Hidden coastal gems
Some of New Zealand’s most charming beaches are far off the tourist trail – perfect to explore with the freedom of your own car. Elliot’s Bay in Northland is one such location. A cosy stretch of sheltered, white sandy beach, Elliot’s Bay looks out to the Pacific Ocean and is fringed with Pohutukawa Trees. Near Russell in the North Island, magical Elliot’s Bay is not on tour group itineraries and is often only dotted with a handful of locals during the summer time. It’s a short and rewarding detour when you’re exploring this part of the far North.
On the West Coast of the South Island and fringed by a backdrop of the towering Southern Alps is Gillespie’s Beach, rated one of the top beaches in New Zealand. With a title like that, it comes as a surprise that this beach is well off the tourist trail and a secret local gem. Reached by turning off before you get to Fox Glacier, this wild and dramatic piece of coastline is good for the soul and not often visited by other tourists. On a self-drive holiday, choose to stop at Gillespie’s for a picnic lunch on your way to the glacier, taking your time to soak up the rugged beauty of this special piece of kiwi coastline.