Walks & Parks

  • Cairnmuir Track - Cromwell

    The Cairnmuir track follows the range of the same name and runs from Cromwell to Clyde on the south side of the Cromwell Gorge. Because of its central location it has 360 degree views and on a clear day mountain peaks many kilometers away may be seen. There is a 6km (2.5hr) walk which provides wonderful views of the Cromwell area and the mountain ranges beyond. The track starts at the Conservation Department sign on Cornish Point Road, reached by turning into Cairnmuir Road just over the Bannockburn Bridge. This is vineyard territory and there are options to stop and enjoy food and wine along the way before or after your walk.
    The track winds steeply up the hill and when a small saddle is reached, goes through the gate up the main ridge on an old four wheel drive track. There are markers to guide you the whole way. This is an arid landscape with wild thyme predominating in many places. 3 km up this track, just before a small descent, there is a good place to stop, soak in the view, have a bite to eat, and then return the way you came. All the way down the views are spectacular and combined with the fragrance of thyme this is a memorable Central Otago walk.

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    • Location: Cairnmuir Road, just over the Bannockburn Bridge, Near Cromwell
  • Cape Foulwind Walkway - Westport

    The seal colony is situated at Tauranga Bay 16 kilometres south of Westport. This is a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals. The seals can be easily viewed at the end of an upgraded 10 minute track. Occasionally seals will climb the cliff and sit either on or near the walkway - please ensure you give them space as seals are wild creatures and should not be approached.

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  • Victoria Park

    This park is located within the central business district and has large, grassed playing fields, a skate park and a children’s playground. Toilets and drinking fountains are available and at the weekends and during school and public holidays there is live entertainment at the Victoria Park Market which has more than 85 shops, cafes and restaurants and sells arts and crafts, souvenirs, fashion and sportswear.

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    • Location: 203-271 Victoria Street, Auckland Central
  • Ship Creek - Haast

    A coastal walkway taking in sweeping beach views, Ship Creek and views of New Zealand’s tallest tree, the Kahikatea. Carpark and picnic area with toilets are just off the main road. The name `Ship Creek’ has its origins in 1871 when a large fragment of a ship (of unusual wood construction never seen before in New Zealand) was discovered at the mouth of Tauperikaka Creek. Fragments of a ship were again found four years later. When pieced together, the wreckage suggested the bows of a stylish sailing ship. Additional hull pieces were seen in 1920. Then, in 1973, the remaining wreckage of the ship was found by divers – off the south-western coast of Victoria, Australia! The ship was identified (and confirmed by shipbuilders in Aberdeen Scotland) as Schomberg of the Black Ball line, wrecked on December 26, 1855 near the end of its maiden voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne. It was an unspectacular wreck, on the southern tip of Australia, from which over 300 passengers stepped safely ashore. More remarkable was that fragments of the ship were able to drift 2000 kilometres and wash up on a desolate New Zealand beach.

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  • Kea Point Track - Mount Cook

    Located in the Aoraki/Mount Cook village this walk winds it's way through subalpine grasslands and scrub to the Mueller Glacier moraine wall. It's a 1 hour return if you start from the Whitehorse campground and carpark, or 2hrs if you start from the village. It's an out and back that ends with stunning views of Mount Cook.

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    • Location: Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), New Zealand
  • Lake Kaniere Short Walks

    These short (2-15min)  forest walks lead to picnic areas, waterfalls and sandy beaches ideal for swimming - plenty to keep kids interested.  The beach at the end of Canoe Cove Walk and Dorothy Falls are spots for swimming. Dorothy Falls is refreshing but a little chilly!

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    • Location: Dorothy Falls Rd, Kokatahi 7881
  • Observation Rock - Stewart Island

    From the DOC Visitor Centre turn right towards the waterfront, continue right until you reach Excelsior Road on your right. Excelsior Road is an uphill climb, watch for the Observation Rock track sign on your right at the summit of the hill, a short forest track leads you to the rock forming the lookout, with great views over Paterson Inlet, particularly at sunset. To return to Halfmoon Bay retrace steps to the road and continue right, down the hill towards Golden Bay Road. A right hand turn will bring you back to town past Traill Park. Look out for Tui, with the distinctive white feather, or ruff, below its beak.

