Hidden gems in New Zealand’s South

New Zealand, dream destination for any avid traveler. The beaches of the North Island, the geothermal wonderlands, the national museum in Wellington, the beauty of Milford Sound or the nights out in the party capital Queenstown – these spots are generally known and admired. But what about the far south of the country? I have two major tips for this much neglected region:

  • Dunedin. The city, situated on the south east coast of New Zealand, has a superbly picturesque railway station. Once a year, this representative building hosts the biggest annual fashion show in the region. Then there is the only castle in the country, called Larnach Castle. It was built in 1871, at the behest of the politician William Larnach, as a present for his wife. Aside from these attractions, we have a chocolate museum run by the famous manufacturer Cadbury. Take a tour through the museum and witness a terrific manmade chocolate waterfall, while you munch your free chocolate bars. After that, head off to the North East Valley, located 3,5 km from the city, where you will be behold the steepest street in the world (according to Guinness World Records). Baldwin’s Street’s slope amounts to 35%. Every year, there is a race where participants have to run up first and then back down. A real grind. Try to run up, too. Full tilt!

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  • The Catlins. Stretching between the cities Balclutha and Invercargill, this rugged region is sparsely populated. Scenic coastlines and temperate rainforest go hand in hand. Fortunately, the once thriving whaling industry has lost its significance. To my eyes the most striking sight are the windswept trees on Slope Point, a spot on the southernmost coast. Have a look at the cover photo: this looks just bizarre, like an enchanted forest out of a fantasy movie. I would not be surprised if I would see some sprites levitating out of it. And that is not the only natural wonder: go to Curio Bay and visit the petrified forest, awaiting you for no more than 180 million years (see picture below). For animal lovers, there is a colony of yellow-eyed penguins, arguably the rarest of all penguin species.

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Do not miss New Zealand’s South!

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