There’s no scarcity of really epic walks in New Zealand. I imply, everyone knows that. However right here’s a secret: among the greatest might be executed in lower than a day.
Considered one of my favourite issues about residing in New Zealand is all the obtainable tracks and walks proper on my doorstep. Irrespective of the place you end up, you’re by no means not removed from an journey. And whereas I like to get off the overwhelmed monitor and actually immerse myself within the wilderness of this epic nation typically on lengthy multi-day missions and visiting backcountry huts, I additionally equally love brief walks.
From far within the tropical north to the really wild deep south, from lush native forests to black sandy seashores, from mellow and meandering to ruggedly invigorating, these little hikes are actually rated by the Division of Conservation (DOC) as among the greatest brief walks in New Zealand.
Earlier than heading off on any stroll or hike in New Zealand, even a brief one, be sure to verify the climate and the native DOC (Division of Conservation) workplace or web site for any updates on the monitor, the climate, or any important info you might must know.
Listed here are my picks for greatest brief walks in New Zealand, take pleasure in!
1. Mount Manaia Monitor – Northland
three.5kms. 2-3hr return. Low to Reasonable Health Required. Extra information right here.
Whangarei within the far north of New Zealand has one of the crucial spectacular harbor entrances within the nation – and that’s saying one thing. The complete island nation has been fashioned and carved by intense geological forces and the ensuing landscapes and coastlines are phenomenal. The simple to medium monitor at Mount Manaia is testomony to this.
It’s a little bit of a gradual climb up via the luxurious inexperienced native forest, however the view from the highest is the last word reward. Wind your means as much as the bottom of what appears to be like like an historic fort, however in actuality is proof of the volcanic vitality that sculpted this outstanding land, and see if you’ll find the Hen and Hen Islands simply off the coast.
As in lots of elements of the nation, DOC is working onerous to regenerate the pure forest and hen life and this forest isn’t any exception. Stroll beneath the shade of nīkau palms and kauri timber whereas the fiery reds of northern rātā and pōhutukawa poke via the treeline in scarlett brilliance.
2. Mangawhai Cliffs – Northland
5km. 2-3hr return. Reasonable Health Required. Extra information right here.
It’s no secret New Zealand has a fairly rugged shoreline and this beautiful stroll from sandy seashore to dramatic cliff tops in Northland isn’t any exception.
Views and photograph ops abound, and also you would possibly even be fortunate sufficient to identify a pod of whales or college of sharks from the monitor. The monitor itself is a bit rocky and tough on the coastal finish, and is of a gradual gradient upwards of about 115 meters, however is completely doable for all ages.
Historical Pōhutukawa timber cling tenaciously to the cliff edges whereas colourful, fats native pigeons (kererū), in no way like metropolis pigeons, feast within the branches.
The monitor begins on the seashore, then climbs steadily, at a fairly steep gradient, for about 20 minutes. This results in a lookout level perched above sheer slopes and the ocean under. You may maintain going, descending all the way in which to the stony seashore under. At low tide you may select to stroll again alongside the seashore, however ONLY at low tide.
three. Rangitoto Summit Monitor – Auckland
7km. 2hr return. Reasonable Health Required. Extra information right here.
Rangitoto is an lively volcano and a younger one in addition. The youngest one in New Zealand actually. So after all I need to go for a pleasant massive hike round it! However with the final eruption being round 600 years in the past, I determine it’s secure for now! And it’s actually lovely.
Getting there may be straightforward. From the Queens Wharf in downtown Auckland ferries run between town and the island volcano repeatedly.
The monitor itself is a straightforward climb via the world’s largest pōhutukawa forest and naked lava fields. The views from the summit are unbelievable. You may see all the way in which to the Hauraki Gulf and views of Auckland by no means seemed so good.
