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Avalanche City’s Top 5 Unmissable New Zealand Spots

Avalanche City’s Top 5 Unmissable New Zealand Spots

New Zealand native Dave Baxter – otherwise known as Avalanche City – is back with his second album We Are For The Wild PlacesAfter rising to attention in 2011 with hit song Love Love Love, he went on to record his sophomore album in Seattle, with mixing done by Death Cab For Cutie’s guitarist Chris Walla. The album’s first single, Inside Out, showcases New Zealand’s natural beauty in its awesome video clip.

We asked Baxter for his top five spots he’d tell a visitor to New Zealand to really not miss.

#1 The Desert Road

(Photo: Brett Jones/Flickr)

This is actually called The National Park and it’s one of the most instantly recognisable parts of the country. It’s hard to mistake the wide sea of tussock grass with Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe in the background. It’s in the centre of the North Island, and state highway 1 passes through the middle of it. If you’re doing a trip around New Zealand you’ll no doubt find yourself driving that road gaping out the window, and I’ll tell you why.

There are still bands of wild horses that live on the plains, and if you’re lucky you’ll see them galloping in the distance. They’re actually a problem to the native plant life, it’s a shame they can’t live nicely together because they’ve done culls to try keep their population down. It’s not often you get a chance to see real wild horses and though sightings are slim, the knowledge that they’re out there will keep your eyes glued to the horizon. The army does training on the plateau too, and I’ve cruised down the long straight road, glanced out the window and seen a tank, probably too close for comfort, tearing along at a bone-jarring pace on the uneven ground, disappear behind a ridge, then reappear a moment later.

#2 Queenstown


It’s hard to know where to start with Queenstown. I’ll try to describe it but it’s going to sound fake, like I made up some magical land. The city sits at the foot of legendary mountain range not so humbly named The Remarkables, and on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. The peaks are snow capped and stretch far into the distance and the lake is long and smooth and disturbed only by the local steam boat. In fact, I think you should just Google image search Queenstown. Do it now and then come back.

If you made it back without booking a trip straight away then congratulations. A local once told me the population is around 90,000 but of that, only 25,000 actually live there leaving a whopping 65,000 transients – either tourists or seasonal workers. Queenstown is driven by tourism and it’s a major holiday destination, yet it thankfully has no tacky side effects that other tourist towns are plagued by. It’s hard to be sad in Queenstown. The majority of people there are having their break from normal work life and have come to ski the slopes or partake in other adventure activities, and it’s not hard to imagine why.

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