Auckland's Puhoi Pub
An absolute icon in terms of Auckland's history, and Aucklanders' history of long sunny pub lunches. The much-loved establishment is about 45 minutes north of Auckland, just off SH1, and - with 140 years of service under its belt - it's one of the oldest pubs in New Zealand to boot. puhoipub.com
Rotorua's Secret Spot
Perhaps not such a secret anymore, but still so worth a visit is Rotorua's Secret Spot. These Whakarewarewa Forest hot tubs, 10 minutes south of town, are a great place to refresh for your next stint on the road. If you're short on time, try the "shinny dip" - a cedar tub for your feet and lower legs - they're free with any purchase of food or drinks. secretspot.nz
Taranaki's Traders and Whalers
Is this the coolest little museum in New Zealand. South of New Plymouth, Traders and Whalers illuminates the stories of Aotearoa by dim twinkling light. Visitors clamber into boats and drift through history, past villages and figures from our past. The less you know the better, so just pull over and go. tradersandwhalers.co.nz
Wānaka's Blue Pools
When the road is long and windy, a little breath of fresh air can help every now and then. The Blue Pools track is a stunner - beech forest, swing bridges and a deep clear river will lead you to pools of pure glacier water so clear, you'll see all the way to the bottom in even the deepest spots. The track starts out from opposite the Cameron Flat camping ground, about 10km out of Makarora.
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Queenstown's Wet Jacket Wines
Wet Jacket is the perfect spot if you're headed from Queenstown to Cromwell. This small independent wine maker hosts cellar door tastings in what was an old wool shed. It's a charming place, there's a deli full of local produce, and they often host food trucks and sunny day gigs in the backyard. Even without those added bonuses, the wine alone - which you'll struggle to find around the country - is worth pulling over for. wetjacket.nz
Mackenzie 's Church of the Good Shepherd
There's nothing wrong with wanting a great photograph. At Mackenzie's Church of the Good Shepherd, that's almost guaranteed - this ridiculously picturesque church on the waterfront of the ridiculously picturesque Lake Tekapo is too pretty to drive past. Sure, you're not the first one snapping a picture, but who cares when it looks this good. Photos are not permitted inside, so be respectful. churchofthegoodshepherd.org.nz
Dunedin's Larnach Castle
The grounds hide Alice in Wonderland creatures, and the building itself holds years of history - stretch your legs and your brain at Dunedin's Larnach Castle. Built in 1871, the "castle" was once a private residence, and now welcomes visitors every day of the year. The castle is filled with antique furniture and collections, and the gardens are award-winning. From now until New Year's Eve, entry for kids is free. The history of the house is really quite tragic, but you can learn about that once you get there. larnachcastle.co.nz
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com