In 2011 DOC performed the world’s largest on-island pest eradication program on Rangitoto making it fully freed from the mammalian pests that destroyed a lot of New Zealand’s native birds and foliage.
four. Cathedral Cove Stroll – The Coromandel
2.5km. 1hr 30 minutes return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
A North Island seashore haven, the Coromandel Peninsula is a well-liked spot for surfers and sun-lovers. The Cathedral Cove stroll might be fairly busy in the summertime season, so watch out and respectful of others on the monitor. The stroll boasts beautiful views of the amazingly blue seas of the Coromandel coast and results in the dramatically iconic rock archway of Cathedral Cove.
The monitor meanders alongside the beautiful coast and is straightforward for each health stage. In summer time the small city of Hahei solely 2kms away gives a park and experience service because the visitors can get a bit out of hand. I recommend using this service as automotive parking might be difficult and this protects time and fluster.
A straightforward day journey from Whitianga (35 kms away) or Coromandel city (54 kms away) that is certainly one of New Zealand’s hottest walks.
5. Wainui Falls Monitor – Nelson / Tasman
three.4km. 1hr 20 minutes return. Low to Reasonable Health Required. Extra information right here.
Everybody loves a waterfall. There’s one thing actually dreamy and dramatic about them, the way in which the water cascades and tumbles, churning the water under into froth and spray. The Wainui Falls in Golden Bay within the Nelson/Tasman area is likely one of the largest and most accessible on the northern South Island.
20 kms from the attractive village of Takaka, the final city on the western aspect of the superb Abel Tasman Nationwide Park, you’ll discover the indicators resulting in the beginning of the stroll. After a brief stroll throughout farmland you’ll enter a cool, inexperienced native forest, shaded by nīkau palms, rātā timber and ferns. Then the monitor climbs steeply for a bit, winding its means over and beside big granite boulders.
Cross the lengthy swing bridge, resist the urge to leap up and down and scare your folks, and also you’re nearly there. You recognize you’re shut when you may hear the pounding rush of the water thundering over the falls.
6. Charming Creek Walkway – West Coast
9.5km. 2hr 30 minutes return. Low to Reasonable Health Required. Extra information right here.
That is such an excellent stroll for the character lover and the historical past buff! I first did it nearly 5 years in the past after I moved to New Zealand, and it was a complete secret. Protecting a straightforward 9.5km the monitor follows an historic tramway via native bush, previous relics of outdated coal mines and sawmills, and previous the beautiful Mangatini Falls because it winds via the Ngakawau Gorge on the West Coast of New Zealand.
The West Coast is famend for its moody epic magnificence and this nice stroll deep into the Ngakawau Gorge does epic moody to perfection. Pure partitions of native moss and hanging ferns cling to steep bluffs, deep inexperienced waters rumble over rocky river beds, and in every single place you look are remnants of New Zealand’s pioneers of coal and timber.
It’s onerous to not think about what life up right here will need to have been like for these way back miners and millers. A harsh life. However a gorgeous one, surrounded by wealthy native forest. A suspension bridge results in the spectacular falls, then undergo a 50 meter tunnel to the flats the place you’ll discover the remnants of Watson’s Mill.
7. Cape Foulwind Walkway – West Coast
three.4km. 1hr 15 minutes return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
Regardless of its somewhat unfair identify, Cape Foulwind is a kind of locations on the West Coast that nature actually reminds you of how small and insignificant you might be. I can simply think about the chagrin of Captain James Prepare dinner as his ship was blown off target whereas navigating this wild coast. It’s this that provides the place its identify – not the seal colony on the finish of the walkway!
Cape Foulwind walkway is a spectacular testomony to the wildness of New Zealand’s West Coast. Vivid oceans, rocky shoreline, a sandy seashore, a lighthouse and a seal colony – its no marvel this can be a should do brief stroll!
