8 Great New Year Destinations


IMG 0366 Mahia IMG 0366
NINA MERCER Cycling the Motu Dune Trail Motu Dune Trail - Opotiki NINA MERCER Cycling the Motu Dune Trail
JILL Whananaki Whananaki JILL Whananaki

MCD's team of travel writers have each listed their favourite destination to spend this special day. And whether you’re home or away over the New Year, we hope it will be a great one!

Motutara Farm - Whananaki

My most memorable New Year’s Day was with other happy campers on Motutara Farm at Whananaki. We took picnics and spread ourselves out in the shade of the pohutukawa trees that lean drunkenly over the beach. A languorous day of eating and idle chat, only interrupted by the odd game of beach cricket, swimming and a stroll along the edges of the whipped cream surf.
- Jill Malcolm

Stewart Island

After almost two decades of spending the New Year in Whangamata, we’re heading as far away from the crowds as possible to Stewart Island. Peace and solitude, amazing food, great people and world class hunting and fishing right on your doorstep, all nestled among the best Mother Nature has to offer. What more can you ask for?
- Jackie Norman

Saint Bathans - Otago

We spent last New Year’s Eve at pretty Saint Bathans in Otago, where a pit dug by gold miners in the 1800s is now a beautiful blue lake, coloured by minerals that leach into the water, and surrounded by glistening white cliffs. The following day we drove over the remote Danseys Pass, stopping for lunch at the historic Coach Inn. The stunning scenery and great food provided a wonderful start to the New Year.
- Heather Whelan

Piha Beach

In my mind, you can’t beat Piha Beach, on Auckland’s wild west coast, for a fun New Year’s Day destination. Yes, it is one of Auckland’s most famous (and popular) spots for some relaxation in the waves at the best of times. But with the sand stretching from Piha South to Piha North – with iconic Lion Rock more-or-less in the middle – there is room for everyone to relax and play in the sun.
- Cameron Officer

Biking the Motu Dune Trail - Opotiki 

For me, you can’t go past a sunny day at the beach on New Year’s Day, and if a decent bike ride can be included then that’s even better. Biking the Motu Dune Trail near Opotiki was a great way to spend New Year’s Day last year. About 20km return, it is an easy and fun ride for the whole family.
- Nina Mercer

Ludbrook House and farm - Ohaeawai

I remember with a great deal of pleasure the New Year’s Day we spent with friends at the historic Ludbrook House and farm in Ohaeawai, Northland. We enjoyed lamb on the spit and new spuds freshly dug from the garden. Roger Ludbrook, whose great-great-great grandfather first bought the land, took us on an amazing historical walk. Sometime in 2018, tours and park-over facilities on Ludbrook Farm will be available to the public.
- Bill Savidan

Mahia Peninsula

When I recently visited Mahia Peninsula – such a breathtakingly beautiful place – I couldn’t believe how few people were around. However, the locals say it can get quite packed in the summer holiday season. Whether your favourite activity is swimming, fishing, walking, or just reading a book, I couldn’t think of a better place to do it.
- Viv Haldane

Kidds Bush Reserve - Lake Hawea

My most memorable New Year’s Day was spent at Kidds Bush Reserve, on the edge of Lake Hawea. We parked in the shade of mountain beech trees, watched the sun rise over the mountains, enjoyed a beautiful nature walk in the morning, cooled off in the pristine lake in the heat of the day, and watched for shooting stars and satellites in the clear night sky.
- Liz Light

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