Blue Pools Walk, Haast Pass.

Get outdoors: 14 must-do short walks


1. Mount Manaia Track, Northland

How long will it take? This is a 3.5km, two to three-hour return walk.

A steady climb through regenerating native bush to the summit of Mount Manaia rewards you with breathtaking views of the dramatic entrance to Whangārei Harbour.


  • One of the most dramatic harbour entrances in New Zealand
  • Spectacular view from the Bluff lookout to Bream Head and the Hen and Chicken Islands

2. Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway, Northland

How long will it take? This is a 5km, two to three-hour return walk.

The rugged beauty of New Zealand’s coast unfolds with panoramic views offering spectacular photo opportunities along this walk from the shoreline to the clifftops.


  • Unique rock formations
  • Opportunity to see passing whales and schools of sharks

3. Rangitoto Summit Track, Auckland

How long will it take? This is a 7km, two-hour return walk.

An easy climb through pōhutukawa forest and lava fields gives way to panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit of this volcanic island.


  • Well-formed paths through lava fields
  • World's largest pōhutukawa forest to the peak at 259 m above sea level
  • In the 1920s and 1930s, prisoners built 19 km of hand-packed tracks and roads
  • Bach 39 Museum at Rangitoto Wharf, open by appointment

4. Cathedral Cove Walk, Coromandel

How long will it take? This is a 2.5km, one hour 30-minute return walk.

Stunning views of the Coromandel coast guide you on this well maintained/well-marked walk to the dramatic cliffs and iconic rock archway of Cathedral Cove.


  • Distinctive coastal landform features with dramatic cliffs and archway
  • Take a guided boat/kayak tour to see the amazing views and hear rich commentary about historical, cultural and ecological significance of the area. The tour includes the Te Whanganui-A-Hei marine reserve.

5. Wainui Falls Track, Nelson Tasman

How long will it take? This is a 3.4km, one hour 20-minute return walk.

A short walk through lush native bush leads to the cascading Wainui Falls, the largest and most accessible falls in Golden Bay.


  • Giant snail (Powelliphanta)
  • Wainui Falls

6. Charming Creek Walkway, West Coast

How long will it take? This is a 9.5km, two to three-hour walk, one way.

Scenery and history combine in this walk along a historic bush tramway, with spectacular vistas up and down the Ngākawau Gorge, alongside an unfolding view of the Mangatini Falls.


  • Mangatini Falls
  • Views of Upper Ngākawau Gorge
  • Remnants of sawmilling and mining history

7. Cape Foulwind Walkway, West Coast

How long will it take? This is a 3.4km, one hour 15-minute walk, one way.

A seal colony, a lighthouse and panoramic views of mountains and coastline feature on this spectacular coastal walkway.


  • New Zealand fur seal/kekeno breeding colony, panoramic views of mountains and coastline
  • Cape Foulwind lighthouse

Seals at Cape Foulwind #capefoulwind #sealfamily #seals

A post shared by Travola Speculoos (@travola_) on Oct 28, 2017 at 7:10pm PDT

8. Devils Punchbowl Walking Track, Canterbury

How long will it take? This is a 2km, one-hour return walk.

Feel the full force and sound of fresh mountain water falling 131m down one of New Zealand's most stunning waterfalls.


  • Spectacular waterfall
  • Lush beech forest

9. Kura Tāwhiti Access Track, Canterbury

How long will it take? This is a 1.4km, 20-minute return walk to the natural rock formations.

Wander through majestic limestone rock formations and reflect on the significance of Kura Tāwhiti to Ngāi Tahu as the treasure from a distant land.


  • Distinctive limestone rock formations
  • Castle Hill buttercup

#castlehill #newzealand #kuratawhiti #nature #limestone

A post shared by Matthias Gredler (@matthias.gredler) on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:20am PST

10. Lake Matheson/Te Ara Kairaumati Walk, West Coast

How long will it take? This is a 2.6km, one hour 30-minute loop walk.

A gentle walk through native forest leads to the picturesque shore of Lake Matheson, with Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman brilliantly reflected in its still waters.


  • Reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook on the lake

11. Fox Glacier/Te Ara o Tuawe Valley Walk, West Coast

How long will it take? This is a 2.6km, one-hour return walk.

Get spectacular views of Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe on this short, easy walk that's suitable for children – kids can earn a Kiwi Guardians medal here too!


  • Views of the impressive glacier

12. Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier View, Canterbury

How long will it take? This is a 2.7km, 40-minute return walk.

A short walk that rewards with views of the dramatic alpine landscape, icebergs floating on the glacier lake and New Zealand's longest glacier, the mighty Haupapa/Tasman Glacier.


  • The 27km Tasman glacier is the longest in New Zealand
  • The rifleman, New Zealand's smallest bird

13. Blue Pools Track, Southern Lakes

How long will it take? This is a 1.5km, one-hour return walk.

Nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, these pools of deep, clear water flowing into the Makarora River offer a moment of tranquillity.


  • Views up the river gorge
  • Listen for the yellowhead/mohua

14. Lake Gunn Nature Walk, Fiordland

How long will it take? This is a 1.4km, 45-minute loop walk.

Experience wild Fiordland as you wander through red beech forest, enjoying glimpses of the birdlife of the Eglinton valley, Lake Gunn and the surrounding mountains.


  • Majestic landscape of the Divide of the Southern Alps

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A post shared by AWESOME GLOBE (@awesomeglobe) on Oct 4, 2017 at 3:00am PDT

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Things to do

Tiritiri Matangi Island short walks

Enjoy a magical cacophony of native birdsong on these short walks, as well as stunning views of the surrounding islands. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Aoraki Mount Cook Village walks

There are several fantastic walks around the village that provide views of Aoraki Mount Cook and the surrounding native alpine bush. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Tasman Glacier walking tracks

The Tasman Glacier, 29km long and up to 3km wide, can be viewed from the short walks that start at the Blue Lakes Shelter. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Karangahake Windows Walk

This spectacular walk passes relics of the Talisman and Crown mining operations in Karangahake Gorge. Take a torch for exploring the goldmining tunnels and the underground pumphouse side trip. Read the story . . . 

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