Get ready for a cuteness overload with a visit to Wharariki Beach to meet some of the sweetest locals frolicking in the tide pools – baby seals. The beach is a well-established seal colony, and the pups are very relaxed around human visitors. Be sure to follow the Department of Conservation’s advice and don’t pat or chase them. They’re wild, it stresses them out, and mum and dad won’t be happy if they see you, either. Seals aside, the rugged, off-track beach is definitely worth a visit to explore its huge limestone rock formations, caves and islets. “Visit at low tide to walk along the white pillowy sand, explore the grottoes on the beach and see all the seals lazing about,” recommends Linda Olivier, a nature-lover advisor at the Golden Bay Visitors’ Centre. Note that it’s a 20-minute walk from the car park to the beach.