Growing up I traveled… a lot. So coming back and forth to Auckland meant I have traveled everywhere but the land of the long white cloud. I remember being a young kid thinking Auckland was the capital and my first time to Dunedin I fell asleep on the plane and when we landed I thought we were still in the North Island. I’m a terrible kiwi and I know it, but here I am trying to redeem myself finding the best places to go in our beautiful home land.
After my recent getaway to Tutukaka, I have been raving all about it to all of my friends. It is honestly an undiscovered treasure and is perfect for any weekend getaway. I stayed with the brilliant team at Quality Hotel Oceans Tutukaka and the community is very small and super friendly! Make sure you plan ahead and organise a snorkel or dive with “Dive! Tutukaka”. You will receive not only one of the best snorkeling experiences of your life, but lunch and a comedy show. The guy is hilarious and he also gave my partner and I a VIP sneaky tour around one of the islands on a dingy. Another highlight is the resident sting ray that you can feed! Check out more of my trip here.
Found on the West Coast of the South Island, Punakaiki is a small community between Westport and Greymouth. It is super special because it is situated on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. I haven’t been here yet, but it looks incredibly beautiful and I can’t wait to plan my trip there!
- NEW PLYMOUTH
Hang out by the beach, or by the pool at the Quality Hotel Plymouth International. It’s perfect for any cheeky weekend getaway. Go for a hike around the mountain or hit the shops. I’ve heard so much about the Orangery Restaurant, it looks like the perfect place to get engaged….hint hint.
Gore has a bad rep and this needs to change. The community is so lovely and everyone was extremely kind. Stay at the Heartland Hotel Croydon Gore in their recently renovated rooms! Amazing comfort, beautifully designed and has the second best food in Gore. I was there just a few weeks ago and it snowed! I looked like a right JAFA running out of the hotel/restaurant/car into it, but it made for some cool Instagrams. Another highlight of Gore is the Thomas Green restaurant and if you have a car (this is a must) drive 5 minutes out North to Mandeville. There you will find the Tiger Moth planes, Miss Cocoa’s Cafe and Money For Wine. A stunning trio of history, good food and awesome clothes.
While you are down South you have to go to Invercargill! Ultimate highlight is the chocolate making class and tour of the Seriously Good Chocolate Company! It is a must-have/must-see/must-experience. There’s also a bunch of random llamas or alpacas around in the city park, it was strange but oddly amusing! To stay, I would recommend the Ascot Park Hotel, it’s near everything and is recently renovated as well. The restaurant Emberz, inside the hotel, is also brilliant and newly refurbished too!
Also another highlight of Invercargill is the Bill Richardson Museum! Extremely cold, like beyond anything you have ever experienced, but the car collection is totally worth it! They do offer blankets to walk around with though, so don’t worry too much about it.
Two words. Whale watching. I have never seen a whale before, but after this trip I’m sure I’ll be the next whale rider… There’s choice hotel there, literally – make sure you check out the snazzy suites at Quality Suites Kaikoura. The team at Choice Hotels is pretty spot on normally around New Zealand, so I would recommend always staying with them.