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    • Location: Stewart Island, off Excelsior Road
  • Lake Outlet Track - Wanaka

    This scenic leisurely walk follows the Clutha River from Wanaka to Albert Town. You can park at the town end of Penrith Beach and walk from here, or access the Outlet carpark via the Outlet Motor Camp along Anderson road. Great for biking.

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    • Location: Wanaka - park at the town end of Penrith Beach and walk from here, or access the Outlet carpark via the Outlet Motor Camp along Anderson road.
  • Oriental Bay

    This is one of Wellington’s most popular beaches. Close to the city centre it has excellent facilities including cafes and shops nearby. The bay is secluded and suitable for swimming or walking along the main promenade area.

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    • Location: Oriental Parade, Wellington
  • Halswell Quarry Park

    A unique, 55 hectare family-orientated park on the outskirts of Christchurch. The disused quarry makes for an interesting (and fenced off) stroll, with its striking amphitheatre of steep, jagged rock walls. There’s plenty of grassy spots and picnic areas to spread out and play, plus loads of walking and bike tracks that wander through woods and orchards. Take a walk through the ‘sister-city’ gardens, with Korean statues and bridges. Toilets and water on-site. To get there from Halswell, take Kennedys Bush Road south toward the hills. A marked turnoff at the base of the foothills leads into the park. A lake on the left is surrounded by the new plantings of the Sister Cities' Gardens, and on the right, the abandoned buildings of the quarry are visible.

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    • Location: Christchurch - Halswell
  • Kai Iwi Beach - Whanganui

    Patrolled during the summer you can swim, fish, laze in the sun, go for long walks and pick through the driftwood. Kai Iwi Beach also has a playground, with a flying fox over a stream and pirate climbing ship.

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    • Location: Kai Iwi 4574
  • Ohope Beach - Nr Whakatane

    A few kilometers from Whakatane, this beach is one of the safest surf beaches in the country, with 11 kilometres of white sand perfect for walking at low tide. Swimming is safe between the flags at Ohope beach and lifeguards are stationed at Mahy reserve at the bottom of Ohope hill and also along the beach near the camping ground at Port Ohope. Mahy reserve is a great place for picnics, with electric barbecues, tables, playground facilities and parking.

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    • Location: West of Whakatane
  • Mangawhai Estuary - South of Waipu

    The dunes which border this estuary are constantly changing. The estuary is safe for swimming but you need to be careful of the outgoing tide near the mouth of the harbour. Kids will enjoy collecting cockles and pipi further up the harbour.

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    • Location: 36 km north of Wellsford, South of Waipu
  • Drift Bay Picnic Area - Queenstown

    Kingston/Milford Sound Road, only a few kilometres from Frankton just after the Lakeside Estate turn off. Either picnic near your car or take a 10 minute walk down to a lovely secluded beach spot with table. Ideal getaway for relaxing, fishing or bathing. There’s also a very easy 1 hour return walk from this spot following the beach round to Drift Bay.

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    • Location: Queenstown - Kingston Highway (State Hgwy 6), Right hand side, just after the Lakeland Estate development.
  • Otago Rail Trail - Highlights

    A flat easy walk/bike that you can jump into a section of we recommend the Auripo to Lauder (10.5 km) section. Start at the old Auripo Road Station site – and you can easily walk or cycle through one of the Trail’s special highlights, the Poolburn Gorge. The Trail here is flat or gently downhill – the Poolburn Viaduct, two tunnels, a secluded gorge where you can have a picnic lunch – or you can go for a swim at the longest bridge on the Trail (Manuherikia Bridge) near Lauder. Another option is to start at Lauder, cycle up through the Poolburn Gorge to the Viaduct and return to Lauder.

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    • Location: Lauder, 27km from Alexandra via State Highway 85
  • Hawkes Bay - Lake Tutira

    Forty kilometers north of Napier is Lake Tutira. The area surrounding this lake is a bird sanctuary and makes a wonderful picnic and camping spot. There are toilet facilities and a free campsite with fresh water and barbecue facilities. The Tutira walkway is steep and not suitable for young children or pushchairs (the round trip takes about five hours!), but there is good swimming in this very pretty lake and trout fishing in the lake’s northern reaches.

