These are my top NZ summer holiday spots. In no particular order:
Motutere Bay, Lake Taupo
Lake Dunstan, Cromwell, Alpha St Reserve
Glenorchy, Glenorchy Wharf (freezing, but awesome wharf to jump off!)
Charteris Bay, Banks Peninsula (I learnt to sail there. Beautiful and close to Christchurch).
Marlborough Sounds - anywhere. It’s glorious.
Kenepuru, Marlborough Sounds (iStock)
Papatea Bay, East Cape, just past Te Kaha, but before Waihou Bay. (Heeeeaps of other wonderful bays, too - Hicks, Tokomaru, Tolaga)
Hahei - Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, Cook's Beach.
Great Barrier Island - Katherine Bay (north of the island - the best beaches have walking access only. Beautiful pōhutukawa trees. Isolated, clean, wildlife everywhere.
Goat Island, Leigh, just out of Warkworth, north of Auckland. The Marine Reserve is very busy on a good day. Not as good now that you can't feed the fish.
Goat Island is New Zealand's oldest marine reserve (Youtube)
Abel Tasman National Park - heaps of bays along this walk (but beware - salt water causes chaffing!)
Nelson Lakes - glorious. Heaps of eels, though!
Catlins - Nugget Point, Curio Bay
Places I want to go:
Lake Brunner near Greymouth on West Coast
Lake Ellery, Jackson Bay, south of Haast.
Fiordland - walking tracks (Manapouri Dam is epic)
Kaiteretere (but….too many tourists)
Wharariki Beach - Farewell Spit. Isolated, just classified as West Coast
Karikari Peninsula, Northland. Heaps of wonderful beaches here.
Bay of Islands - I'm told Bland Bay (lol) near Whangaruru is incredible.