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- Posted:Monday, June 6, 2016
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Five free activities in New Zealand
Guest blogger Anita Dykstra is a travel writer from New Zealand. You can read her great blog on her website.
New Zealand is commonly classed as an expensive country to travel around because of its many pricey tourist attractions, but the best part about New Zealand is that the country is known for its natural beauty. Some of the best attractions are absolutely free and in fact, there are thousands of places that are unknown to tourists that the locals can recommend you go see. It’s not hard to find something free to do in New Zealand; you just have to look up! Here are five ideas of what to see in this marvellous country with no need to dip into your wallet.
Explore the stunning beaches of Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman has some of the most remarkable and deserted beaches in New Zealand. The best ways to experience them is to hire a kayak and go from bay to bay or take a coastal walk. You’re bound to find a spot where there’s nobody else to disturb you. With white sand and bright turquoise water, it will definitely be a highlight of your trip to New Zealand. Try Te Pukatea Bay to experience once of the most beautiful beaches. There are only seven tent sites available here so if you want to camp and admire the view you should get in fast as the spots will go in a heartbeat in the summer months. Where to stay? The big, lovely house at White Elephant Backpackers in Motueka has a vegetable garden in the back, a cat and very friendly, helpful staff who can give great local tips. From here you can explore as far into Abel Tasman National Park as you like, with Te Pukatea Bay just a gorgeous drive up the coast.
Visit the clearest lake in the world
Did you know New Zealand has the clearest lake in the world? Possibly New Zealand’s best kept secret is Rotomairewhenua/Blue Lake, situated south of Nelson. You have to hike for two days to see this beautiful natural masterpiece, but once you’ve reached the destination you’re welcomed to the one of the world’s most remarkable lakes. The water is tapu, which means sacred in the Māori language so for that reason you are not allowed to swim, wash or fish in this lake, preserving it (hopefully) as the clearest lake in the world for years to come. The Blue Lake is situated in the Nelson Lake National Park, where there are a lot of hiking and other beautiful lakes to be seen here too. The best part is that in New Zealand hiking is free to do! Where to stay? The Bug Backackers is set in a relaxed, spacious house run by backpackers. They offer free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and free bike rental—and if you’re driving, there’s free parking, too! It’s the perfect spot to chill out before venturing into the huge national park.
Do New Zealand’s best one-day hike
The Mount Tongariro crossing has claimed to be New Zealand’s best-one day hike and anybody who has done it will agree. Hiking up Mt Tongariro is a must-do for any visitor in New Zealand. It boasts the most amazing views commonly seen in the famous movie ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Its landscape is something you would experience on Mars—out of this world! The hike takes approximately six-to-eight hours depending how many times you have to stop for beautiful photographs. Start as early as you can so you can finish by late afternoon. Remember to bring lunch with you so you can sit next to the crater lakes and enjoy the view for an hour. The colour of the lakes at the top of the mountain are phenomenal. Where to stay? Ski Haus is a great-value hostel located right in National Park Village. They offer private and dorm rooms plus free parking. The enthusiastic staff have great suggestions on local activities, from the best hiking trails to where to ride horses.
Visit the smelliest town in New Zealand
Rotten eggs may not be your aroma of choice but in Rotorua you will not be able to get away from it. Rotorua is New Zealand’s most active geothermic area. It’s full of bubbling natural hot pools, exploding geysers and steaming hot springs. It is a cultural hub for you to learn more about the indigenous Māoris that shaped this country and set its many traditions. Many people think of Rotorua as being an expensive place to visit, but there are actually loads of free things you can do here that the locals can recommend. For instance, you can visit Kuirau Park to see the mud pools and hot springs for absolutely free! You also must see the sacred Blue Lake (Lake Tikitapu) and Green Lake (Lake Rotokakai) where you can enjoy some of the natural scenery Rotorua offers. Not far from Waiotapu (a paid attraction), you can head just down the road to Hot ‘n’ Cold and swim in their natural spring for free! This is where the hot and cold water meet to make the perfect temperature for you to relax in. Kerosene Creek is another free hot spring in the region. In fact, in the area there are loads of other walks and places to see the natural geothermal action for free! Where to stay? Funky Green Voyager is an environmentally friendly hostel with a cosy fire in winter and a lovely BBQ garden in the summer. Their great location puts them within walking distance of everything in town—and just 15 minute’s stroll from the Kuurau mud pools.
See Cathedral Cove, one of New Zealand’s iconic natural attractions
Cathedral Cove has to be one of the North Island’s most popular places—and the best thing is it’s absolutely free! It takes about a 40-minute walk from Hahei to reach this beautiful one-of-a-kind beach. The walk alone is beautiful and there are a few other beaches you can stop and see on the way, too. Cathedral Cove has some of the most dramatic rock formations in the country so remember to bring your camera and prepare yourself for a few selfies; it’s compulsory! Bring a picnic, your togs and some good sunscreen and spend the day here soaking up the sun and the beautiful views. Where to stay? With free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and free parking, Turtlecove Accommodation is a favourite among backpackers. They’re located in Whitianga, just half-an-hour’s drive from Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Has this convinced you to experience New Zealand for yourself yet? Just remember there are so many options of beautiful places you can see that are no cost to you whatsoever!