In March 2020, I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do the inaugural Trek for Life, a wonderful week long event that brings together a fabulous community of walkers, bikers, and horse trekkers to explore Aotearoa New Zealand
Looking at the photos on the information boards of what Franz Josef Glacier looked like 50 years ago, 20 years ago and today is a sad yet surreal moment. To see how much of the glacier has retreated/melted during that time and to know that within another 20 years (if that ) it will likely no longer exist made me incredibly glad I was able to see it now but also sad for those who would only see it through photos and videos in the future.
I think most people have seen the famous images of Punakaiki, or Pancake Rocks. These unique rock creations towering at the edge of the Tasman Sea are an incredible sight.
While this entire route is fill with incredible views, walks, lakes and ski fields, it can be tough to choose which one to do if you have limited time!
The Putangirua Pinnacles are incredible – in fact, they are so awe-inspiring that they were used as part of the scenery in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (please don’t ask me in what film or what location they were, I have no idea!)
Having spent almost half of my life living in Wellington, this was the first time I’d ever gone to Castlepoint and now I’m wondering what in the world took me so long to drive the 2.5 hours to this very cool place!
This was our first foray out into the bush for an overnight hut stay after nearly two months in lockdown.
The Pouakai Circuit is one of the best multi-day hikes I’ve ever done. The views are phenomenal. The huts are great. Sunrise from the Pouakai Tarn was stunning. The track is technical enough to be interesting. It’s not super full of people. The terrain varies greatly.
This is a popular walk, and for good reasons. It’s free, has stunning views, great picnic spots, has historical significance, and takes less than two hours to do! Cook’s Cove Walk is in Tolaga Bay, home of a famous wharf, and enormous ice creams from the dairy
If you like dogs you will ADORE this walk. It’s one of the few walks on DOC land I’ve come across where dogs are allowed and because of that there were so many cute puppies around every corner (disclaimer: every dog to me is a puppy whether they are a couple of months old or not!)
I first went to Morere Hot Springs when I was a kid. In the decades since I last visited, it has changed from childhood memories but it still has great hot pools, incredible bush, and is a wee slice of paradise in the middle of nowhere!
Want a waterfall you can wade out to, a meandering river, a bush walk, and then another waterfall you can admire from a quiet lookout? Have I got the place for you!
800 steps up. Sounds like a lot but it goes surprisingly quick and the view at the top is absolutely worth it.
White Pine Bush is home to Kahikatea, and not just any Kahikatea, but an 800 year old one! Thinking about the things has endured to still be here in our lifetime is pretty impressive.
A hut where you are guaranteed to have the whole place to yourself? Where you have to cross a river numerous times to get there? Where you don’t have to carry crockery or cooking equipment, leaving room for a bottle of wine in your bag? Sign me up!
This is by far the most popular walk in the New Zealand. Every international visitor seems to know about it and want to do it.
A walk on a predator free island (well, apart from humans), less than a hour’s drive from New Zealand’s capital city? A walk that starts and ends with a boat trip? The opportunity to see birdlife up close and personal?
I don’t know of many capital cities where you can drive 10 minutes from the city centre and see seals. And not just one seal, but heaps of seals, sunbathing themselves on rocks and generally just being rather adorable!
We lucked out big time with this walk – a few days before we were due to start walking the middle section of the track was closed due to snow. And two days after we came off that section it closed again due to bad weather.
This wasn’t a typical walk. It was a 50km mountain race around a volcano, that started and finished in darkness. I’d gone into it knowing that I’d already completed a 50km before (and that included running and walking, whereas this one was only walking), so mentally I knew I could do it.
The number one reason I like this walk is because it starts in the heart of the city, but within 30 minutes you can look around and not see any sign of people. That’s my kind of walk! The second reason is that it ends at the beach. And not just that, but a beach with seals!