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 (seriously, their single scoop icecreams were double scoops!)
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!
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.
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. Which is completely understandable as there is no way I'd want to be on top of those ridgelines in windy and/or snowy conditions!
If you like stairs, you'll really like this walk. There are lots of them. And they are perched on hillsides where if you slip, there is nothing to stop you until you hit the ground far below. So my hint for this walk? Take it slow going up and down the many, many stairs.
On the first sunny Saturday in December, I expected the Shine Falls track to be full of families trekking their way down to the falls for a swim - this walk is along a relatively flat track, safe, and with barely any uphill. Hence, you could imagine my surprise when we made it all 2km to the falls without passing another person!
If you're afraid of heights, cliffs, rocks, or being out of cellphone coverage - stay away from this walk. If those four things excite you greatly, then this walk is for you. Well, at least until the fun police turn up and fence everything off.
Mt Kaukau - the big mountain in Wellington with the giant transmitter on top. It' s the one place that you can see from pretty much anywhere in Wellington, and one of the places that makes most people say 'oh Mt Kaukau, I keep meaning to walk to the top but I haven't done it yet' (seriously, say to five people you've walked Mt Kaukau and that response will be one of the five).
Field Hut is one of the oldest huts in New Zealand. It's had some work done to it over its nearly 100 year life span, but it still holds up remarkably well. There's lots of old photos on the wall of the guys that cleared the area and built the Hut, along with their stories. It makes for interesting reading and provides a neat point of difference for the Hut. It also has a helicopter pad attached to it if you want to save your thighs from burning and just fly on in!
If you asked a child to draw a mountain, I’m pretty sure they’d produce an image that looked very similar to Mt Taranaki. As you drive into Taranaki, the Maunga draws you in, and seeing her in winter, her top covered in snow, is just glorious.
It's an odd feeling when as a New Zealander, it takes someone visiting the country to not only take you somewhere you'd never been before, but take you somewhere you'd never heard of before, and so it was with Castle Hill.
When I went to pick up my friend to do this walk with me, he pointed to where we'd be walking. I may have slightly underestimated which mountain we'd be climbing and as we drove closer, it just seemed to loom even taller above us.
This gem of an island is in the middle of Wellington harbour and provides the perfect 360 degree view around the harbour. The easiest way to access the island is via ferry from central Wellington, or Day's Bay. If you're super fit and feel like a challenge, you are welcome to kayak or swim (!) on over.