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  • Writer's pictureAKA Education Group

Let's plan a long weekend in Aotearoa!

Road trips and New Zealand go hand-in-hand. Well, what do we do – the landscape, the ocean, the wairua, it all calls for it. We like the idea of travelling the motu while listening to some good old tunes - my favorite is 35 by Rob Ruha! For students who are planning further education in New Zealand, and those that have just arrived, we can’t wait for you to experience what Aotearoa has to offer.  

Here are a few spots that you could visit during any weekend - but long weekends help you make the most of the experience! 

From Auckland - explore our beautiful North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) 

  • Matakana Farmers Market: Fill your baskets with freshly baked bread, fresh chutneys, and artisanal delicacies made locally. This market is not just a place to shop; it's an experience of local culture and community vibes.  After the market, catch a movie in the local cinema or head out to Leigh or Tawharanui Beach! 

  • Mount Maunganui: A perfect mix for your adventure needs and food cravings. Climb the jewel of the Bay of Plenty, Mount Maunganui, and enjoy the awesome food and vibes of the cafes. Whether you’re up for a hike or just some chill beach time, this place has it all. 

  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds: Visit the birthplace of our nation. Learn about Aotearoa’s history and the Treaty of Waitangi. You’re going to be beyond fascinated as you stroll and see a wide range of forms of Māori art and culture. It’s a place where history breathes and tells its stories. 

  • Rotorua: Need to relax and unwind? Head to Rotorua to soak in the thermal pools and spas! You must also visit the amazing Redwood Tree Walk when there. Rotorua offers a unique blend of nature, relaxation and Māori culture, perfect for recharging your batteries. 

  • Hamilton Gardens: Something from all around the world – go find your favorite garden. This whimsical place is a beautiful haven on a bright sunny day! Each garden here tells a different story, from Italian Renaissance to Japanese Zen. 

  • Waitomo Caves: Experience the magic of glow worms in the darkness. The caves are a natural wonder that will leave you mesmerized. It’s like stepping into another world - one that glows and sparkles. 

  • Goat Island: The sea is a magnificent place, and at Goat Island, you’ll get the best underwater view! Snorkeling here is like swimming in an aquarium filled with vibrant marine life. 

  • Coromandel Peninsula: Drive up or all around this scenic route and enjoy this coastal gem. From stunning beaches to lush forests, Coromandel is a place of breathtaking beauty and tranquility. 



From Christchurch - take in the views and thrills of the South Island (Te Waipounamu) 

  • Lake Tekapo: The turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains are a sight to behold. Don’t miss the chance to stargaze at the Mount John Observatory, one of the best places in the world for night-sky viewing. 

  • Mount Hutt: If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, Mount Hutt is your winter playground. Even in the warmer months, the mountain offers hiking and breathtaking views. 

  • Hanmer Springs: Famous for its hot springs, Hanmer is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. Enjoy the thermal pools, spa treatments, and the serene alpine environment. 

  • Hokitika: This charming town on the West Coast is known for its jade (pounamu) and beautiful beaches. The annual Wildfoods Festival is a must-visit for the adventurous foodie. 

  • Mount Cook: New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook (Aoraki), is a paradise for hikers and mountaineers. The surrounding national park is filled with stunning trails and glaciers. 


There are many more options, to name a few - Wellington / Gisborne / New Plymouth in the North Island. Or Queenstown/ the Sounds / Dunedin / and so much more in the South Island.  

The longer the weekend, the bigger your radius can get to where you can travel! There is just so much to see, do, and explore in this gorgeous country. Each town has its unique charm and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.  

But remember, if you're heading out for a hike or any adventure sport, take the necessary precautions. For more information, see the Department of Conservations website:


Here's to having fun and staying safe! 


Kia ora 

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