There’s additionally a shorter stroll choice for these simply desirous to see seals of their pure habitat. 15 minutes and 500 meters will take you from the Tauranga Bay automotive park to the seal colony viewing level. Or take the longer stroll to the lighthouse and again and benefit from the bracing purity and beautiful views of the West Coast.
eight. Lake Matheson – West Coast/Fox Glacier
2.6km. 1hr 30 minutes loop monitor. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
Famend for the breathtaking photographs of image excellent Aoraki/Mt Prepare dinner captured within the gleaming mirror that’s Lake Matheson on a nonetheless, clear day, this actually is a stroll to not miss. Nestled amid historic forest, the lakes unbelievable reflective properties are as a result of darkish topaz hue of the water. The color just isn’t indicative of air pollution, removed from it, however the wealthy natural matter leached from the humus of the forest ground.
As typically, photographers, you’ll need to be right here at daybreak and nightfall to benefit from the reflections and the sunshine!
Lake Matheson is simply 5kms from the Fox Glacier township and was fashioned when Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe retreated after its final massive advance round 14,000 years in the past. So most of the South Island lakes, like Wanaka and Hawea, are glacial fashioned, carved out of the softer rock and soils by ice.
There are two strolling choices. The shorter choice takes you from the automotive park to the jetty viewpoint return and is about 1km and 40 minutes. The jetty is a surprising place to get that excellent reflection shot in the dead of night waters. Or take the loop across the lake – this can be a 2.6km stroll, which can take round 1hr 30minutes relying how lengthy you spend getting ‘the’ shot! Each take you thru beautiful native bush of rata and kahikatea with glades of native wildflowers and the odd actually cool toadstool!
9. Fox Glacier – West Coast
2.6km. 1hr return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
There’s one thing about seeing a glacier up shut and private and the Fox Glacier on the West Coast of New Zealand is a continuing reminder of the ability and fragility of nature. An historic reminder that the world was as soon as coated in ice and snow, this eerily lovely remnant of the far distant previous is a miracle to behold.
Simply south of the Fox Glacier township is the flip off to the automotive park of the Fox Glacier stroll. As a result of it’s turn out to be such a well-liked vacationer spot the walkway is fairly straightforward going and appropriate for nearly everybody. Nevertheless, when you get nearer to the glacier on the ultimate part of monitor, there are security limitations and a brief climb to a viewing space. Don’t be tempted to leap the limitations!
The stroll leads you to inside about 500 meters of the glacier terminal face via native New Zealand rainforest and since it’s the West Coast, be sure to take moist climate gear.
At any time of the yr the climate right here might be extraordinarily changeable and so its good to be ready for any eventuality. And I can’t stress sufficient to stay to the monitor and comply with the principles because the Fox and Prepare dinner rivers can flash flood in excessive rains.
10. Devils Punchbowl Strolling Monitor – Arthur’s Go
2km. 1hr return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
The Devils Punchbowl in Arthurs Go is likely one of the South Islands most beautiful waterfalls. And it’s so readily accessible it truly is a should do. These are the form of waterfalls I really like essentially the most. Whimsical wisps of falling recent water draping dramatically over moss-coated rock – all of it sounds fairly dreamy. And but the ability of this waterfall provides it its identify.
The falls can truly be seen from the street however a brief cease and stroll to the bottom of the falls is a should because it actually is sort of superb to face beneath such an superior power of nature. The monitor is straightforward, there’s a number of steps, however not many, and it’s a straightforward hour return journey.
Situated on the Arthurs Go street on State Freeway 73 between Canterbury and the West Coast, the falls are simply on the northern finish of the village. It’s a straightforward monitor and takes about an hour to the falls and again.
11. Kura Tāwhiti Entry Monitor
1.4km. 20 minutes return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
This magical area of big easy boulders is most well-known for the epic battle scene in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and as you stroll amongst these mammoth buildings of limestone, you actually really feel such as you;re in some enchanted world.
