The Land of the Long White Cloud is a destination with plenty of opportunities to get your walking boots on. This is our guide to New Zealand’s top short bushwalks.
With its native forests, glaciers, sounds and coastal walkways, you are sure to find different walks of varying lengths and fitness abilities. These can be independent or guided walks. Here is a snapshot of just some of those walks to help you on your way.
Rangitoto Summit Track: 2 hours, 7kms
After a short ferry ride across Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, you arrive at Rangitoto Island. The island is a dormant volcano surrounded by the world’s largest Pohutukawa forest. The Pohutukawa is also known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.
You begin your summit walk at the Rangitoto Wharf, climbing over lava fields and through the forest. After reaching the summit you can experience 360-degree panoramic views across the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland Harbour. Check out our guide to Auckland restaurants to make the most of your stay in the City of Sails.
Cathedral Cove Walk: 1.5 hours, 2.5km
Hahei is a coastal village along the spectacular Coromandel coastline, 35 kilometres from Whitianga. From here you can walk to the iconic rock arch along the beach known famously as Cathedral Cove.
Leaving from Hahei, follow the well-graded track bordering the headlands to Cathedral Cove. Along the way, you can venture off on some side tracks to explore Gemstone and Stingray Bays. These loops around and rejoin the main track. As you walk through scrubland and pine forest, you will descend to the beach where you can walk under the rock arch.
Lake Matheson Walk: 1.5 hours, 2.6km
On the South Island near Fox Glacier on the West Coast, you will find the peaceful Lake Matheson walk. Known for its mirror-like reflections in the lake from various angles, even showcases the reflections of Mount Cook which stands high in the background.
A track leads you over a suspension bridge and around the lakeside. The ideal times to do this walk is early in the morning or on dusk when the waters are at their calmest providing that ultimate mirror photo opportunity.
Rob Roy Glacier Track: 3-4 hours, 10km
One hour from Wanaka, you will find Mount Rob Roy. This walk is more of a short hike than the walks above and takes you to active glaciers. Located in the Mount Aspiring National Park, this walk showcases amazing glaciers, river valleys, alpine lakes and mountains soaring above.
Enjoy waterfalls cascading down through ferns and over moss as you follow the Rob Roy stream through the beech forest. You can also view active glaciers and at times witness pieces of the glacier breaking off.
Milford Encounter Day Guided Walk: 5.5 hours, 10kms
This guided full day walk runs daily from November through to mid-April from Queenstown or Te Anau and is one of the many ways to spend some of your free time in Queenstown.
Starting with a short journey along the shores of Lake Te Anau to the Te Anau Downs boat harbour, you will then cruise for an hour to the spectacular northern end of the lake.
After disembarking at the start of the track you will walk 1.6km to historic Glade House, one of the original Milford Track lodges, dating back to the 1890’s. From here the track follows the Clinton River as it meanders through rich beech forest for a further 3.2km.
Your guide will point out the birdlife and unique aspects of the valley, then take you off the track to show you a few places you might otherwise miss.
Your Next Adventure Awaits
We hope that our guide to some of New Zealand’s top short bushwalks helps you to plan your free time on your Kirra Tour. Choose your tour here.