10 Activities For A Quintessential Kiwi Summer

It can be tough to imagine what summer in a time of restrictions and lockdowns, facemasks and cancellations will be like. But at Off The Beaten Track (OTBT), we like to think of ourselves as cautiously optimistic, therefore, we’re already dreaming about our classic Kiwi summer getaway. And if like us you are ready to ditch the four walls you’ve been confined to and seek out the cool blue waters of New Zealand’s stunning east and west coast beaches then read on for a roundup of our favourite things to do this summer, from kayaking and hiking to toasting marshmallows by the fire and the biggest ice-creams you could wish for!

Try Kayaking

In addition to being fun and enjoyable, there are so many places to kayak in New Zealand. Our pick would have to be the Able Tasman.  Famous for its golden beaches, turquoise waters, kayaking here is considered the best in New Zealand and the coastal track is part of the New Zealand Great Walk network. OTBT Modern Shearer’s Cottage is the ideal place to base yourself with fabulous views over regenerating native bush and the Kahurangi Range in the distance.

Kayaking The Able Tasman

Eat a famous Kuaotunu killer cone

With five scoops of ice cream, it’s widely known as the biggest ice cream in New Zealand and with a name like Kuaotunu killer it aptly suggests you need to make sure you’re up for the challenge before taking this one on. We suggest staying in in the historical town of Thames, where you can base yourself for travelling all over the Coromandel. Starlight Valley Glamping is set on the hillside overlooking the Kauaeranga Valley and river. To attempt the ice cream, take a day trip around the coast (approximately 1.5 hours) to the small town of Kuaotunu you’ll love the drive and there is plenty to stop and see on the way. 

Whale Watching

When it comes to whale watching, Kaikoura would have to be top of mind. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents in Kaikoura. These Sperm Whales share these waters with up to 14 other species of whales and dolphins that migrate past at different times of the year. To make your stay in Kaikoura extra special you can’t go past our Unique Pohutukawa Cottage. Enjoy a hot outdoor bath with a view to the mountains and two minutes walk to the beach.

Toast Marshmallows

What is more fun that sitting around the fire toasting marshmallows with family and friends? If you’re more of a S’mores type person, then remember to throw in a packet of super wine biscuits. The Beach Cottage near Matira in the Waikato is the ideal place to perfect your toasting abilities with both a cosy lounge with an open fire and also an outdoor brazier for those balmy summer evenings.

Don’t forget to pack a packet of super wine biscuits to make your s’mores extra delicious.

Take a Hike

If coming out of lockdown you want to continue your newfound passion for walking, then hit the hills explore the forest-clad extinct volcano that is Mt Karioi. Not for the faint-hearted, the hike is at times exposed and steep, but at the top, you’ll be rewarded with views of lush Waikato farmland on one side and the Tasman Sea on the other. Located on the western side of the Mountain is a 120-acre farm with an off-grid cabin perfect for staying close by. Windyflax Cabin is perched on the edge of a valley covered by native bush with all the essential amenities to make your stay comfortable. There are no power outlets or Wi-Fi or even cell phone reception so you can completely switch off from your busy life for the duration of your stay.

Horse trekking on the beach

Horse riding is an exhilarating experience and even more fun when you do it with friends and family. Waiiti Beach Horse Treks provide a diverse trek customised to suit rider skills, with spectacular scenery over farm tracks, bush, clifftops and the beautiful west coast beach. Combine your horse trek with an overnight stay at Waiiti Private Bach and enjoy the panoramic and elevated sea views surrounded by birdlife.

Waiiti Beach Horse Treks provide a diverse trek customised to suit rider skills.

Dig yourself a hot pool at the Beach

Two hours before and after low tide you can dig your own hot pool spa in the black sand at Kāwhia’s Ocean Beach. The off-the-beaten-track and untouched nature of Kāwhia provides for the perfect spot for relaxing after a day’s swimming. Luxury countryside accommodation awaits only an hour’s drive west through the stunning King Country at our Luxury Valley View Escape. The stunning 5 Star farm stay is great for relaxing, includes full gourmet breakfasts served whenever it suits and is close to the Waitomo Caves.

Attend a summer foodie festival

The Hawkes Bay is a mecca for excellent food and wine and one region you won’t go hungry in. the famous F.A.W.C events have moved to the new festival dates of January 28 – February 6 so it’s the perfect time to pack your bags for a foodie weekend away. At the end of a long day of activities head to Clifton where a luxury African safari tent awaits. Take a dip in the fresh Maraetotara River beside your tent or head to the beach for a swim in the ocean just minutes away.

Inside the Luxury African Safari Tent near Clifton in the Hawkes Bay.

Take a boat cruise

A wonderful summer retreat, Kawau Island is truly a place to get away from it all to relax or explore. We recommend taking the Royal Mail Run Cruise, the largest mail run by water in the Southern Hemisphere, a delightfully relaxing way for people of all ages to learn about the history and admire the natural beauty of Kawau Island. The perfect place to compliment your stay would be our Retro Treehouse Above The Sea. This Kawau Island house is perched behind a pohutukawa tree in a quiet and peaceful location right on the waterfront. Relax on the large deck surrounded by native bush and watch the boats go by.

Catch fish for your dinner

There is nothing more satisfying than catching your own fresh fish. Fishing on the mighty Rangitata River and the Pacific Ocean at the river’s mouth makes the area famous for its salmon fishery and favoured by anglers. The best fishing at the mouth is from mid-November to mid-March. Luxury Historic Cottage is the place to be if you’re a keen angler with 5kms of river access directly from the farm.

Final thought

So, if you’re ready to start planning your Kiwi summer then make sure to check our OTBT for lots of options. Plus, the advantage of booking through Off The Beaten Track is you’re not only supporting local people and regional economies.

Author: Monique Webb