Situated on the street to the West Coast about 95kms from Christchurch, the boulder monitor is on non-public property on Fortress Hill Station on the South Island. At sure instances of the yr, when you;re fortunate, you’ll see the Fortress Hill Buttercup – a tiny yellow wildflower solely discovered on this 6 Hectare space of land. Fairly particular. So particular that Kura Tāwhiti is the primary reserve in New Zealand established particularly to guard a plant.
The realm was once a big, shallow inland sea. Round 30 million years in the past the ocean began filling in, the water changed by land, and the stress of this displacement precipitated huge uplift, folding, faulting, and forming the Torlesse and Craigieburn ranges. The large limestone boulders have been carved and smoothed over time to kind the superb edifices you may stroll amongst right this moment.
12. Blue Lakes & Tasman Glacier Walks
2.6km. 1hr minutes return. Low to Reasonable Health Required. Extra information right here.
At 27kms lengthy the Tasman Glacier is the longest in New Zealand. This stroll is certainly one of my faves as a result of on this stroll you typically see the Rifleman, New Zealand’s smallest native hen – and it’s so cute!
The Blue Lakes are about 40minutes alongside the monitor from the automotive park previous Aoraki/Mt Prepare dinner village and the Tasman Glacier Lake stroll is an extra 20-30minutes – however is effectively price it!
In the summertime the Blue Lakes are an unbelievable swim, the water nonetheless fairly icy however so refreshing and invigorating – simply being in for a minute makes you are feeling like a brand new individual! Each lakes have that distinctive opaque aqua coloration indicative of a glacial lake or tarn, barely pearlescent, like moonstone. And with the encompassing mountains together with the majestic Mt. Prepare dinner and Mt. Tasman, the 2 highest peaks within the nation, it makes for some very spectacular and exquisite nation. There are even icebergs!
13. Blue Swimming pools Monitor – Haast Go
1.5km. 1hr minutes return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
Among the clearest, most fantastically serene recent water swimming pools in New Zealand, the Blue Swimming pools close to Makarora on the Haast Go street to Wanaka are merely superb. The sheer purity of the water, the peerlessly crystalline magnificence that means that you can depend the rocks on the underside of the pool, it actually blows you away whenever you see them for your self.
And, regardless of being a well-liked vacationer cease over the busy summer time months, the tranquility and mesmerizing vitality of the place nonetheless will get me each time I am going. Attending to the swimming pools is a straightforward stroll on a effectively maintained monitor via historic beech and podocarp forest. Shafts of daylight via the inexperienced of the natives giving the forest on both aspect an ethereal glow. Although tempting to swim, it’s freezing all yr spherical, and as quickly as your naked pores and skin is uncovered, you’ll be eaten alive by sandflies.
There are two swing bridges and a nature boardwalk on this straightforward stroll. The second swing bridge is the viewing platform over the Blue Swimming pools themselves.
14. Lake Gunn Nature Stroll – Fiordland
1.4km. 45minutes return. Low Health Required. Extra information right here.
Fiordland is certainly one of New Zealand’s most really wild locations, residence to Milford Sound, a spot that impressed author Rudyard Kipling to say it because the eighth marvel of the world. And on the street to Milford from Te Anau, at Cascade Creek, is the brief stroll to Lake Gunn, one other spot worthy of such an accolade.
From the second you step out of your automotive you might be immersed within the silent fantastic thing about Fiordlands wilderness – the one sound the rustling of tiny birds, tomtits, riflemen, and when you;re fortunate, the South Island robin. Hold and eye out additionally for yellowhead/mohua and kaka and likewise, when you;re there within the night, brief and lengthy tail bats! Enjoyable!
The long-lasting beech forests of Fiordland are eerily lovely. Tree trunks are draped in smooth mosses, mounds of moss and lichen make fairy beds on both aspect of the monitor, and I can think about falling asleep on certainly one of these and waking up in one other world. I’d in all probability be eaten alive by sandflies although! One factor about Fiordland, take repellant!
Have you ever executed any of those walks? What’s your fave? Share!