Six Lesser-known Attractions in New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its beautiful scenery, with everything from splendid beaches and impressive hiking trails through national parks to metropolitan centres and cultural hubs.


Travel famously broadens the mind, allowing those that roam the globe to learn about other cultures, meet interesting people, and gain a new perspective that only comes with being outside your comfort zone. There is something inherently appealing about going somewhere remote, and at more than a thousand miles from its nearest neighbour, Australia, New Zealand certainly fits the bill.

New Zealand is known for its beautiful scenery, with everything from splendid beaches and impressive hiking trails through national parks to metropolitan centres and cultural hubs.

While there are some world-famous spots, such as the World Heritage Site of Fiordland National Park, there are also some places that haven’t yet attracted the spotlight, including:

Oparara Arches

Located in the heart of an ancient rainforest, nestled in the southwest corner of the Kahurangi National Park, are some truly impressive limestone formations. The Oparara River basin is home to some unique geological features, including the eponymous Oparara Arch, which is several storeys high, and the Moria Gate Arch, which is smaller, but nonetheless impressive.

Accessed via the beautiful rainforest trail, these arches are open to visitors that want to see the unique way in which the area’s geological history can be traced. The 350 million-year-old Karamea granite lines the Oparara basin, with an overlay of limestone and mudstone that has been carved into a cave system and the arches that the area is known for.

Visitors can book a tour to explore the Honeycomb caves as well, allowing them to discover the intricate and incredibly diverse array of rock formations that were formed over millions of years.

Motueka Saltwater Baths

When a shark was spotted in the 1920s, it prompted the design and creation of some tidal baths to protect bathers in the area. Locals raised funds to enclose an area of the foreshore with galvanised wire, creating a safe area in which swimmers can make the most of the beautiful coastline.

Since then, the baths have been developed into a family-friendly spot that has playgrounds, barbecue pits, and picnic areas. Visitors and locals enjoy the baths all year round, using them to cool off in the summer, enjoying the spectacular views across the water in the winter, and capturing the local wildlife on camera throughout the year.

Night out in Auckland

Auckland has tons of cool attractions, especially if one seeks a memorable night out. And there is something there for everyone! Why not visit the epic (but scary) theme park Spookers followed by a visit to Auckland’s Skytower to enjoy the night view, and then later go for drinks in the city? If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could even do evening kayaking or play a game at Asylum Paintball. There are tons of activities to choose from.

For those that enjoy playing on NZ gambling sites, such as those listed on Time2play, may even enjoy a visit to SkyCity Casino, which has over 2,100 gaming machines and 150 table games – an enormous selection. With all these activities to choose from, it’s  definitely worthwhile paying this great city a visit.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre

As New Zealand’s foremost contemporary art museum, The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery also incorporates the Len Lye Centre, which is an institution dedicated to showcasing the life and work of the filmmaker and kinetic artist Len Lye. The gallery hosts a rolling programme of exhibitions featuring works from New Zealand’s finest visual artists, and installations from local, national, and international contributors.

The Len Lye Centre offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the work of one of New Zealand’s most important cinematographers, providing the space needed to showcase some of his most impressive kinetic art.

Marokopa Falls

Move over Niagara, New Zealand is no stranger to impressive waterfalls and among the most beautiful are those found in Waikato. Found in the Tawarau Forest, the falls are not far from the famous Waitomo Caves, but they are located in a slightly more secluded spot.

Standing at thirty-five meters high, the falls are certainly impressive, but they also show how the geology of the area has changed over millions of years as they cut through the greywacke basement rock. There is a viewing area and platform that is relatively accessible via a short walk through the forest, and those that make the trip will understand why these are said to be the most beautiful falls in New Zealand.

Gibbs Farm

Within an hour’s drive of the popular tourist destination of Auckland lies one of the most awe-inspiring collections of art in the country. Gibbs Farm is a huge outdoor sculpture park that is home to works by some of the most globally renowned artists.

Visitors will find the Kaipara Harbour to one side, providing a striking backdrop to the works that are showcased around this huge site, and the artists have created their pieces with the landscape in mind. The collection includes works by:

  • Anish Kapoor
  • Eric Orr
  • Neil Dawson
  • Len Lye
  • Leon can den Eijkel
  • Zhan Wang
  • Sol LeWitt
  • Marijke de Goey

Visitors will find an array of thought-provoking pieces, all set within the landscape of the farm. A giant column of light illuminates the surrounding area, providing a beacon that shines out against its natural surroundings near the shore.

A giant steel tube covered with tensioned fabric bursts from between the hills as if providing a mouthpiece to the very land itself; a collection of eucalyptus wood tendrils twist together against the grass in a valley, and the shoreline melds with a series of structures that mirror the waves and the movements of the tides.

Whatever attracts you to New Zealand, you can find plenty to enjoy in whichever part you choose to visit. From the wonders of nature to the incredible efforts of those that seek to preserve the culture and history of this secluded country, anyone can have their perfect break there.

Explore Topics

Travel Begins at 40

Travel Begins at 40 Editor

Travel articles, news, special offers, festivals and events from the Travel Begins at 40 Editorial team and our global network of travel industry contributors.

Read more posts by Travel Begins at 40 Editor →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *