1. For a beach break: Tauranga
There really is ‘plenty for everyone’ in the Bay area. Tauranga is known for its stretch of white sandy beaches next to Mt Maunganui, but within close proximity you have a wide choice of fishing spots, stand up paddle zones and shops too. This makes it perfect for a weekend away with either family or friends!
2. For the hikers: Catlins Coast
The ‘Catlins’ refer to the most south western point of New Zealand, in between Kaka Point and Fort Rose (closeby to Invercargill). This is excellent stomping ground for forest treks, kayaking or horse riding – there’s even the opportunity to do ‘ecotours’ around Curio Bay. This is an undiscovered part of New Zealand, and it’s easiest to reach from Christchurch or Invercargill.
3. For a digital detox: Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island was made for turning off. The island is composed of boutique hotels, lush wineries and top draw restaurants to boot. Hire a few bikes and cycle round the island for two days, occasionally stopping to try the local sauvignon, olives and sourdough bread.
The easiest way to get to Waiheke Island is via a ferry from Auckland – find out more about transport to Waiheke here.
4. For the photographer: Te Anau
Te Anau is an ideal jumping point, from which to explore Milford Sound, the Kepler Track or the Glowworm Caves. Even if you don’t plan on leaving your hotel room, the lodges around the lake have some of the most beautiful views you could wish for!
5. For the one who wants to escape: Kerikeri
Photo: Florian Bugiel / Flickr
Kerikeri isn’t like the other destinations on this list. Instead of adventures, Kerikeri has the quiet allure of cottages, country pubs and the coast. You can also visit Kemp House here, New Zealand’s oldest standing European building – first built in 1821.
6. For the one who’s seen everything: West Coast
Photo: Flying Kiwi Tours / Flickr
Think you’ve seen it all? The South Island’s rugged west coast is the best for travellers who feel like they have ‘covered’ New Zealand. Between the glaciers and hikes, there are beaches and magic rock formations – check out Pancake Rocks or Gemstone Beach to discover a few new corners of the South Island.
7. For the romantics: Coromandel Coast
Photo: Russell Street / Flickr
The Coromandel Coast is beautiful, but many of the bays have limited access. This is perfect if you enjoy long walks, as you’ll be rewarded with the prettiest private bays and beaches.
8. For the foodie: Wellington
Photo: Wei Hang Chua / Flickr
Wellington has some beautiful bike tracks and walks along the coast, but the real fun is in refueling. Cuba Street and Courtenay Place are lined with restaurants and cafes with every cuisine under the sun – raw vegan treats, Indonesian nasi goreng, fried chicken and waffles… you name it, it’ll be here.
9. For the adventurist: Queenstown
Photo: Zoe / Flickr
Go for a weekend in Queenstown and stay in the city if you want to be part of the social crowd, but if you want to escape (whilst soaking up the surroundings), Bob’s Cove is a nearby neighbourhood, which is in close proximity to plenty of tramps, fiords and the rest of the Southern Lakes.
10. For the surfer: Oakura
Photo: Jason Milich / Flickr
Oakura is a small surf town on the North Island, tucked into the southwest corner. It’s closeby to Raglan for the real wave riders, and the coastal community is very creative too. Expect to spend your mornings ducking in and out of cafes and small boutiques, before exploring Mount Taranaki on foot or the scenic Forgotten World Highway drive in the afternoon.