Where we would rather be this long weekend
New Zealand is officially two weeks into its nationwide lockdown and it’s exciting to see how well we’re flattening the infamous curve. Gratitude to Jacinda aside, we’re still a little disappointed about losing a long weekend to coronavirus - so much so that we’ve made a list of the places we’d rather be.
Little Port Cooper School House
This cute little cabin was built in 1883 and can only be accessed by boat or an old pack saddle track from Camp Bay. As it is privately owned, you will have to make a booking through Bookabach or Airbnb. The cabin sleeps 9 people and the facilities are basic, but what you get is a beautiful stretch of beach to yourself and incredible panoramic views of Banks Peninsula as you hike over. The owner Sam is extremely friendly and will help you transfer tents, food and other items over on his 4WD Quad for a small fee.
It may be somewhat obvious that we’re heavily biased towards the West Coast - we’ve made a poor effort at hiding it. To us, it’s undoubtedly the most amazing part of the country with its lush and rugged beauty. One spot that has remained on the top of our list for a while now is Ōkārito Lagoon. Once a booming gold mining town, these days Okarito is home to roughly 30 permanent residents. It’s also the gateway to Okarito Lagoon - New Zealand's largest unmodified estuarine lagoon.
Surrounded by lush native rainforest and home to more than 76 different species of native birds, you can hire a kayak for a couple of hours or bring your camping gear and head out for an overnight trip.
Whites Bay Campsite
For a slightly less secluded but equally idyllic stay, Whites Bay Campsite is a short drive north of Blenheim and is a great spot for walking, swimming, fishing and kayaking. There are also hidden coves to be discovered if you wander along the sheltered bay.
The campground comes with fantastic amenities (there is even a shower) and is well-maintained by DOC staff. With 67 tent sites, it’s possible to find your own private spot within the regenerating native bush.
Deer Valley Campsite
Located in a beech forest right by Lewis River, Deer Valley Campsite is one of our old favourites. This beautiful spot is easily accessed from Lewis Pass. As a relatively small campsite (10 tent sites), it can feel rather private during off-peak season despite being quite close to the road.
There are also a few of our other favourite campsites which we shared in this previous article and plenty more to be discovered. New Zealand is full of spectacular walks and campsites and we can’t wait to get out there and explore again.