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9 Ways to Get Away from It All and Find Serenity in New Zealand

Oct 4, 2023 | Adventure place, New Zealand, Trip

Let the loud noise of the world fade into the distance as you delve into New Zealand’s majestic scenery. This breathtaking destination offers countless ways to nourish your soul and reconnect with nature’s graceful power.

Glide through verdant native forests on some of the world’s most acclaimed mountain bike trails, entering a blissful flow state far from the madding crowd. Kayak aquamarine coves dotted with beaches of honeyed sand in Abel Tasman National Park, pausing to enjoy the sounds of lapping waves, trilling birdsong, and the rustle of palms. Spend the night alone on the glassy waters of Milford Sound, ancient cliffs towering above, on the lookout for native bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, and crested penguins as the first light caresses the fjord.

Base yourself in a sophisticated eco-lodge nestled subtly into the dramatic landscape, with daily guided excursions tailored to your interests. At Treetops Lodge, indulge in wild venison medallions or locally caught salmon alongside New Zealand wines before soaking in your private hot tub overlooking the rainforest. At Hapuku Lodge, awaken to views of the Kaikoura ranges from your canopy suite and dine on produce from their kitchen garden.

Embark on a personalized heli-hiking adventure and alight on an untouched alpine ridge, the helicopter a distant throb as you wander through profound solitude. Stop to meditate in a hidden, hot spring pooled atop a mountain, absorbing the restorative minerals as your body unwinds

1. Luxury Lodges Offer Access to Pristine Wilderness

Dotted around New Zealand, exclusive luxury lodges provide the ultimate base for exploring the majestic wilderness and finding inner calm. These rarefied retreats allow you to immerse in nature without sacrificing comfort.

Nestled amidst a thousand acres of unspoiled native bush, Treetops Lodge in Rotorua offers understated luxury in a protected habitat for endangered birds. Retire to your peaceful villa with sweeping views before embarking on a customized eco-adventure or wellness activity. Pamper yourself in the spa, nourished by natural ingredients harvested from the grounds. In the evenings, indulge in seasonal degustation menus artfully crafted by award-winning chefs.  

On the dramatic coastline of Kaikoura, reach new heights in a canopy suite perched ten meters up amid native manuka trees at Hapuku Lodge. Awake to panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and the snow-dusted Seaward Kaikoura Range. Set out on a private guided walk to view fascinating marine life before settling into your outdoor cedar hot tub under the stars.

2. Heli-Adventures Take You Deep Into Untouched Wilderness

For the ultimate escape, helicopters provide unparalleled access to remote corners of New Zealand’s wilderness. Take a heli-hiking trip with your guide to an untouched alpine lake and spend the day trekking through meadows dotted with wildflowers. From glaciers to hot springs, choose tailor-made adventures to seldom-seen places. Heli-biking opens up more off-the-grid thrills, from sampling towering descents of the Southern Alps to pedaling forgotten beech forests. With heli support, the most rugged areas become accessible. Return exhilarated and restored.

3. Sleep Under Phenomenal Night Skies

In the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, SkyScape eco-sanctuary has been certified as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, one of only a handful in the world. Here, the inky black nights scintillate with more stars than imaginable, and the Milky Way glows brightly. Sleep in your off-grid glass eco-pod and fall asleep to shooting stars and planets. Come at daybreak to wake to Aoraki/Mount Cook and Tasman Glacier views from your bed. When staying at SkyScape, switch off devices and disconnect completely to appreciate the incredible night show.

4. Unwind in Geothermal Hot Pools

New Zealand hides natural geothermal hot pools across its regions, perfect for unwinding body and mind. In the Central Plateau, immerse yourself in a steaming stream heated by volcanic activity, like Kerosene Creek. Natural pools carved into rock line the riverbed, creating ideal bathing spots. For more luxury, hotels like Huka Lodge near Taupo have private thermal pools overlooking the Waikato River’s thundering rapids.

In Rotorua, Polynesian Spa is tapped into healing waters renowned for soothing aches and pains. Relax in its Priest Pool, framed by steam rising into ferns. Visit in the evening to avoid crowds, gazing at the stars with a glass of local wine. New Zealand’s Maori call these cleansing waters wai ora, or “waters that bring life.” Absorb their rejuvenating benefits.

5. Kayak Turquoise Bays and Dine on Secluded Beaches

Explore Abel Tasman National Park’s golden beaches and sculpted granite coastline by kayak for aquatic tranquility. Paddle through arches worn into rocky cliffs, dipping into sea caves. Stop to picnic on an empty beach, swim, and snorkeling in the national park’s crystal-clear waters. Beach comb and admire the native forest cascading down to meet the sea. Back on board your kayak, meander through labyrinthine channels revealed at low tide. With no roads in this coastal paradise, you’ll feel its remoteness wash over you.

6. Mountain Bike Through Ancient Forests to ‘Trail Zen’

New Zealand pioneered mountain biking, crafting some of the world’s best trails that wind through its varied landscapes. Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest is renowned for flowing single-track trails among 500-year-old redwoods and fern trees. Here, you can enter that satisfying state of flow, where your mind quiets, absorbed in the ride. Nelson’s trails serve up old-school cross-country routes with heart-pumping climbs and views over Tasman Bay. Further south, the Queenstown Bike Park has over 40 trails with adrenaline-pumping downhill runs accessed by a gondola. Bask in trail Zen as you carve through forests high on mountain air.

7. Set Sail on Serene Doubtful Sound

Venture deep into breath-taking Fiordland National Park to spend a night on the tranquil waters of Doubtful Sound. This, the deepest of the fiords, rewards those who linger after day-trippers leave. Once the silence returns, you’ll hear only nature’s voices – bird calls, seal barks, and the susurration of wind through ancient forest. As your sailboat drifts, watch for Fiordland penguins and bottlenose dolphins fishing. With no roads accessing this pristine wilderness, its isolation is profound. Under a night sky frosted with stars, you’ll sleep deeply, lulled by gentle rocking. Awaken, renewed, and restored

8. Trek Scenic Trails Through Diverse Landscapes

Lace-up your boots and step into New Zealand’s great outdoors, where thousands of kilometers of trails allow you to set your own pace. Walk through primordial rainforests, past thundering waterfalls, and along deserted beaches. Or breathe deeply in alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers, surrounded by towering mountain peaks.

 New Zealand has no deadly snakes or large predators, making it a walker’s paradise. The famous multi-day Great Walks like Milford Track and Routeburn Track take you deep into national parks while requiring booking in peak season. For more flexibility, choose from shorter trails that can be just as rewarding. On Stewart Island, hike through mossy forest to secluded bays, keeping watch for rare kiwi birds. Explore the Volcanic Plateau’s desolate landscapes in Tongariro National Park. Lake Waikaremoana’s panoramic track follows the shoreline far from civilization. Let these landscapes soothe your spirit.  

9. Disconnect and Immerse Yourself in Nature

In our hyper-connected world, it’s increasingly rare to experience remote places where phones don’t ring and emails don’t ping. New Zealand’s vast wilderness offers the chance to truly disconnect, press pause, and listen to nature’s rhythms.

Plan your trip to avoid all contact with the outside world. Switch off your devices before you arrive and tune out. Spend days tramping solo through primordial rainforest or along an empty coastline without hearing a single man-made sound. Camp under the stars, rising with the sun, fully attentive to the sights and sounds around you. Let worries slip away as you open all your senses to the present moment. Return home with a refreshed perspective, having given your mind the chance to unwind completely.