Unplugged: New Zealand’s top destinations to unplug & reconnect
In a world where smart devices follow us even into our bedrooms, there is no better escape than one where you can get off the grid. Luckily New Zealand has no shortage of stunning spots to unplug. Here’s our pick of New Zealand’s top destinations to get off the grid.
For lovers of big mountains and glaciers, and for wanting the feeling of solitude, Fiordland basically begs you to come explore here. Home to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s top destinations, it attracts visitors from far and wide. Yet the remoteness of Fiordland National Park means there are many places here with limited or no internet (especially the walking tracks). It will give you the rare opportunity to disconnect from your busy lives and embrace the wilderness in its entirety.
West Coast of South Island is a pretty magic place, soon becoming one of New Zealand’s top destinations. Rough and remote, it features luxuriant rainforests, stunning lakes, five national parks and one World Heritage Area. Getting off the grid isn’t hard here at all, especially in the national parks. Outside of these, there are plenty of hideaways and peaceful spots you won’t have to ‘share’ with anyone or have the opportunity to share with the world till you come out of the wilderness into one of “The Coast’s” quaint towns.
Whenua Hou (Codfish Island)
Perhaps one of the hardest locations to get to in New Zealand is Codfish Island, home of New Zealand’s rare kakapo, a flightless nocturnal parrot and one of our greatest treasures. Next to Stewart Island, Codfish Island is only accessible by plane or helicopter, and only for authorised people. If you’re lucky, nab a volunteer spot to spend time on this remote island.
Less remote, but equally stunning and slightly easier to reach is Rakiura/ Stewart Island. Spend internet-free days here in a Department of Conservation (DOC) hut, spy kiwis (our iconic native birds) and soak in the beauty of the rugged coastline on a walk.
Sitting just off the coast of the Wellington region, Kapiti is one of the country’s oldest and most important nature reserves. You’ll need to visit as part of an approved tour group so only a small number of people are on the island each day. You will need to camp overnight for the chance to see the kiwi in the wild.
Home of the Tuhoe people, a fiercely proud Maori tribe that didn’t sign the Treaty Of Waitangi, Te Urewera is the largest forested wilderness in North Island. You’ll find great walking tracks (popularly Lake Waikaremoana and Whirinaki Forest), a gargantuan lake in a stunning forest setting, huge waterfalls and many stories of the land. Happily it has no, or scanty internet, so you can focus on enjoying the natural and cultural beauty of this remote place.
Little River (Christchurch)
For something unique and unforgettable, try camping under the starry skies near Christchurch. The ‘camping’ experience features a whole lot of luxury within a glass pod that is located under regenerating bush and grand landscapes, albeit without Internet connection.