Walks & Parks

  • Orongorongo Track

    This popular, easy walk passes through different forest types and has swimming holes at the end of the track - it's ideal for families. This easy walking track, that allows dogs on leads is 5.2 km long one way return via same track. Allow 2 hr one way. For the first hour and a half the track climbs through the mixed podocarp and broadleaf forest along Catchpool Stream. The damp floor of the Catchpool Valley supports many nikau palms, tree ferns, kamahi and tawa trees.As you climb up to the drier sides of Cattle Ridge, the forest is more open and consists mainly of hard beech. Look out for a magnificent grove of huge northern rata trees towering above the forest canopy as the track reaches its highest point in the saddle between Catchpool Valley and the Orongorongo River. There are swimming holes at Turere Stream at the end of the track. You can continue past the stream to the river where there are toilets.

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    • Location: Remutaka Forest Park, Catchpool Valley entrance
  • Lake Hayes Track - Queenstown

    As you drive from Frankton, you'll see a carpark at the end of the Ladies Mile Road, as you descend towards Lake Hayes, or continue to the pavilion where there' s lots of parking. The track is either well-graded, or a wooden walkway, to create an easy stroll around the lake, famous for its stunning reflections. Native birds to be seen along the way include the deep blue pukeko, also known as the New Zealand Swamp Hen! There are some inclines, but they're pretty short, and mostly the track is easy. There are toilet facilities at the recreation and picnic area at the Arrowtown end of the lake, which is also a great spot to pause for a dip in the lake! The path has some steep drop offs at some points, so keep small children with you.

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    • Location: Lake Hayes, Queenstown
  • Lake Wombat Walk

    This short, easy walk (3.8 km return via same track, 1 hr 30 min) leads through a lush rimu forest to the idyllic Lake Wombat - it's a good option for children. Lake Wombat is a fe... read more

    • Location: South from Franz Josef , the track starts from the Glacier Access Road
  • Hawkes Bay - White Pines Bush

    29km north of Napier on SH2, native bush walk with educational panels, native birds and forest. The reserve has huge kahikatea, dwarfing the tawa and pukatea that provide most of the remaining tree cover. Nikau palms are also an attraction. Hanging vines, shrubs and ferns proliferate under the tree canopy, providing habitat for native birds including tui, kereru (native pigeons), fantails, bellbirds, silver-eyes, grey warblers and ruru (morepork). Boardwalks make it easy with buggies and there are two walks to choose from – 30 minutes or 1 hour. Toilets and picnic area.

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    • Location: SH2, 29km north of Napier
  • Cass Bay - Magazine Bay walkway

    This easy waterside stroll winds from the Cass Bay playground back to Lyttelton. The path meanders round tiny inlets, including Corsair Bay – a favourite swimming spot with changing rooms and picnic area. You come out at Magazine Bay – follow the marina from here into Lyttelton or take the road or walking path back to Cass Bay. Features: Cass Bay playground, with flying fox. Corsair Bay picnic and swimming spot, Magazine Bay: marina and museum, Lyttelton port town.

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    • Location: Christchurch - Lyttelton Harbour
  • Gisborne - Eastwoodhill Arboretum

    35 km from Gisborne, this unique forest and garden dating back to 1910, contains New Zealand’s largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees and shrubs. Set among hills, valleys and ponds there are easy walking tracks through the gardens. The Blue Walk which wanders through the Circus, Corner Park and Pear Park, is the flattest walk and takes about an hour. Eastwoodhill can also provide morning teas and lunches by prior arrangement.

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    • Location: 2392 Wharaekopae Road, Ngatapa, Gisborne
  • Broken Hills walking tracks

    The Broken Hills area has a number of walking tracks through old mining sites. From 5 min - 10 hr. A popular walk is to 'Gem of The Boom' 20 min return from Puketui Valley Rd - This was the site of an old mining settlement, and relics of the past can still be seen, including what appears to be a jail cut into solid rock. It is an easy loop walk with two bridged crossings over a small creek. Nestled beside the slow-moving Tairua River, Broken Hills is a tranquil holiday hideaway in a picturesque setting.This beautiful Broken Hills Gorge provides many opportunities for walking, swimming, canoeing, trout fishing, fossicking, rafting, bird watching, photography, picnicking and camping.

