You can have a pre and post-walk swim on this walk, as it starts and ends at a beautiful, calm, sandy beach – Whites Bay, near Blenheim. The loop track heads up into the hills, along the ridgeline and then back down to the beach, giving glorious views towards Blenheim and back up towards to the Marlborough Sounds.
The Whirinaki Track is a one way, 26km track, so it’s best to do it with two vehicles with one parking at the north end and the other at the south end. Those who park at the northern end have the slightly harder job with walking uphill (nothing too intense) and a longer first day. Those who start at the southern end have an easy job with an amble downhill, and a short first day. But it’s pretty neat being able to meet up at the hut in the middle (just make sure you remember to swap car keys at the hut!)
I’d heard a lot about the ‘walk with hot springs’ over the last few months, it seemed that nearly everyone I’d talked to had spent a night there over the summer. We waited until winter until we visited and it was well worth it to fully soak (pun intended) in the hot springs.
Last year I walked the inaugural Stage One of Trek for Life. This year was Stage Two as we continued our trek down the country, this year we started in Rawene, Hokianga and ended all the way down at Pouto. Approximately 200km of walking, much of it on the beach, spread over six days of walking.
I’m highly tempted to suggest that this is the most well-known walk in New Zealand, and the one that almost without fail will have people saying one of two things: either 1)” I’ve done that and absolutely adored it” and they will then tell you all about their experience or 2) “I so want to do that walk but I’ve never had the time/been able to book it.
While this hut was very cool, I will forever associate it with the natural hot pools on Spa Road in Taupō that we went to after doing an overnight trip to this hut – exactly what our bodies needed!
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.
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!)
This was our first foray out into the bush for an overnight hut stay after nearly two months in lockdown.
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
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
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.
Patuna Chasm has to be one of the best kept secret day walks in all of New Zealand. The fact it’s on private land and there is a entry fee involved probably accounts for that – but let me tell you that this walk is absolutely worth every dollar!
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?
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.