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.