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    • Location: End of Puketui Valley Road, 19 km from Tairua and 27 km from Whangamata.
  • Rapaura Watergardens - Thames Coast

    Abundant native bush, ferns, watergardens and birds. Wander over bridges and take a bush walk to a cascading waterfall. The seasonal displays of native and exotic flowers are interspersed with garden art. Most of the Gardens are accessible by pushchair, except for the last part of the walk to the falls where there are long steps. It takes about 45 minutes to wander around the Gardens. Take a picnic - there are picnic tables in the car park and ducks and chickens waiting to be fed!

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    • Location: 586 Tapu Corodlen Road, Tapu Village, Thames Coast
  • Clyde Township Lookout Track & Holloway Street Reserve

    Within a short stroll from the historic precinct of Clyde is this great track with fantastic views of the township and surrounding area. Access is from the Holloway Street Memorial  - situated at the base of the hill at the northern end of Clyde’s historic precinct is this small reserve with its miners’ memorial commemorating the gold miners who lost their lives in the 1800s. This small reserve is an ideal spot to have lunch or rest after having a stroll around Clyde’s historic precinct. From here the benched track zigzags up the hillside for about 500 metres. For the average person the walk to the top should take about 5 to 10 minutes and once there you have the option of walking back down or to continue along the hillside and loop back down Sunderland Street. Another option is to take a walk down Miners Lane to the Clutha Mata-au River.

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    • Location: Holloway Street, Clyde
  • Ross Creek Upper Reservoir - Dunedin

    There are lots of tracks around this region just north of the city centre and near Woodhaugh Gardens. The Upper Reservoir circuit is more suitable for buggies and involves a peaceful walk on a gravel path, following the reservoir. There are steep banks beside some of the tracks, so if you explore this area, please keep small children close to you.

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    • Location: Dunedin - nr George St, north Dunedin
  • Manawatu River Pathway - Palmerston North

    There are many access points to this biking and walking trail, which runs for over 9kms between Maxwells Line in the West to Riverside Drive in the East.  Take a break at the Victoria Esplanade along the middle section of the pathway to enjoy the  rose gardens, bird aviaries, BBQ facilities, playgrounds, miniature train rides and duck ponds.

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    • Location: Manawatu Riverside Walkway
      Palmerston North
  • Yarndley’s Bush - Waikato

    A short walk of about 30 minutes return will take you along a board-walked track and through 14 hectares of Kahikatea forest. There is a viewing tower half-way around the track where you can see the canopy layers within the bush.

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    • Location: off Ngaroto Road, off State Highway 3
  • Bowentown - Tauranga

    Bowentown, the headland at the southern end of Waihi Beach overlooks Tauranga Harbour. An eight kilometre white sandy beach stretches from Bowentown to Waihi Beach. At the southern end of Waihi Beach, just inside the harbour entrance, is Anzac Bay, a calm beach safe for swimming at all tides or exploring the rockpools and where there are changing rooms and toilets plus shady pohutukawas and barbecues.

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  • Queen Charlotte Walkway - Marlborough Sounds

    The whole track takes 3 – 5 days to complete, but there are plenty of places to enter and exit the track, making some fantastic half or full day walks. Anakiwa is right by the water ( and the one point you can drive in to - other places you will need a water taxi), with picnic spots and toilets. You can start the track here and either return by the same path or come out at Mistletoe Bay. A pleasant, undulating walk of around 4 hours, with a mix of high up, sea views, native bush and mature beeches. If you feel like a good uphill grunt, start from the Portage Hotel and make your way up to one of the track’s highest points – the Kenepuru Saddle, with breathtaking views of the surrounding Sounds. It takes around 45 minutes to reach the treeline and view points, although there are plenty of lookouts on the way.

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  • Taupo Bay - Mangonui

    White sand and clear waters makes Taupo Bay a popular spot for swimming, surfing or fishing. There sheltered beach is ideal for a family picnic and there are rock pools for the children to explore at low tide. There is a small shop in the nearby holiday park.

