We live in a beautiful place. That can be easy to forget when a lot of people spend their time pining over the wonders of Europe, Asia and America.

Here are my top five underrated places scattered throughout the country that you should definitely invest your time and money into before you go running away.


Hahei, Coromandel

Hahei is one of the many gems along the coast of the Coromandel. What makes this teeny town so idyllic amongst the competing seaside spots is its exact pinpoint location. A short hike to the left takes you to the iconic Cathedral Cove, and a short drive to your right takes you to the infamous Hot Water Beach. Hahei itself also features beautiful campgrounds, a long beach, and an amazing café, offering a dynamic duo vacay of unwinding as well as sightseeing.

Exploring Hahei. Photo by Eva Aulbach.


Acacia Bay, Taupo

Lake Taupo is one of New Zealand’s true beauties. However, if you want a slight change from that view of Tongariro across the water, take a cruisy drive up along the lakeside to Acacia Bay, one of the many gorgeous little nooks Taupo has to offer. Boasting unique views along the main road as well as many entrances to secluded lakeside spots, Acacia Bay is a nice ‘off-the-beaten-road yet still accessible and crisp’ location.


Karaka Bay, Wellington

As lovely as Wellington Central is, one of the most beautiful spots our capital has to offer is Karaka Bay. Start your Wellington trip with a drive around the bay, by taking a right turn at the roundabout leaving the airport, rather than a left to the city. What you will find is the quirky underrated Chocolate Fish Café, gorgeous views all around the harbour, and amazing architecture along Karaka Bay Road – the perfect afternoon outing for those rare blue sky days.


Akaroa, Canterbury

An hour and a half or so out of the Christchurch CBD features the small town of Akaroa. Although a rather touristy spot with its many dolphin spotting cruises, Akaroa boasts a unique sense of calm and interest, with galleries, stores, and cafes nestled amongst French and British colonial architecture and street names. Combining that quirky European village vibe with the beauty of surrounding New Zealand waters and mountains, Akaroa is worth the drive.


Nugget Point, Otago

Another picturesque spot approximately an hour and a half out from a central city (Dunedin) is Otago’s Nugget Point. A short cliffside track takes you to a beautiful view of the lighthouse and it’s ‘nuggets’ of rocks trailing off into the Pacific Ocean. Nugget Point Lighthouse shows its true potential if you stay until sundown for unreal views of Aurora Australis. However, if a winter evening on the rough coast doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, the locale’s neighbours include stunning waterfalls at the Catlins, and a small colony of penguins at Roaring Bay.

Editor’s note: You can also see Hector’s dolphins at nearby Porpoise Bay during the summer.


For more travel tips and stories, check out our Student Travel section, brought to you by YHA!


DANA TETENBURG is a freelance writer as well as a Media Studies and Anthropology graduate. Looks ridiculous lip-syncing the song she’s listening to on her iPod, but in fact is not crazy and is just cruising through life with smudged eyeliner and a heart of gold. Check out some more of her awesome work for TEARAWAY:

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