Short walks to do on a road trip from Picton to Christchurch

Department of Conservation —  17/12/2015

DOC employee Anita Tibbertsma shares her ‘tips for the trails’ after recently embarking on short walks between Picton and Christchurch.

Snout Track, Picton

Many ‘trail blazers’ head to Picton to explore the Queen Charlotte Track, but with a short amount of time before the Ferry arrived, I took off to explore the nearby Snout Track. It’s loosely over an hour’s run return if running, or longer if you are walking.

There are plenty of small adjoining tracks to explore to reach Snout Track, through Lower Bob’s Bay Track, Upper Bob’s Bay Track and Picton-Waikawa Track.

Queen Charlotte view from Snout Track in Picton. Photo: Anita Tibbertsma

Queen Charlotte view from Snout Track in Picton

Trip tip – The track has some really nice picnic spots. If you’re catching a ferry, keep an eye on the time, and don’t be tempted to go further than you’ve allocated time for.

Getting there – Cross the tall curved bridge at Picton Marina or check out this map.

Ohau Stream Walk, Okiwi Bay (that famous waterfall baby seal walk).

Ohau Stream Walk seal creche

Ohau Stream Walk seal creche

This walk was amazing. It is now one of my favourite places I have ever visited. It’s also super short which is great for those that have trouble walking, but really want to see the beauty of New Zealand. There were quite a few people there who had difficulty walking, but were still able to do the 10 minute walk to the seal ‘crèche’. Note that there are stairs. The stairs are easy for the average person, but a bit tricky for those with walking difficulties.

Please note –  The Ohau Stream Walk is often closed temporarily at this time of year due to fur seal breeding activity in the area. Please check the DOC website before visiting. If it is closed, the Ohau Point Lookout, a short drive south of the Ohau Stream is great spot to see the seals.

Getting there – If driving towards Kaikoura on SH1, lookout for the big car park area on the left side of the road, right on the corner. If you are driving from Kaikoura towards Blenheim, lookout for the train tunnel on your left. As you round the bend, you’ll see the car park area for Ohau Stream Walk on your right.

Trip tip – If you are there in the summer, drop by the lavender farm nearby!

Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway

Seals playing near Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

Seals playing near Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

I didn’t walk this track. I ran it in light rain – a choice which ruined most of my happy snaps but it is beautiful. A baby seal was sitting on the path, and I think I saw my first albatross. The footage above is of baby seals playing near the car park when I arrived.

Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Photo: Anita Tibbertsma

Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

Getting there is super easy. Follow the road through Kaikoura town centre to Point Kean Car park and follow the signs. If there are seals in the car park area please drive slowly and give them space.

Trip tip – This was way quicker than I thought it would be (I ran it in 40 mins return). It’s a good one to break up a long drive but of course it takes longer walking than running. DOC signs suggest three hours.

Hanmer Forest Park

The trails around Hanmer Springs are amazing. The light filters through the trees like you’re in a fairy tale with nice soft turf covered in forest leaves to help cushion the running impact. That said, I spent so long running enjoying the trails, that I didn’t realise how badly I’d injured my ankle. That’s why you see people with day packs – so they can bring a few first aid supplies with them.

Hamner forest. Photo by Br3nda (flickr CC by 2.0)

Hamner forest. Photo by Br3nda (flickr)

Getting there – Just follow the road to Hanmer Springs. Once in town, there are many entry/exit points to the park. I walked straight up the main drag and followed the signs.

Trip tip – Take a track map. There are so many tempting intersecting tracks to explore – I can see how easy it may be to get lost.

Find a short walk near you. Head to, take your pick and get outdoors this summer!

2 responses to Short walks to do on a road trip from Picton to Christchurch


    That Ohau Stream Walk is currently closed to let the pups alone for a while – might want to update this as they do want the word spread. Hanmer Forest trails are awesome – something for everyone be it biking or hiking/walking.