When we stumbled across this article asking 11 full-time travel bloggers to share their favourite places in New Zealand, we knew we had to put the question out to our own loyal Stray fans. After all, they’ve gone further off the beaten track to see a bit more than the average tourist.
By no means is this an exhaustive list, but we reckon it’s a pretty good start!
Here are Stray fans’ favourite places in New Zealand:
1. Blue Duck Station, Whakahoro
This one should come as no surprise – in Stray passengers’ surveys, Blue Duck Station regularly rates as one of the #1 stops in the entire country. With rolling green hills, the meandering Whanganui River cutting through the property and a conservation mission to save their namesake, the Whio (Blue Ducks), and other native bird life through education and pest control, Blue Duck Station is a magical gem in the middle of the North Island.
“Blue Duck Station! Even though the road to it is not my favourite one, it is sooo beautiful.” – Tamara Arends
2. Lake Aniwhenua
Want to kick back in the sweet serenity of a glassy lake surrounded by lush native bush? Look no further than Lake Aniwhenua, a North Island stop that takes you off the grid for a plunge into modern Maori life in small town New Zealand. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set with a cool beer or tasty wine from the lodge’s Taniwha Bar after filling your boots on the absolutely delicious ground cooked hangi feast. But the real highlight for most visitors is the wonderful project supporting the local Murupara Area School with meals donations and school visits to brighten the lives of the local kids.
3. Marlborough Sounds
The Marlborough Sounds are usually the first glimpse of the South Island for people crossing the Cook Strait on the interisland ferry from Wellington to Picton. These gorgeous rolling hills and deep sea bays only set the stage for the jaw-dropping South Island landscapes to come. The port of Picton is nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, making it the ideal base to access hiking and biking on the Queen Charlotte Track and getting the full scope of this beautiful region.
“Hands down, the Marlborough Sounds. Beautiful (and different) every single day.” – Eline Bakker
4. Abel Tasman National Park
Proving that the top of the South Island really is a total knockout, Abel Tasman National Park is a coastal paradise of golden sand beaches and dazzling blue-green waters that will leave you wanting days to explore its bounties. Whether you crave relaxation in one of the country’s sunniest spots, one New Zealand’s famous Great Walks, a paddle or sail along the park’s craggy shores, jumping out of plane or feeling the wild rush of canyoning, Abel Tasman truly has something for everyone.
“Abel Tasman. Paradise! Simply stunning. I could look out onto the aquamarine colour sea everyday.” – Nicol Allen-Burt
5. Queenstown area
Queenstown had to make the list! NZ’s coolest tourist town offers up some of the country’s best mountain views, best hikes, best bars, and a helluva lot of adventure. Chase it all down with a Fergburger and it’s no wonder this is a fan favourite! But if you want to get the most out of Queenstown, make sure you get outside the town centre too. Hop on a public bus to nearby Arrowtown for the best autumn foliage or head for a scenic drive around the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy to see more of the natural wonders that put this area on the map.
6. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Want to make all your friends jealous of your trip to New Zealand? Get to Mount Cook National Park!
From the breathtaking turquoise Lake Pukaki to the mind-blowing scenery of the Hooker Glacial Lake and Tasman Glacier in the shadow of Mount Cook, this is hands down one of the most beautiful places you’ll see on your entire trip. You don’t even have to climb New Zealand’s highest mountain – one of the shorter walks to the Sealy Tarns or Hooker Glacial Lake will give you the Southern Alp experience you need!
So what do you think? Did our Stray fans miss your favourite place in New Zealand? Tell us below!