Blogger Olivia Round's Top 10 Free Activities in New Zealand

The beauty of New Zealand is the accessibility of untouched nature. With the ability to go hiking up a mountain in the morning, swim at a gnarly surf beach in the afternoon and relax in geothermal hot springs by dusk, it's the dream location for any adventure traveller.

Since running, I have made it my goal to seek out the best local spots not only around the world but also right on my doorstep in my home country, New Zealand. I've trekked multiple mountains, explored caves, freedom camped, hit the surf daily in summer and after 23 years down under, I think you could say I know a thing or two about the place!

OliviaRoundTown is all about saving you the time of research, so I've put together a list of my favourite free adventure activities around New Zealand. If you are wanting to take the pressure off entirely, I also offer personalised itinerary planning on my website: and together with Compare and Fly we can arrange the trip of a lifetime for you.

#1: Fairy Falls

Tucked away in the forest, you just need to take a beautiful 60-minute walk into the bush to find a magnificent cascading waterfall. Follow the dulcet sound of water to find it.


#2: Glow Worm Caves

Visit Waitomo once because it's incredible, but if you're a keen photographer, head to New Plymouth to explore the caves where you can practise low light photography (Waitomo don't allow photography). It's super spectacular and located at Urenui Beach, Taranaki.


#3: Tongariro Crossing

Embrace the Devil's Staircase because the view is worth the intense cardio. Just prepare yourself with bountiful amounts of chocolate and snacks to enjoy along the way. Travel tip: The track will take around 6 hours all up, but you can walk 3 hours in (and see cool things like Mount Doom, molten volcanic rock planes and the blue pools) and then hike back to the carpark to enjoy the sunset on the way back.




#4: Arrowtown

If you're planning a trip down to Queenstown (as you should be), check out Arrowtown. It's an adorably quaint town which has a very English country-side feel to it. It's one of my favourite spots in the South Island.


#5: Spa Park

You could pay $30 to visit DeBretts in Taupo, or you could choose the natural option and visit Spa Park which is right next to the Waikato River about 10 mins from Taupo township.


#6: Whites Beach

At North Piha, walk to the far right of the beach and you'll find a discrete pathway up the mountain. Follow it up to the top, head through the trees and then take the rope down the mountain to a secluded secret beach. Keep this one on the down low.


#7: Abel Tasman

When hiking with my American whanau*, we got an hour into the walk and they said, "So, are we there yet?". I only responded with a laugh. The first stop is 4 hours away and the entire trip will take you two days.

If you've not got long, you can just take a short round trip as there are beautiful views the entire way, but make sure to make it to one of the beaches if you're a keen swimmer. *family




#8: Huia Dam

My boyfriend works out at the dams as a technician so we often pop in to "the office" for hikes. Let's face it, working in the forest on a daily basis - he literally has the dream job, and loves it enough to go in on weekends.


#9: New Chums Beach

Man, I'm really spilling all the secrets now. To the left of Whangapoua in the Coromandel is a beautiful beach which takes a hike to get to. If you put in the effort to get there, you'll be rewarded with this kind of beauty.

Travel tip: Please leave our beaches as you find them. As Kiwis we really respect our land and want to keep it clean and beautiful. Leave nothing but footprints.


#10: Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge lies between the Coromandel and Kaimai ranges, and is the best spot for a stunning walk through the caves which overlook rivers and canyon.


So there you have it, 10 free adventure activities for you to enjoy when you visit New Zealand.

Enjoy my stunning country!

Love, Liv x