Explore New Zealand destinations you’ve probably never heard of.
Take the unbeaten path to Hokianga Harbour, a deep inlet on Northland’s west coast and one of the first landing places for early Māori migration. Their creation story is told in the Waipoua Forest – soaring with kauri trees – and coexists with modern pursuits such as sandboarding, swimming and feasting on fish and chips.
The Matapouri Mermaid Pool on Northland’s south-east coast is as still as a bath at low tide but erupts into a frothy conniption when the waves roll in. It’s a steep trek through dense forest to get there but you won’t find hordes of people spoiling the view.
South-east of Christchurch, on a peninsula comprising two volcanic cones, New Zealand’s only French settlement retains touches of Gallic flair: Colonial architecture, galleries, cafés and charming B&Bs. Dolphins frequent the harbour and hiking trails link the region’s many secluded bays.
It’s difficult to attract attention in a country already world-renowned for its wines but Waitaki, just north of Dunedin on the South Island, encompasses a valley of great vineyards, an art scene that includes Steampunk HQ and, most adorably, little blue penguins that waddle ashore every night.