Great Barrier Island - Raglan - Hawkes Bay - Marlborough Sound - Queenstown

One of the great joys of travel is discovering hidden gems off the beaten path as well as finding the secret spots which the locals love, so you can immerse yourself in the local vibe and feel connected.

Kiwi native and Antipodean Luxury Travel's CEO, Alexandra Stewart, has been recognised as one of Travel + Leisure Magazine's Top Travel Advisors for New Zealand. Alexandra specialises in family travel and adventure, and here, Alexandra shares her Top 5 New Zealand Local Secrets to inspire your holiday planning.

This is a hidden gem, not to be hidden for too long after recently being awarded Dark Sky Sanctuary status. This off-grid, vastly unpopulated island is blissfully idyllic. Chill out, take long walks on the glorious sunny beaches; head into the bush for the crisp respite after snorkelling, kayaking or fishing.
Take a mini-break from Auckland, this is a free surfing haven. It's where I learnt to surf, and it has a super chilled vibe for young and old. Head out to meet the local artists, stretch out with some yoga on the beach and shop for some ofNew Zealand’s coolest surfer designed clothing.
“I really liked that Alexandra provided lots of useful information, and has so much local knowledge. While we were on our honeymoon I really liked daily texts about our planned itinerary for that day, and we knew that if anything went wrong they would be easy to contact.”
Honeymooners, Alex & Ben
hawkes bay
We moved here last year from Singapore – this central North Island food bowl is farming, fresh produce, and award-winning wineries (think Craggy Range in the 50 top wines at the World Wine Awards). By day, walk up Te Mata peak, take a tour to discover the world’s largest gannet colony – definitely worth a visit.
This is where you’ll find us boating, fishing,and relaxing over the Christmas holidays.
Packed with kiwis catching up and eating fresh green lipped mussels.

Predominately only accessible by water, this serene and spectacularly beautiful area is surrounded by internationally recognised wineries.

Grab a book, bottle and kick back to beautiful bird song.

Get away from the tourist traps. Having spent my holidays in Queenstown all my life, locals tend to avoid busy tourist areas.

To feel you’re the remote wilderness within 15minutes, take a guided tour to Skippers Canyon – go for the scenery, hiking or white water rafting. Not to be tackled on a self-drive, in fact, insurance might be voided in Skippers Canyon!

We love to hang out in Arrowtown, and go biking through the wineries, eating at the local restaurants (loving new opening Aosta) and watching movies at Dorothy Brown.

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