4 Exotic Places to Explore in New Zealand

Rose Bear Don’t Walk is a student at Yale University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. Rose is currently studying abroad with ISA in HamiltonNew Zealand.

New Zealand is one the most environmentally rich places in the world and its natural beauty draws people from all over! The main attractions are mostly found in the great outdoors that gives you a reason to go out and get away from it all. So grab your camera and a keen sense of adventure and visit some of New Zealand’s top attractions!

Waitomo Caves, Waitomo, New Zealand, Bear Don't Walk--Photo 1
The reason glowworms emit light is to catch their food on these sticky strands so watch your head!


Glowworms: These cool little critters can only be found in a handful of places around the world and seldom do people get to see them! The glowworms found in New Zealand are a special endemic species and are totally worth seeking out; it’s like looking into a star-studded sky.  The most notable places to find them are the famous Waitomo caves where you can book various tours (wet or dry!) to see cave-dwelling glowworms. However, finding them in the wild is equally as satisfying, if not more. Glowworms tend to stay close to water so if you don’t want to book a tour there are plenty of campsites, lakes, and rivers where they like to hang out.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel, New Zealand, Bear Don't Walk--Photo 2
Cathedral Cove in all its splendor!


Cathedral Cove/Hot Water Beach: For all you beach lovers this area is for you! Cathedral Cove is famous for its feature in the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and it is absolutely gorgeous in real life. Just think of white sand, turquoise ocean and a beautiful view. About 5 km from the cove is Hot Water Beach where travelers flock to get a good soak in. The reason is the natural hot springs that are located under the beach. During periods of low tide folks bring their shovels, dig a hole, and let the water fill it up. How many people can say they’ve made their own spa?

Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand, Bear Don't Walk--Photo 3
The famous entrance to Bilbo Baggins’ home.


Hobbiton: This is probably the most touristy item on the list but totally worth it. Lord of the Rings fan or not, Hobbiton is one of the most whimsical, sought after place in the Waikato area. Fun for the whole family, Hobbiton is where all the outdoor scenes for the Shire were filmed.  Each hobbit house is completely unique and snuggly tucked into the green hillside. You’ll have so much fun admiring the houses, snapping pictures of yourself next to tiny doors, and of course grabbing yourself a drink or snack at the Green Dragon at the end of your tour!

South Island: Astoundingly, most New Zealanders haven’t made it to the South Island yet even though it’s pretty close by. However, the South Island is a natural gem that is not to be missed! From towering snow-capped mountains, to bright blue freshwater lakes, to stunning coastlines and sounds, the South Island attempts to impress you at every twist and turn. Home to the “adventure capital of New Zealand” (or Queenstown), the famous Milford Sounds and Fjordlands, there is no end of what you can do in the South Island. View endemic Blue Penguins, go whale watching, take a long tramp through glaciers and mountains, or relax in the famous Marlborough wine country.  The possibilities are endless!

Want to read more about the lovely climes of New Zealand? Check out “Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad in New Zealand”