South Canterbury, Walks & Parks

  • Lake Tekapo Walkway - Tekapo

    This mostly flat walk will give you amazing views of the lake and the mountains. Start on the east end of the lake. Information along the walk will fill you in on highlights and history.


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    • Location: Lake Tekapo
  • Peel Forest Park Scenic Reserve

    Peel Forest is located in the foothills of the Southern Alps; turn off SH 72, about 12 km north of Geraldine. Once at the forest, a wide variety of short and long tracks extend into the park but for littlies choose the beginning of the Big Tree Walk, which is suitable for prams and wheelchairs.Explore the largest reserve in the Geraldine area on a variety of tracks. Base yourself at the campsite and take your time.

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    • Location: Peel Forest is accessed from Rangitata Gorge Road and from Blandswood Road.
  • Centennial Park - Timaru

    Also known as Scenic Reserve, this park was the site of several basalt rock quarries. The park offers mountain biking, BMX, walking and jogging. There is a lake that is used for feeding the ducks, fishing and kayaking 

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    • Location: Claremont Road, Timaru, New Zealand
  • Moeraki Boulders - Oamaru

    An unique beach experience as the beach is filled with massive round boulders - some which are split open to expose the layers beneath. A fun natural playground to explore and have a wander. It's a short walk down to the beach with parking at the cafe.

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    • Location: Moeraki Village, Oamaru, New Zealand
  • 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
  • Caroline Bay Park - Timaru

    A beautiful parkland that offers playgrounds, waterplay areas, boardwalks and pathways.

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    • Location: Timaru Port, Timaru 7910
  • 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
  • Pukaki Kettle Hole Track

    This walk starts 11 km north of Twizel township, after the Pukaki River spillway. It is signposted off the eastern side of SH 8 and there is a designated car park area. Older children (4–5 years plus) will enjoy this walk and won’t be able to resist running down into the kettlehole. Younger children will need to be carried in a backpack. The walk itself is flat and passes old glacial boulders and eventually circles a kettlehole, which is a large depression in the ground (formed thousands of years ago by glacial ice melt). Note: No shade or toilet facilities.

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    • Location: Lake Pukaki Terminal Moraine Conservation Area, Southern End Lake Pukaki.
  • Mt. John Summit Circuit Track - Tekapo

    The start of this track is located next to the Tekapo Springs complex. The track rises steadily up through exotic forest and then open tussock hill slopes. Mt John is fantastic viewing platform with a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding mountains, lakes and Mackenzie Basin flats. The Mt John Observatory and cafe are at the top.

    It is possible to drive to the top of Mt John and walk the Summit Circuit Track (30 - 45 min).

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    • Location: Mount John Observatory
  • Governors Bush Walk - Mount Cook

    A pleasant bush walk, which joins with Bowen Bush Walk to form a nature trail and explores one of the few stands of silver beech/tawai forest in the park.

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    • Location: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
  • Timaru Botanic Garden - Timaru

    One of the oldest Botanic Gardens. The species roses in the Timaru Botanic Garden have received national recognition. Highlights include the Graeme Paterson Conservatory, ponds and threatened plant collections.

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    • Location: Corner of King and Queen Street, Timaru
  • Oamaru Gardens - Oamaru

    Children's playground, paddle pool, an aviary - with the popular resident Jimmy the cockatiel, flower gardens, and walking paths make this an ideal destination to relax, go for a walk or have a picnic.

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    • Location: Chelmer Street, Oamaru, New Zealand
  • Cowans Hill Walkway - Tekapo

    Walk from Tekapo township to the start of the track near the Tekapo Road Bridge, otherwise park your vehicle in the car park off SH8 near Hamilton Drive. The track passes through exotic forest, open tussock country and past small tarns where wetland birds may stop to feed.

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    • Location: Hamilton Drive and SH8
  • Clay Cliffs

    The kids will love walking to explore these staggering natural land forms; sharp pinnacles and ridges separated by narrow ravines. The Clay Cliffs are a geological wonder; sharp pinnacles and ridges separated by steep and narrow ravines. The Cliffs are relatively new, made up of layers of silt and gravel deposited by ancient glaciers over a million years ago. To get to the Clay Cliffs, turn onto Quailburn Rd off SH8 and then onto unsealed Henburn Rd. The cliffs are on private land, so please respect the property and obey all signage. Park a bit further back and make it more of walk.

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    • Location: Quailburn Rd off SH8, Nr Omarama
  • 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
  • Arthur’s Pass Walking Track

    Experience the best of Arthur’s Pass's diverse alpine vegetation, waterfalls, wetlands, rich history and stunning mountain views on this walk.  2 h 40 min (6.8 km) return via same ... read more

    • Location: Start at the Punchbowl, Bealey Chasm (Jacks Hut) or Temple Basin car parks.
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…


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.