Kiwis put Hanmer top

Votes for the 101 best things about NZ are in, with a few surprises

Co-owner Felix Schaad is delighted the Wairere Boulders, at number 16, are gaining popularity. Photo / NZ Herald
Co-owner Felix Schaad is delighted the Wairere Boulders, at number 16, are gaining popularity. Photo / NZ Herald

The 101 best things about New Zealand have been listed - and there are a few you wouldn't expect.

The six-week voting campaign for the Automobile Association Tourism 101 Must-Do's clocked up 283,000 votes, split over 1600 attractions from the Far North to the deep South.

There are huge shifts from the previous list in 2006.

Some attractions clearly rallied supporters to vote. The Waterworks in Coromandel promised a free-entry day if the theme park made the list. Owner Jeff Howarth said the staff would be excited about making the number 20 position.

"Being on the list is amazing news," he said.

Howarth and his staff campaigned hard. He leaflet-dropped Cuba Mall during a trip to Wellington and another worker pamphleted Queen St in Auckland.

One surprise entry, perhaps, is the little-known Wairere Boulders in Northland, which ranked number 16.

Co-owner Felix Schaad (picture) said the attraction was gaining a reputation and he was delighted Facebook fans had backed the spectacular basalt rock formations.

Overall, voters showed a preference for South Island scenic cruises, healing thermal waters and spectacular scenic ranges nationwide.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa in Canterbury was voted number one, followed by Rotorua's Polynesian Spa, Akaroa's Harbour Nature Cruises and Heliview Taranaki. Ranking fifth is The Otago Rail Trail.

Womad has taken centre stage at number 17 as the most voted-for event.

Two sweet treats made their debut - Pineapple Lumps (60) and pavlova (98).

The total number of votes increased by more than 42 per cent from 2006, said AA Tourism spokeswoman Rebecca Cherry.


Read the full list on Living magazine.

- Herald on Sunday

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