We asked for your top tips about the best scenic lookout spots on New Zealand’s roads. These are the winning entries — each receives a double pass to this weekend’s Covi Motorhome show.
This main photo is my favourite scenic lookout spot in New Zealand. Barron’s farm campground in Whananaki and in the foreground right near the beach is where we pitch our tent for January. In the distance is one of the best diving sites in NZ or the world … the Poor Knights. When we round the corner, car packed up like a Tetris set and overly excited kids squirming in the backseats … we see this view and we know it’s holiday time. This place holds such special memories of my kids growing up.
Swimming, picnics at the top of the “mountain”, snorkelling around the rocks, surfing the waves. The sound of the ocean lulls us to sleep every night and a resident morepork sings us lullabies. Seagulls are our alarm clock and a family of dotterels let us know when we’re getting too close to their nests in the tussock. Just another epic New Zealand lookout.
Our favourite lookout spot is Lake Hawea — my husband says that my being there with him is what makes it special to him.
On our 50th wedding anniversary we went back to New Plymouth, where we spent our honeymoon. We left Stratford and travelled over the “Forgotten Highway”. This was a wonderful trip, lovely fine weather and a very enjoyable day for the both of us, we still speak of that trip. We continued on to Taupo then went right around the East Cape going through Napier and Gisborne, it was a lovely trip right around to Whakatāne, then home.
Several years ago we owned a campervan did most of the North Island, then my health packed up and, rather than leaving the van to sit around, we sold it. Our family used it quite often, they loved it. Now my health has improved, we often speak of getting another one.
Our favourite scenic lookout spot is Maungataururu Rest Area on Whangapoua Rd on the Coromandel.
It is the first time you see Matarangi — our favourite beach spot — when coming up over from the Thames Coast. It’s quite a windy drive, but so worth it. My husband laughs at me every time, he’s says, “You’re like a little kid! The first sight of Matarangi Beach and you get so excited.” I’m 47 and not ashamed to say — he is absolutely right.
Heading north out of Auckland to Mahurangi Regional Park, just before you drop down into Sullivans Bay on Ngarewa Drive, a magnificent 180 degree vista of views of Mahurangi East Harbour, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland City and Coromandel awaits across the park and through the magnificent pohutukawa.
It makes it hard to believe you are only an hour away from the bustle and the view always sends me into automatic relax mode and makes me realise how fabulous New Zealand is.
Our favourite scenic spot is the Taupō lakefront at the end of HeuHeu Parade, at the mouth of the Tauranga-Taupō river. Great Lake and river views and you can see from Ōmori around to Taupō as well as mountain views with the opportunity to fish in the lake or the beautiful, clear river.
Robyn and Basil Simpson
This photo is taken looking north towards the Freyburg Range of mountains and overlooking the valley of north branch of the Maruia River. The location is about 300m from the top of the Lewis Pass and is easily accessible (2 mins walk) from the DoC carpark and shelter on the southern side of the pass. A great place to stop, take in the views and picnic after driving up to the pass (as well as feeding the sandflies!). There is also a 20-minute nature walk that meanders through the forest (easy).
The Lewis Tops track (Advanced), on the opposite side of the road, about 100m up State Highway 7 from the carpark, provides access to the tops (2.5 hrs return to the first summit — 1568m) giving stunning views in all directions down thee valleys and across to the various mountain ranges.
Well worth the effort on a clear summer’s day — good walking shoes, hats and sunscreen needed. The track through the beautiful beech forest is well marked and there is a poled route once above the bushline. A shorter walk on the same track leads to a bench and scenic views down the Maruia valley, but remains below the treeline. There is also a steep track down into the Maruia Valley (North Branch) from the shelter, which is part of the St James Walkway.
About 3.5km south of the camp is Deer Valley campsite DoC (Standard) with 10 camping sites including campervans.
My favourite scenic lookout would have to be along Haast Pass. The difficulty is in selecting the exact spot as the entire route is so scenic.
I would possibly select a spot towards the upper end of Lake Hāwea where you have green sheep grazing pasture in the foreground, the lake taking up middle spot and the beautiful Southern Alps leading off into the distance.
Favourite lookout spot — on the unsealed road over the ridge to Ōpito Bay in Coromandel. Pull over and drink in the amazing and pristine view looking south towards Ōpito Bay. The view offers a small taste of what’s on offer “just around the corner”. Memories of amazing times spent with family and very small grandchildren. You’ve got to get off the beaten track to enjoy the unique scenery.
There are so many beautiful places to see in NZ that it’s hard to choose. But one place that stands out for us is the lookout above Kaikōura. We stopped and had lunch up there while enjoying the fantastic views. That was before the earthquake, so I hope it’s still the same today.
Alan & Cheryl Mascelle
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