Taranaki has been named one of the world’s best “offbeat” tourist destinations. Photo/Tyler Stovich, Unsplash
The Lonely Planet has published a guide of 100 places marching to the beat of their own drum, in search of the most unusual and off-the-radar destinations of 2023.
Not surprisingly, two kiwi sites appeared on top. The exotic and fascinating region of Taranaki and Rakiura/Stuart Island have been rated among the best exotic destinations in the world. But what does that actually mean?
These places are not only off the beaten path but are definitely “off the beaten path”, out of place or just plain weird places.
Offbeat is a guide that claims to have put together a collection of alternatives to challenge travelers.
A term from the musical notation, these jazzy destinations are not so much fun for the crowd. But if you dig it, you dig it.
By virtue of being “not for everyone”, it’s a surefire way to avoid crowds.
Editor Lorna Parkes – who, you’d like to know, visited Bhutan before the weather was great – says the collection was created to antidote to “overtourism”.
“An offbeat game was born out of the desire to highlight alternatives to the world’s most important tourist attractions.”
It’s not just about bragging rights but about traveling as a force for good and spreading tourism dollars to places outside the resort.
Taranaki and Manawatu consistently saw the fewest number of international tourism nights on the North Island before the pandemic, but Lonely Planet says there is a new breed of travelers looking for new experiences.
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“Whether it’s lesser-known national parks in North America, or wonderful but surprisingly less frequented cities across Europe, or islands off Australia and New Zealand that remain relatively free of congestion,” Chris Zieher, senior director of sales at Lonely Planet for New Zealand, says. . He has already added many to his wish list.
Hard to reach, even hard to miss – Lonely Planet advises international travelers to detour to the conical Maunga.
Comparing the SH45 favorably with California’s Hwy 1, the guide advises anyone heading to New Zealand for a climbing holiday to head to Taranaki.
Pouakai Crossing is “earning a reputation as one of the best one-day outdoor adventures in the world to rival Tongariro.”
While there aren’t any “thumping” snoops per se, Womead Music Festival gets a special shout out as one pre-books it.
Rakura also makes the cut as “the island’s end of the world”.
If you hate crowds, you’ve come to the right place, Lonely Planet sums up.
Top tips for first-timers include a snorkeling on Ulva Island or a pub quiz with royal approval at the South Seas Hotel. Six years later, Prince Harry’s visit is still proof of trivia.
“The independent and resourceful human population is only 400,” says Lonely Planet.
Stewart Island Birds.
Gay was published by Lonely Planet. RRP $35