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    • Location: Between Napier and Wairoa
  • Fox Glacier Valley Walk - Fox Glacier

    South of Fox Glacier township. Turn left before the bridge if you’re heading south or right after the bridge if you’re heading north towards the township. There’s ample carparking and if you don’t want to walk, a short stroll from your car will bring you to viewpoints of the Fox Glacier terminal. Otherwise there is an open and well-marked path that takes you very close to the face of the Glacier. Keep young children close as the path is uneven and rocky in parts, and there are a couple of stream crossings.

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  • Andersons Park - Invercargill

    Anderson Park surrounds the Anderson Park Art Gallery and covers 24 hectares of flower and rose gardens, immaculate lawn, tall trees and native bush. There is also a traditional carved Maori house, a short bush walk circuit, duck pond and childrens playground. The Andersons' elegant home now houses the Anderson Park Art Gallery Society's splendid collection of quality New Zealand art. Situated on McIvor Road, Invercargill.

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    • Location: Invercargill - Andersons Park, McIvor Road
  • Cave Stream Scenic Reserve

    This really is a hidden gem, and an adventure activity with older children that is FREE!  You can opt for either the above ground 30 minutes return for each track, or add the cave walk through water if the conditions are right. The reserve is well signposted off SH 73 between the Broken River road bridge and Craigieburn Forest Park entrance. Two short, but steep tracks lead from the reserve car park to the cave entrances. You will need to help or carry little ones in a child carrier pack. The easier track to the upstream entrance goes through a karst (limestone) landscape of sculptured rock formations. The other track leads to the edge of a terrace and then drops steeply down to the junction of Cave Stream and Broken River. The limestone formations nearby were the settings for the filming of The Chronicles of Narnia. The 600-metre cave walk itself is not suitable for little children, but is a great adventure for older families that are well prepared, with torches, warm gear and plenty of dry clothes to change into. A separate brochure describes the cave adventure. Note: Do not attempt to enter the cave if the stream is high, with the water discoloured or foaming.

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    • Location: Castle Hill 7580, SH73 between the Broken River road bridge and Craigieburn Forest Park entrance.
  • Rakaia Gorge Walkway - Methven

    This easy 10.4 km return track follows the gorge and the Rakaia River. It through some spectacular geological areas of lava flows and glacial and river carved terraces. Please note this walkway does cross private land - please respect the landowners by staying on the track and not disturbing the stock. 

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    • Location: State Highway 72
  • Hawkes Bay - Te Angiangi Marine Reserve -

    The Te Angiangi Marine Reserve was established in 1997 and covers an area of about 446 hectares between Blackhead and Aramoana beaches. The reserve, which protects this part of the coast, offers opportunities for swimming, walking, shore diving and boating. Between Blackhead and Paoanui Point at low tide birds like kingfishers, oyster catchers and godwits can be seen. Explore the rock pools to find fish, crabs and kina (but return any rocks to their original position) or snorkel in the sheltered waters of Stingray or Shelly Bays and discover reef animals like paua, opal shells and rock lobsters.

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    • Location: Central Hawkes Bay,30 km east of Waipukurau and Waipawa
  • Taupo - Whakamoenga Walking Track

    A walk of around one hour will take you along an easy graded track from the Rangatira Point Track through the bush around to Whakamoenga Point. There are good views across the lake from many points along the walkway.

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    • Location: Rangatira Point
  • Nelson Creek, Grey Valley - Greymouth

    On State Highway 7, going inland from Greymouth, there’s a turnoff to Nelson Creek Recreation Reserve between Stillwater and Ahaura. There is a carpark and camping available, and a number of short bush tracks exploring the site of the 1865 Nelson Creek goldrush. Sluicing and dredging continued until 1900. Evidence of tailraces, tunnels, tailings, and a water race remain and the historic Colls Dam can be visited. Other features include a swing bridge and ancient beech forest.

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  • Tokerau Beach - KariKari Peninsula

    The longest beach on the Whatuwhiwhi Peninsula at 18 km long. Good for surf casting and digging for shellfish.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Queenstown
  • South Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Southland
  • Taupo
  • Wanaka
  • Waikato
  • Wellington
  • 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

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.