5 new places to visit in New Zealand’s South Island

Discover the stunning Pelorus Sound while hiking the Nydia Track | MarlboroughNZ
Discover the stunning Pelorus Sound while hiking the Nydia Track | MarlboroughNZ

With travel to far off exotic destinations off the cards for a little while, the message is clear – explore New Zealand and travel local.  Facebook, TV and social media are currently filled with images of Kiwis doing just that, travelling local, with many ticking off a multitude of bucket list items.  But have they ticked them all off??

Here are 5 destinations that are well worth the visit, and a little off the beaten track.

 

1.    Nydia Bay – Pelorus Sound

Located in Pelorus Sound, a 4-5 hour walk will take you to Nydia Bay, smack bang in the middle of the Nydia Track.

The bay itself offers stunning views across the sound to Kenepuru Inlet, whose peninsulas fold into the distance, and provides a picturesque place to relax.

More than a century ago, steam-powered haulers dragged timber from the bush to Nydia Bay for milling, with remnants still visible of the railway line that carried timber to a 300m wharf for shipment by barge

Nydia Track Hike sees you exploring the Nydia Track and bay and allows you to stay at the fabulous On the Track Lodge - offering a number of chalets, cabins and a yurt for your overnight options.

 
The Nydia Bay Jetty almost looks like a scene straight out of a movie |  <i>Janet Oldham</i>

 

2.    Stewart Island – Rakiura

It's NZ's third largest island, yet it's surprising how many people are yet to tick a hike on Stewart Island off their bucket list.

Over 85% of the island is National Park and is any hiker or birdwatcher’s paradise. With just 28km of road, the 280km of walking tracks are a welcome substitute, suited to short walks, day walks and multi-day hikes.

Whether you enjoy wildlife, walking, boating, fishing, diving, kayaking, hunting or just relaxing, we'd recommend moving it to the top of your bucket list asap.

The island is easily accessible by ferry from Bluff, or by plane from Invercargill.

 

3.     Ben Lomond Station

Located just a short drive from Queenstown, Ben Lomond Station is one of the few remaining high- country stations owned and operated by New Zealanders. The private land is filled with old gold mining pack tracks, diverse landscapes and comfortable lodges making it the perfect place for hiking, relaxing and appreciating NZ's stunning beauty.

Moonlight Lodge easily makes the list as one of NZ's most comfortable and secluded back-country lodges, located deep in the Moonlight Valley. A most comfortable place to spend the night after a day’s walking through Queenstown backcountry on our Moonlight Valley & Ben Lomond hike.

To top things off, you'll experience true local hospitality with a delicious meal prepared by station owners, John and Ginny.

Heaven's Door - there must be a story behind the name, but amazing views nonetheless |  <i>Janet Oldham</i> Hopefully no goblins end up jumping out of Goblin Forest |  <i>Jase Blair (Tourism New Zealand)</i> Blue Jacket Hut - an old musterer's hut on Ben Lomond Station |  <i>Janet Oldham</i>

 

4.    Old Ghost Road

A ghost has awakened in the north western corner of the South Island.  Part of New Zealand’s rich gold-mining history, this old gold miner’s road has been revived as a challenging mountain biking and walking trail.

The 85km Old Ghost trail traverse’s majestic native forest, river flats, valleys and open tussock-land. Along the way, the trail is like an open-air museum, filled with old relics from the mining era, signs allowing you to stop and read about the history of the region and the trail as well as some amazing views and photographic opportunities.

Great for history buffs and avid walkers alike as well as for those that love flora and fauna with the opportunity to spot the rare blue duck along the trail.

 

5.     Paparoa Track

We are sure most Kiwis would not have ticked this one off the list yet, seeing as the Paparoa Track is one of the newest trails and Great Walks of New Zealand – but one to add to the bucket list for the coming summer season.

Found near the iconic Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks) along the rough and rugged west coast, where the wilderness is just that, ‘wild’, the Paparoa Track is a custom-built track, recently completed and opened, 55 kilometres in length and taking in limestone karst landscapes, rich and luscious rainforests, breathtaking views and a chance to once again explore NZ history.

Diverse eco-systems, rare wildlife, gold rush history of the 1800’s along with old farming tracks dot this trail and the remoteness and newness of it give it that extra little something special.

It is also part of NZ’s tragic recent history, created as a memorial to the men that lost their lives in the Pike River Mine and a thank you to New Zealander’s for their support of the families.

 

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