West Coast, Walks & Parks

  • Hokitika Gorge Walk

    Just a short 15 min walk takes you to excellent views of the blue-green waters of the Hokitika River as it makes its way through the rock sided Hokitika Gorge - this short, easy walk is a great option for kids. From the car park, follow the walking track for a few minutes through dense podocarp/hardwood forest before emerging onto a viewing platform. From here you can look down to the stunning Hokitika Gorge and out to the lush farmland of Kowhitirangi. This part of the track is accessible for wheelchairs. From the viewing platform, continue for another 6 minutes along the curving boardwalks and you will reach a swing bridge. From here there are excellent views of the blue-green waters of the Hokitika River as it makes its way through the rock sided Hokitika Gorge. For good views further up the gorge, cross the swing bridge and when you come to the end of it turn left (straight ahead leads to private farmland). The track continues for another 200 m through the bush to another viewing platform with looking out to the gorge upstream of the bridge.


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    • Location: Whitcombe Valley Rd, Hokitika Gorge, Kokatahi 7881
  • 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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  • 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
  • Ross Historic Goldfields walks

    Discover old gold mining relics or enjoy 360 degrees on these walks - there are short, interesting options suitable for children. From the Ross Historic Cemetery (10 min one way) w... read more

    • Location: Gay St, Ross 7812
  • Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier

    At Fox Glacier township, turn onto the Cook Flat road and drive for 5km, where you’ll see the turn off for Lake Matheson. The walk around Lake Matheson is best done at sunrise, and if the weather is clear and still, you will be rewarded with incredible reflections of Mount Cook. Any time of day, however, it’s a pleasant lakeside/ancient forest walk, with backdrop views of the Southern Alps, flanked by Aoraki/Mt Cook. Restaurant, toilets and carpark onsite.

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  • 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
  • Punakaiki Cavern

    Punakaiki Cavern. Take as long as you like to explore. Grab your torches and you can go way back into the depths. A wooden stairway gives access to 130 m of safe passages with a few stalactites and the odd glow worm. Plenty of fun for all ages, so long as a good torch (and preferably a spare) is carried. Access: Signposted beside the main road 500 m north of the visitor center at Punakaiki.

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    • Location: 4300 State Highway 6, 300 m north of the visitor center, Punakaiki 7873
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Jackson Bay Okahu walks

    Walks range from the 20 minutes - 2hrs. Wharekai-Te Kou Walk (20mins) an interesting walk from sheltered Jackson Bay to the rocky shore at Ocean Beach is great for kids. Read stori... read more

    • Location: Jackson Bay is 51 km south of Haast along the Haast-Jackson Bay Road.
  • Minnehaha Walk - Fox Glacier

    This delightful short walk (20mins) follows a stream through the rainforest - it's a great introduction to the forest for children with the added bonus of glow worms at night. It's suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. l short walk follows a small stream through the lush rainforest, and loops back to the start point via Te Weheka Walkway/Cycleway. Glow worms may be seen in the forest after dark - take a torch to find your way.


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    • Location: Haast Hwy, Fox Glacier 7886
  • Pancake Rocks and Blowholes - Punakaiki

    This is an easy walkway that circles the Pancake Rock formations. A viewing highlight are the blowholes – the Chimney is a favourite. These are narrow cracks or holes that run from the sea right up through the rock. When the waves rush in, the water funnels up these holes and spurts from the top like steam from a train. Best viewing time for this phenomenon is at high tide, and/or in rough weather. You can find out tide and weather conditions from Punakaiki information centre.

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  • Oparara Basin short walks

    These short, easy walks feature limestone arches, caves with critters and a tarn with reflections of the surrounding rainforest - plenty to keep kids interested. Crazy Paving Cave (10 min return) take a torch and follow a short bush track to the cave entrance. Be extra careful not to step off the track and not to step on any of the large spiders that live in the cave.The unusual floor pattern was created over long period of time from deposits of mud which have dried out forming paving patterns on the cave floor. Take a look at the ceiling – another example of nature’s art. Box Canyon Cave (10 min return) At the end of the main track, carefully descend the steps to the cave. Explore its blocky recesses in complete freedom and take a hard look at the ceiling for fossils - look but don’t touch. Cave dwellers such as weta, spiders, and bettles live in the darkness. Have a look at these interesting insects, but be careful not to disturb them. Mirror Tarn (30 min) a sign points along a bush track toward this secretive spot. A pool full of dark water reflects tall trees and rich birdsong fills the air. Here you are called on to joyfully reflect on the foresight of a local bushman who noted the rimu trees around the tarn had been tagged for felling and his successful argument to have the beauty preserved. Oparara Arch (25 min, one way) From the first car park a well-formed track leads up the Oparara riverbank, through beech and podocarp forest and past limestone outcrops. The arch is 219 metres long with sides 79 metres apart and a roof 43 metres above the river that carved the impressive feature.

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    • Location: 11km north of Karamea on the road to Kohaihai. Then 12km to the arches car park and another 3km to the caves car park. Kahurangi National Park 7073
  • Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall - Arthur's Pass

    Just outside of the Arthurs Pass village (on the West Coast side) are a number of reasonably short and easy walks, including the half hour track to the Devils Punchbowl Falls. A large bridge first takes you over the rocky river before the path winds up through the bush. The track is easy to follow and in good repair. Rocky in parts, some care needs to be taken as you clamber over tree roots, but much of the track has been set with board walk and steps. The bush scenery is lush and stunning, and as you arrive at the falls, a viewing platform gives you a good view of the Devil’s Punchbowl.

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  • Pororari River Track

    This track ( 1hr, 3.5 km) follows a spectacular limestone gorge with two main features - a river with huge rocks in deep pools, and beautiful forest featuring subtle changes from sub-tropical to temperate. A 15 minute gentle stroll from the car park brings you to a seat and a lookout, with spectacular views of the river gorge with its magnificent limestone cliffs. From this point on, the track narrows and the gradients become a little steeper as the track continues for another 2.5km until it meets the Inland Pack Track. Five minutes beyond this junction the track leads to the riverbed, an ideal place for a rest before retracing your steps back to the car park. Access: From the carpark by the Pororari River bridge, 1km north of the Visitor Centre on SH6.

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    • Location: 4300 State Highway 6, North of Punakaiki, 7873
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Our favourite destinations…


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 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.


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.


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 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!


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.