Walks & Parks

  • Kura Täwhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area

     Kura Täwhiti is an ideal place for exploring and picnicking, with many informal trails running around and between the spectacular limestone rock formations. Allow plenty of time to explore. Located beside SH 73, about 80 minutes from Christchurch, the short walk into the reserve ( 10 mins) is across private paddocks.

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  • 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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  • Langs Beach - Waipu Cove

    Four kilometers south of Waipu Cove, Pohutukawa trees grow along the edge of this beach which is safe for family swimming or surfing and has views of offshore islands. There are toilets and a change shed near the car park.

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    • Location: Bream Bay, South of Waipu Cove, off SH1
  • 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
  • Tirohanga Walkway - Picton

    This is a good walk over the hill and should take about 2¼ hours as a round trip (including about half an hour of fairly easy uphill) plus photo snapping time. The view from the Lookout is excellent over the whole of Picton and Waikawa Bay. I would recommend that you start at the Newgate St end as the track is quite steep in places on the Garden Terrace side. The track levels off at a 360 degree viewpoint, then descends via the Esson’s Valley.

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  • Hemi Matenga Memorial Park Scenic Reserve

    This 330 hectare native forest overlooks Waikanae and is one of the largest remaining areas of protected kohekohe forest. The main entrance to Hemi Matenga Scenic Reserve is at Tui Crescent, where there is a small parking area by a reservoir.

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  • Rotorua - Hamurana Reserve

    On the northern side of Lake Rotorua, Hamurana reserve has a freshwater spring and its huge trout make it very popular for shoreline fishing. The lake waters are shallow and provide safe swimming for children. There are picnic tables and a BBQ, a playground to keep the children amused and toilets.

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    • Location: Hamurana Road, Rotorua
  • Otarawairere Beach - Nr Whakatane

    Otarawairere Bay is located between Whakatane and Ohope and is only accessible by walking from either West End, Ohope or Whakatene. The short walk (which is part of the Kohi Point walkway) over the hill from Ohope will take about 20 minutes and is suitable for any fitness level. However, if you want a longer walk take the Walking Track from Whakatane which will take you about one and a half hours. The beaches at Orarawairere are secluded and feature sheltered waters, rock pools and shells.

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    • Location: Between Whakatane and Ohope
  • 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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  • Stirling Point - Bluff

    If you’ve got this far, it’s a must to visit the southernmost point on NZ’s mainland – Stirling Point. It’s marked by a signpost telling you just how far you are from most of the world’s major cities. There are toilets and a restaurant/café at Stirling Point. Foveaux Walkway 50 minutes return. The coastal track from Stirling Point to Lookout Point has a gravelled and well-compacted surface, which can be used by buggies, although it is uneven in places. Glory Track a 50 minute round trip from Stirling Point, follows the track up the hill behind the restaurant. At the top of the hill you can see gunneries, and then continue walking from the Gunpit entrance around to Stirling Point.

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    • Location: Bluff - Stirling Point
  • Queenstown Hill

    Set off from top of Belfast Terrace and climb steadily through the forest. You’ll go through an iron gateway that marks the start of the Queenstown Millennium Time Walk. This takes you through the varied history of Queenstown via a series of Story Panels as you climb. Amazing views over the basin from the top of the Hill.

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    • Location: Queenstown - Set off from top of Belfast Terrace and climb steadily through the forest.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Te Anau Lakefront Walk - Control Gates

    A beautiful lakeside walk that takes you to the Lake te Anau Control Gates and the start of the famous Kepler Track. You walk past the Visitor Information Centre and through the grounds of Te Anau Wildlife Centre - this is the ideal setting to learn about some of Fiordland's wildlife. The centre offers the chance to see NZ native birds including the colourful and rare flightless Takahe. There is no entry fee but donations are appreciated. The path continues alongside the lake and is completely flat.

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    • Location: Te Anau - from towncentre lakefront, head to the left, keeping Lake Te Anau on your right.
  • Tobins Track - Arrowtown

    Start off on the Otago track but cross the first bridge and follow the Tobins Track up to a fantastic viewpoint over Arrowtown and the Crown Terraces. The track itself is perfect for buggies but whether you want to push one up this quite steep climb for an hour is another matter!

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    • Location: Arrowtown - Start off on the Otago track but cross the first bridge and follow the Tobins Track
  • Chisholm Park - Dunedin

    Follow the beach region out towards the Dunedin golf course. From here you can walk a gravel track through the golf course and on towards Lawyers Head with its spectacular sea views, or Tomahawk beach – a beautiful, secluded spot. Suitable for buggies, but there are sheer cliffs near Lawyers Head.

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    • Location: Dunedin - nr St Kilda Beach, South Dunedin
  • 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
  • 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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  • St Clair to St Kilda - Dunedin

    A visit to the beach is a must in Dunedin, and the most popular beaches are just a few minutes drive from the city centre! Head out to St Clair – it’s a great surf beach and also lots of fun for a splash around – there are surf life savers on guard in the main area. At one end of St Clair are the newly renovated hot salt water pools (open October to March). They are a great location, perched on the rocks, overlooking the surf and allow the kids to swim and play away from the surf, but still on the beach. There’s a new paddling pool at one end, for the littlies. St Clair is also the stop for beach dining, snacks or icecreams. Walk along the beach and past the hot pools to follow a cliffside track. You can take a 20 minute stroll around the cliffs to Second Beach and follow the same path back again. Toilets at St Clair playground. Otherwise the beach stretches as far as the distant Lawyers Head, so grab the kids and take a stroll either along the water’s edge or following the beach side track in the sand dunes, towards St Kilda’s beach and Marlow Park. Seals can sometimes be spotted basking on the sand. They can get agitated and should not be approached.

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    • Location: Dunedin - St Clair and St Kilda beaches, South Dunedin
  • Rotorua - Hamurana Springs Track

    This easy walk will take you about twenty minutes one way and is a 15 to 20 minute drive from Rotorua central. Hamurana is famous for its beautiful crystal clear fresh water spring and surrounding the area is a variety of bird life. There are peaceful spots for a picnic after your walk.

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  • Lake Hayes Recreation Area - Queenstown

    Consists of sandy beach, warm shallows, lots of space and toilets. Great spot to picnic and relax on a sunny day - lots of shade. Pontoon and good swimming and kayaking.

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    • Location: Queenstown - 15km from Queenstown - leave town via Frankton. Lake Hayes is on your left. Turn left at the turn off for Arrowtown - the best picnic area is signposted 2km along the Arrowtown road at the head of the lake.
  • Rotorua - Kuirau Park

    This informal park of about 30 hectares is only about five minutes walk to the city centre and has playing fields, a refreshment kiosk, a fountain, a miniature steam railway and children’s play area. You can see boiling mud pools and hot steaming crater lakes in the park and the large garden area has an ornamental lake and geothermally heated foot pools where you can soak your tired feet! A walk throughout the park will take about 40 minutes.

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    • Location: Ranolf Street, Rotorua
  • Omana Regional Park

    An ideal place to take the family for a day out. Set in 40 hectares of open farm land, forest, cliff tops and rocky sea shore, there are family walks and a safe swimming beach, rock pools and even pet animals to feed. With large grass areas, plenty of barbecue and picnic sites and a children’s playground, there is plenty to do at Omana Regional Park to keep the children happy.

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    • Location: 40 minutes from downtown Auckland on the Whitford Maraetai Road
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

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.