This was a must do on my NZ Bucket List. I wanted to stand at the northern tip of the north island, the very center of the country and the furthest southern point – literally as far away from home as I could possibly be, just to say I had. It took a while to make it to all three but it’s well worth it for that bucket list tick.
The North: Cape Reinga
It’s technically the northwesternmost tip of the country, but it feels a million miles away from anything, 100km from the nearest town, Highway 1 extends all the way to the end. The Maori name Te Rerenga Wairua means the ‘leaping off place of spirits’ and Reinga is the word meaning ‘the underworld’, it is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.
The Center: Nelson
The center of New Zealand is located on Botanical Hill in the coastal city of Nelson, with fantastic views of the surrounding city and countryside. The main trail is an easy enough walk from the town center, about half an hour if you’re fit enough, or there are a few different options to Walters Bluff or Branford Park.
The South: Bluff and Slope Point
There are three options if you want to visit the bottom of New Zealand, in three different places depending on your level of commitment. The most easily accessible is in the town of Bluff, if you have a car you can drive further down to the very edge of the island at Slope Point or you can hop on a very expensive boat and make your way to Stewert Island. We had a car but no time or money for a few days on the island so we settled with Bluff and Slope Point. Big cliffs, big waves, and a big sign to let you know just how South you are in the world.