Kai Iwi Lakes, New Zealand

While tourist favourite Lake Taupo is beautiful, these three crystal-clear lakes, surrounded by perfectly white sand and fringed with fragrant pine forests, are just as easy on the eyes and not half as covered in travellers’ footprints. Formed by rainwater in large basins of sand 1.8 million years ago, think of them as really big, really old puddles.

There’s loads to do at these lakes, from quad biking to trekking through the forest, swimming in the turquoise lakes to fishing for your dinner.

As the days draws to a close, throw your freshly caught rainbow trout onto the barbeque for a delicious sizzling lakeside dinner as the low sun casts a watery reflection on the lake’s surface. Then pitch up your tent and turn in for a night of sleeping under the stars.

The next day, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, take a walk along the beach, which is 2.5km from the lakes, to Maunganui Bluff (pictured below), where you can spend the morning gathering mussels for that night’s dinner.

Who is it for?
Adventurous, active types.

Who is it not for?
Those who need the comforts of a hotel.

Where
Northland, New Zealand.

How do you get there?
Take the SH 1 north from Auckland, then the SH 12, turning left onto Omamari Rd, then right onto Kai Iwi Lakes Road. The lakes are about three hours from Auckland.