Truly Extraordinary Islands near New Zealand:
1) Rakuira/Stewart IslandLocated just thirty kilometres south of the South Island, Stewart Island is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in New Zealand. It is the smallest among the three main islands of the country and shelters just four hundred humans. But the number of kiwis in the island is more than thirteen thousand and nearly ninety percent of the island forms a national park named Rakuira National Park.
One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, The Rakuira track offers epic walking and is believed to be the best way to explore the park. A predator-free sanctuary named Ulva Island in Stewart Island is a haven for birdlife. New Zealand’s most iconic bird species like Kakariki, South Island Saddlebacks, little blue penguins, etc. can be seen in Ulva Island.
Stewart Island can be reached both by sea and air. The ferry service that leaves from Bluff will bring you to the island in an hour. And every day, a flight from Invercargill Airport takes off to Stewart Island and reaches within twenty minutes.
2) Rangitoto IslandOne of the islands near New Zealand, Rangitoto is one of the most iconic landmarks in Auckland and currently a preferred destination for day-trippers and hikers. It emerged from the sea six hundred years ago and is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. Approximately an hour of traversing through the volcanic fields in this amazing volcanic island destination will lead you to the summit.
A twenty-minute ferry boat ride starting from Downtown Auckland will bring you to the island. To reach the summit, you can either take the four wheel drive road train or simply walk up. At the top, there is a stunning three sixty degree view.
A short diversion off the track leads to the lava tunnels and caves, so carry a torch to explore. Rangitoto Island is a much loved boating destination as well, so a night kayak trip would be a splendid experience. The other interesting activities on the island include fishing, camping, etc.
3) The Cook IslandsHaving a size close to India’s and a population of approximately fifteen thousand people, The Cook Islands is a group of fifteen islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It is just a four-hour flight from New Zealand and each year, fourteen thousand people are estimated to arrive as tourists to the capital island Rarotonga. Although tourists visit in such a huge volume, it has not negatively affected the region in any noticeable way.
Touted to be the ultimate place to wind down, the palm-fringed beaches and blue lagoon waters of the islands are perfect for scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking. The delicious traditional food cooked right on the beach is also worth trying. Many airlines have flights to The Cook Islands and the prices are low during midweek.
4) Waiheke IslandOne of the largest and most popular islands near New Zealand, Waiheke Island is just a forty minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. The spectacular beaches are an apt choice for swimming, kayaking and even small outings. Both the beaches and the fantastic vineyards together make the island a favorite destination for weddings and honeymoon.
Remnants of the Second World War episode like underground tunnels can be found while exploring the walking track at the eastern end of the island. Mountain bikes and cars are available for hiring in Waiheke for travelling. There is also efficient public transport via buses and taxis.
Their wine tours serve fantastic wine and local craft stores have some exceptional souvenirs. Even though beach houses are largely preferred for overnight staying, backpacker hostels can also be a viable option if you are travelling on a budget.
5) D’Urville IslandThe fifth-largest landmass of New Zealand, D’Urville Island was named after French adventurer Dumont d’Urville. D’Urville Island is the eighth biggest island near New Zealand and the remoteness of the island’s location in Marlboroughs has contributed to its appeal. Blue cod, kingfish and snapper are abundantly present in the waters of the island.
A wide range of adventurous water activities including kayaking, diving, snorkelling, etc. is prevalent in the region. There are also many walks in this beautiful island to go for walking and cycling.
6) Poor Knights IslandLocated near the Tutukaka Coast of the Northland region of North Island, Poor Knights Island are original remains of old volcanoes that evolved into picturesque caves, tunnels, arches and cliffs beneath the water. The island preserves sensational marine life ever since the beginning of 1980s, after turning into a marine reserve. Among their diverse underwater experiences, diving and snorkelling are more prominent.
7) Enderby IslandLocated in the North of the Auckland archipelago, Enderby Island is a frequently visited region in sub-antarctic New Zealand. The island is a haven for birdlife with the popular seabird species being Auckland snipe, Auckland shag and Auckland teal. The wildlife also consists of yellow-eyed penguins, light-mantled sooty Albatross and hooker’s sea lions.
8) FijiFiji is a Melanesian country in The South Pacific Ocean which has palm-fringed beaches, booming coral reefs and over three hundred and thirty islands. Despite being an expensive country to travel around, Fiji has a first-rate infrastructure for tourism. The Indo-Fijian food, the adventures sports and the aquatic life in Fiji are also raved about.
The islands are treated as a perfect romantic getaway. It takes three hours to reach Fiji from New Zealand through a flight. The Australian shore connection facilitates entering Fiji from Australia through a boat.
Is there anything more to the fabulous islands near New Zealand? Tell us in the comments.