Turn off and tune in to nature in New Zealand's wide open spaces
When the borders reopen, New Zealand’s open spaces could be the perfect antidote for clients looking to switch off the screen time and take in a digital detox.
Just now, we’re all spending a lot of time online, keeping in touch and staying informed. While it’s important to be connected and have the right information, it's good to be looking forward to a day when we can be out and about again.
Consider this: New Zealand has just officially reached a population of 5 million, and that adds up to a population density of just 18 people per square kilometre.
And, with one third of the country in protected conservation parks, it's the perfect place to drop your phone, ditch the iPad and enjoy an off-the-grid break. With no Wi-Fi or mobile phone coverage in some of our most scenic spots, visitors can disconnect from their devices and reconnect with each other in beautiful surroundings.
Walk out of range
New Zealand’s walks and hikes venture into unspoiled nature – through native forests, alongside lakes, rivers and golden beaches to rugged mountain peaks and vast valleys. Cell phone towers are scarce in parts, allowing for true off-the-grid adventures. Phones only come out for photos, Instagram posts become #latergrams.
Walk or kayak a golden coastline
The Abel Tasman Coast Track traces the golden-sand coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park, offering opportunities to walk through lush native forest, swim in crystal clear waters and spot seals and birds. Visitors can stay overnight in DOC huts, private lodges and waterfront campsites. Perhaps best of all, reception is patchy so tell your clients to switch off their phone and enjoy the serenity.
Trade tip: With water taxis and tour boats servicing the area, it’s easy to split the track into easy day walks or add in a kayak trip offering the chance to explore secluded bays and offshore islands.
New Zealand's most famous walk
The Milford Track traverses Fiordland National Park, one of the world’s greatest unspoiled wildernesses. The 53-kilometre journey takes you to pristine lakes, sky-scraping mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and enormous valley views. A complete digital black-out means there is no Internet or phone signal (DOC rangers at huts or guides at lodges have access to satellite and radio communications).
Trade tip: Ultimate Hikes, Real Journeys and Trips & Tramps offer guided walks.
Sounds of silence
Escape to the peace and tranquillity of Doubtful Sound on a magical overnight cruise. Also known as the “Sound of Silence”, Doubtful Sound is the perfect place to switch off for the night. There’s no direct road access, so the adventure includes a cruise across crystal clear Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus trip over the majestic Wilmot Pass. Explore the shoreline by kayak or boat – or simply relax on board before a three-course meal and some stargazing on the upper deck.
Trade tip: Tell your clients to keep their eyes peeled on the pristine fiord for dolphins, seals and the Fiordland crested penguin.
Sleep under the stars (in luxury)
The most comfortable way to be fully immersed in nature, PurePods are made entirely from glass. They don’t have television or internet coverage, but they feature the most advanced environmentally friendly tech available for the generation of power and disposal of waste. PurePods are integrated into the breathtaking natural environments they inhabit (there are six locations around the Christchurch region) and feature views of sea, mountains, rivers and the glorious southern night sky.
Trade tip: All the PurePods are accessible by car from Christchurch and two of them are close to Kaikoura. Private parking is provided at each location, then visitors walk through beautiful landscape to access their pod.
Enjoy an island escape
Off the southern tip of the South Island lies Stewart Island. Known in Māori as Rakiura – “the land of the glowing skies” – it’s the best place in New Zealand to see the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.
Recently listed in Lonely Planet's Wonders of the World, most of the island is protected national park. With a permanent population of around 400, just one small village, a handful of roads and only one pub, it’s a pristine wilderness destination barely touched by human occupation.
It’s also the most likely place to encounter the iconic kiwi bird in the wild as they come out to forage for food on the beach at dusk. Real Journeys and Ruggedy Range offer kiwi-spotting tours.
Trade tip: Stewart Island can be reached by a short ferry ride from Bluff, or by light aircraft from Invercargill.