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  • Taupo - Lake Rotopounamu

    The Walking Places guide will take you along this easy track through stunning native forest which is home to abundant native bird life. The walk along a well formed track of about 5 kilometres, with a few hills, will take about two and a half hours. Lunch can be provided, along with pick up from your motel or hotel. See the website for further details.

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    • Location: Lake Rotoponamu
  • Mount Crichton Scenic Reserve - Queenstown

    If you walk the track clockwise you’ll follow the stream through native beech forest until you reach the relic of Sam Summer’s hut, believed to be over 70 years old. (It’s worth checking out the ‘historic site’ detour you’ll see just before the hut, taking you through an old tail race tunnel only 1 metre wide). The walk involves quite a climb, but the views down to Lake Dispute and Lake Wakatipu are rewarding.

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    • Location: Queenstown - take the Glenorchy Road from Queenstown. The Scenic Reserve, a goldmining area of last century, is signposted on your right after about 12km.
  • Devils Punchbowl Walking Track - Arthur's Pass

    Feel the full force and sound of fresh mountain water falling 131 m down one of New Zealand’s most stunning waterfalls. It's one of our best short walks. 2 km return via same track- 1 hr return. The track starts at the northern end of Arthur's Pass village, just off SH73 at the Punchbowl car park (signposted off the highway). From the start of the walk, follow the footbridge across the Bealey River. The next bridge, over Devils Punchbowl Creek, has a good view of the waterfall. From here, wander through lush beech forest with friendly fantails/pīwakawaka and tomtits before climbing 150 m up a series of steps to a viewing platform at the base of this spectacular waterfall. Return on the same track.

     

     

     

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    • Location: Northern end of Arthur's Pass village, just off SH73 at the Punchbowl car park
  • Port Chalmers Recreation Reserve - Dunedin

    Follow the Port Chalmers road alongside the harbour to this tiny seaside township. There are a number of pathways around the cemetery, providing good views of Careys Bay. For a great beach/picnic spot, follow the Blueskin Road by car, to the beach and river at Purakaunui. Fantastic swimming hole, and fun for kayaks.

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    • Location: Dunedin - Port Chalmers
  • Taupo -Tokaanu Thermal Area

    Just five minutes from Turangi is the village of Tokaanu. A short walk around the loop track on well formed paths and boardwalks allows you to see steaming hot mineral pools and bubbling mud pools. Take a picnic with you as there are areas for picnics and fishing. You can swim in the nearby Tokaanu Thermal pools at Mangaroa Street and there are often rainbow trout swimming in the cold Tokaanu stream which flows beside the thermal area. As with all thermal area, children should be supervised at all times.

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    • Location: Tokaanu Thermal Area, SH41, Lake Taupo
  • Naseby Forest Trails

    Naseby Forest is a privately owned working forest that will be closed from time to time for logging or if fire danger is high so check ahead. Grab a map from the information centre or local shop. Heaps of mountain bike trails for all levels, a great family friendly one follows the Mount Ida water race.

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    • Location: Forestry Rd
      Naseby 9396
  • Hauraki Rail Trail, Paeroa to Waikino

    This is a 2hr - 14km bike ride ( a section of the 160km 2-4 day trip). Ride through the historic and scenic Karangahake Gorge past gold mines and through the 1km long tunnel.

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    • Location: Paeroa
  • Matai Bay - Kari Kari Peninsula

    Two crescent shaped coves form beautiful Matai Bay. With its fine sand and safe swimming, it is a very popular beach for families and is a great place for a picnic.

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  • Napier - Marine Parade

    Whereever you're staying in Napier, you'll find yourself visiting Marine Parade. As well as a host of activities right on the waterfront (eg Aquarium, Mini Golf, Ocean Spa, Sk8 Park) there's a walkway that's completely flat, following the beach. Ideal for walking or biking, you can stroll for several kilometers south to the outskirts of town, or north towards Perfume Point, and Napier's best swimming beaches.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.