New Zealand is in the midst of a global craze and there is no escaping as would-be Pokemon masters hunt for rare and exciting creatures.
Since the newest gaming craze ignited and spread across the planet, Pokemon have begun popping up in all sorts of mysterious places - revealing New Zealand as a natural haven and the ideal environment to go after these critters on your way to becoming a Pokemon master.
Rumour has it that they have been showing up at some iconic New Zealand locations just waiting to be caught.
Not surprisingly, Middle-earth is a hotspot for Pokemon. Hobbit holes, green pastures, vegetable gardens and still waters are the sanctuary of choice for cute critters. Local hobbits don’t seem to be interested in catching Pokemon so there are plenty to go around. Jump on a daily tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, stroll the pristine grounds and keep a wary eye out for Pikachu and his many friends. At least one has already been spotted inside Bag End. After a successful capture, celebrate with a drink at the Green Dragon Inn - you never know, there might be one hiding in there too.
Hobbiton is near Matamata in the Waikato region of the North Island. Matamata is a 2-hour drive from Auckland or 50 minutes from Hamilton.
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula
Just 2.5 hours’ drive from Auckland is one of New Zealand’s most picturesque coastal beauty spots. Cathedral Cove can be accessed by boat or by foot and the secluded bay, in the middle of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, is a prime location for catching elusive Pokemon. Water Pokemon such as Squirtle, Horsea and Magikarp could certainly be found on the pohutukawa-lined cliffs of Cathedral Cove. Cathedral Cove Kayaks are your go-to local Pokemon experts who can take you from Hahei Beach to Catherdral Cove, via nooks and crannies where some of the rarest creatures could be hidden.
Coromandel Peninsula is a 2.5-hour drive from Auckland. Cathedral Cove can be accessed via a short, easy 45-minute walk from Hahei, a small beachside town in the Coromandel.
Abel Tasman National Park
New Zealand’s South Island has endless hideaways for Pokemon and the best place to start is at the top, in the Abel Tasman National Park. This is a coastal paradise explored by hiking the trails or cruising the seas and a superb destination for finding all sorts of strange animals. You may bump into the crab-like Paras on the golden sands of Medlands Bay, spot Pidgeys flying through the forests with the local songbirds, or Goldeens swimming amongst seals in the crystal clear water. Explore the park and be rewarded with stunning scenery but keep an eye out for a sleeping Snorlax and other new Pokemon friends.
Abel Tasman National Park is an hour by road from Nelson. Charter boat and water-taxi services are available from Kaiteriteri, Marahau and Totaranui. Check timetables at visitor centres in Nelson, Motueka and Takaka. Flights operate daily from Auckland and Wellington.
Aoraki Mt Cook
New Zealand’s highest peak – snow-capped Aoraki Mt Cook – could offer refuge to many different types of Pokemon. Famous for its crystal clear night skies and awesome glaciers, one could expect to stumble across rare ice Pokemon. An Air Safaris flight from nearby Lake Tekapo would be a good starting point to get right up close to the summit of Mt Cook and catch an aerial view of Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest ice flow. The rocky Southern Alps would provide the perfect environment for Pokemon such as Geodude, Onix and Rhyhorn, or keep an eye out for the rare Zapdos – the electric bird would be right at home with the stars in the International Dark Sky Reserve.
Aoraki Mt Cook National Park is located in the central South Island. From October to May you can take a boat across the terminal lake to get close to the icebergs at the bottom of the glacier. Take a night-time stargazing tour at Mount John, above Lake Tekapo and part of the vast International Dark Sky Reserve.
Nugget Point, The Catlins Coast
Nugget Point on New Zealand’s southern coast is the perfect spot to finish a Pokemon adventure. Everyone’s favourite, Pikachu - an electric Pokemon - loves hanging out in the lighthouse. Nugget Point is one of the most distinctive landforms along the Otago coast. It’s a steep headland with a lighthouse and a scattering of rocky islets (The Nuggets). A five-minute walk leads to the lighthouse, and amazing views along the coastline in both directions. On the rocks below are New Zealand fur seals and sea lions - while these aren’t for catching, they’re sure to let you know if there are Pokemon about.
Nugget Point was named in New Zealand's top 10 landmarks by travel website Trip Advisor in 2014 and 2015. Nugget Point is on the Southern Scenic Touring Route between Invercargill and Dunedin. There are regular flights daily into Dunedin and Invercargill where you can hire a vehicle to visit Nugget Point and many other outstanding coastal landmarks.