available for these public gardens.  Pukekura Park in New Plymouth (which is the largest city in Taranaki) has meandering walk, native bush and beautiful gardens. Visit for more info.

#78    Buller Gorge – Westland

The Buller River is an impressive and fast flowing body of water that has cut its way through what is known as Buller Gorge, on the West Coast of the South Island.   On the border of the Kahurangi National Park and the gateway to the visually stunning Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – there are also many other tourist activities to partake in while driving through this 169 kilometre track; including jet boating, caving, rafting, quad biking and horse treks.  Visit

#77     Ahipara and Shipwreck Bay – Northland

At the southern end of New Zealand’s iconic Ninety Mile Beach at the northern tip of the North Island, the township of Ahipara and Shipwreck Bay is a beach lover’s paradise. With excellent surf, unforgettable views and sites of historical significance with regard to our colonial heritage, this area is a sight to behold.  Quad biking on huge sand dunes is an exciting activity to partake in along with visiting the remnants of ancient kauri forest and shipwrecks on the pristine sands of the bay.  Visit for more information.

#76    Wainui Beach – Gisborne, Eastland

Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sunrise each day and the unspoiled white sands of Wainui Beach is the best vantage point to experience this!  While in Gisborne the opportunity to taste the regions award winning chardonnay wine should not be missed.  The area has numerous vineyards devoted to this grape and wine tours are available.  See or

#75    Castlepoint – Wairarapa

If you are looking for an old fashioned seaside adventure, Castlepoint in the Wairarapa is the place!  The beautiful bay has a warm lagoon, a reef with whirling seabirds, hidden caves and rock pools.  With plenty of wild life and a windy walk to the magnificent lighthouse there is plenty to explore in the quaint seaside town.  Proximity to the Castlepoint Scenic reserve offers other opportunities to explore along with superb views.  Visit

#74    Seafood Mecca – Nelson 

Nelson is home to the largest fishing port in Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands).  With an abundance of the ocean’s bounty available in the picturesque South Island town, those with a taste for seafood should defiantly visit Nelson!  Of some historical significance – New Zealander Ernest Rutherford (1st man to split the atom) was born near the settlement in 1871; Nelson has many delights for the casual visitor or longer term tourist.  Visit  for more information.

#73    Coastal Walkway – New Plymouth

The city of New Plymouth has many delights some of which we have already discussed in the article.  However, the paved promenade stretching for over 7 kilometres along the scenic coastline offering unsurpassed views of the Tasman Sea is a definite high point while visiting the Taranaki town.  Interesting public art, sculptures, piers, parks and parades line the walk offering something for everyone.  See  for more info.

#72    Moeraki Boulders – Dunedin

These have long been an exciting discovery for tourists – are they ancient dinosaur eggs, or perhaps alien deposits of some kind?  The unique geology of the area along with erosion patterns on the sea have given these boulders their inimitable shape – but they certainly give a sense of magic to the otherwise serene beachside at Moeraki in Otago, 70 minutes north of Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand.  Moeraki also has other delights including yellow-eyed penguin sanctuary, seal colony and historic church with Roman glass flashings.

#71    The Forgotten World Highway  (Taranaki)

The Forgotten World Highway, one of New Zealand’s most secluded roads, explores the ever-changing landscape between Taumarunui and Stratford.  It is New Zealand’s first heritage trail, this scenic route winds over four mountain saddles, alongside the spectacular Tangarakau Gorge and passes through the 180-metre-long, single lane, Moki tunnel.  The Forgotten World Highway is a legendary one-day road trip—in more ways that one—but be sure to fill up your tank before you begin the journey as the next petrol pump is some 150 kilometres away. Visit 

Thanks for reading this edition of New Zealand’s must visit destinations.  We hope you get a chance to experience some of this country’s beach lifestyle, along with the scenic beauty that is “Godzone”.

With thanks to the AA Travel website