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Revealed: 9 secret holiday destinations only Kiwis know about

By , February 12, 2016

Not only should one love thy neighbour, but one can also learn a thing or two from them as well! Australians could do with taking a few travel tips from their New Zealand buddies. Kiwis travel to a number of remarkable destinations around the world that are barely on our radar – and after seeing these hidden gems, they most definitely should be.

We’ve extensively analysed consumer search trends in New Zealand over the last three years and matched it against Australia’s to find those top secret holiday destinations the Kiwis have been keeping to themselves. Allow them to inspire us to look beyond our typical hotspots with these nine stunning destinations.

 

1. The Cook Islands

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Scattered across ocean space the size of Western Europe lies the warm and welcoming Cook Islands. These 15 islands are situated comfortably between New Zealand and Hawaii and are known to be reminiscent of Hawaii before it was developed for tourism.

The destination is rich in more than 1000 years of Polynesian culture and spectacular natural landscapes, with stunning mountains, dense tropical jungle and white sandy beaches. Rarotonga in particular, the most populous island and the hub of the Cook Islands, is a spot that cannot be missed. The island is surrounded by a sparkling blue lagoon filled with colourful tropical fish.

trivago recommends: Pacific Resort Aituaki

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2. Samoa

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Samoa boasts the most beautiful and untouched landscape in the South Pacific. The island has a variety of natural wonders on offer from volcanic terrain to lush tropical forests. The destination is also home to the unique and recently trending To Sua Ocean Trench, a giant swimming hole that has become a national icon.

Samoans are friendly, welcoming and generous people, who have a very relaxed outlook on life. This can be a bit of a culture shock for first timers upon arrival, but in no time you’ll want no other lifestyle.

trivago recommends: Sanalei Reef Resort & Spa

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3. Buenos Aires, Argentina

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This large and happening city has a lot of similarities to Paris and Madrid but also has that spicy Latin twist we’ve all been needing in our lives. Get to know the city’s spirited residents over a long-lasting lunch, and after a siesta, head out amongst the vibrant nightlife and give the famous Argentinian tango a whirl.

Buenos Aires is known as the food and wine hub of South America. Be sure to taste some of the region’s best red wines over a traditional steak dish, and finish off with a delicious dulce de leche ice cream for dessert.

trivago recommends: Alvear Palace

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4.Mexico City, Mexico

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Here’s a city bound to daunt even the most experienced of travellers due to its sheer size, being one of the most populated cities in the world. But a visit to Mexico City won’t nearly be as intimidating as expected with its fun-loving and dynamic atmosphere.

Visitors will be able to see the city through the ages. The destination has pre-Hispanic pyramids and canals, colonial buildings and a number of modern Mexican dining options available thanks to its rising culinary scene in recent years.

trivago recommends: Gran Ciudad

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5. Houston, Texas

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For that cosmopolitan feeling with a hint of Southern charm, look no further than Houston, Texas. It’s a city that welcomes all to take part in its carefree lifestyle, where locals enjoy the sunshine year-round and by night, indulge in one of the nation’s best foodie and art scenes.

From barbeque cook-offs to degustation menus created by internationally renowned chefs, Houston is definitely one of America’s culinary capitals. The city is also a place for creative expression, with a vibrant theatre district and a great deal of independent gallery spaces to check out.

trivago recommends: The Houstonian Club & Spa

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6. Vanuatu

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Vanuatu is an island with plenty of unexpected natural wonders. It has the world’s most accessible volcano, picturesque beaches, gushing waterfalls, thermal hot springs and some of the best dive sites in the world – including a dive with a shipwrecked luxury cruise liner.

Holiday costs are relatively lower than most other neighbouring islands in the Pacific as it is yet to be deemed a tourist hotspot, so now’s the perfect time to go. It’s also a great time to make the most of the unique activities on offer without having to share the experience with a large group, such as land-diving from trees (similar to bungee jumping) and zip lining over 80-metre-high canyons.

trivago recommends: Erakor Island Resort & Spa

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7. San Diego, California

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Whether you’re looking for the best beach to sunbathe on or the perfect trip for the kids, San Diego has it all. With year-round warm temperatures and surf beaches that stretch for kilometres, it’s the ideal coastal getaway. It’s also known as one of America’s most family-friendly cities, being home to Legoland, Seaworld and the famous San Diego Zoo.

Despite being the second-largest city in California, San Diego has perfectly maintained its small town feel. The city also embraces its cultural identity with its hint of Hispanic heritage, being within reach of the Mexican border.

trivago recommends: Tower 23

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8. Society Islands

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The Society Islands in French Polynesia are known to be among the world’s premier destinations, home to Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea. However it’s good to know that all islands are easily accessible by ferry, making island hopping a breeze.

The popular Bora Bora, although more coral than sand, is the best island for snorkelling and diving. Moorea, the cheaper alternative, boasts the most spectacular scenery and Tahiti is the more urbanised destination of the three. These islands are best known for their overwater bungalow accommodation, where guests can simply open their bedroom doors and dive into the crystal clear waters of the Pacific.

trivago recommends: Intercontinental Le Moana, Bora Bora

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9. New Caledonia

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New Caledonia is a French island territory found between Brisbane and Vanuatu. The country has a beautiful mix of Melanesian and French culture and has an abundance of natural wonders. The country is home to the famous Isle of Pines, it has the world’s largest lagoon featuring every shade of blue imaginable and a coral reef second in size to the Great Barrier Reef.

The UNESCO World Heritage coral reef is one of the most spectacular diving sites on the planet and is home to a diverse range of sea life, from tropical fish and sharks, to even turtles, whales and dugongs.

trivago recommends: Le Meridien, Oro

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What can the Aussies bring to the table? – Japan!

Yes, the kiwis envision Tokyo as an upcoming holiday destination, being the 12th most searched for international destination for 2016 – but it seems the Aussies are one step ahead when it comes to venturing out to discover the rest of the country.

Osaka

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Not only is the city home to the elegant Osaka Castle, it’s also known to be the food hub of Japan. Osaka attracts tourists from all over the world seeking a taste of Japan’s traditional dishes: Takoyaki (battered octopus balls) Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake); and Udon (Wheat flour noodle soup) are among the favourites. The Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka is the hotspot for finding some of the freshest seafood in the country, as well as Japan’s famous Kobe beef – all for a great price.

trivago recommends: Fraser Residence Osaka

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Kyoto

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As the former emperor’s residence and Japanese Capital before the late 1800s, Kyoto is best known for its historic significance. The city is still abundant with long-standing shrines, temples and other traditional structures from that time.

Kyoto is also considered a shopping utopia, from high-end and modern shops to small boutiques selling traditional arts and crafts.

trivago recommends: Sakura Terrace

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Can you think of any more destinations worthy of sharing? Let us know below!