Instagram-worthy walks you’ve probably never heard of

Department of Conservation —  25/11/2017

New Zealand is packed with dramatic landscapes and unique places that are perfect for filling up that Instagram feed. Here’s a few less-explored walks for you to snap some eye-poppin’ shots on this summer!

1. Mount Manaia Track

Where: Whangarei Heads, Northland

How to get there: Mount Manaia is 28 km east of Whangarei. Park in the Mount Manaia Club’s lower car park on Whangarei Heads Road above McLeod Bay. The track begins just above the car park.

What you’ll see: Nīkau palms and kauri stands with glimpses of northern rātā hanging from pōhutukawa among a cluster of jagged bush-covered peaks. As you climb towards the summit of Mount Manaia, the gradient gets steeper and the views get more impressive.

The perfect Instagram shot: Breathtaking views from the Bluff lookout across to Whangarei Harbour, Bream Head and the Hen and Chicken Islands.

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2. Lake Matheson / Te Ara Kairaumati Walk

Where: West Coast

How to get there: From Fox Glacier township, turn onto Cook Flat Road. Travel 5 km along this road then turn right onto the side road to Lake Matheson.

What you’ll see: A gentle walk suitable for all fitness types, nestled in ancient forest and famous for mirror views of the Southern Alps reflected on the still waters of Lake Matheson.

The perfect Instagram shot: The reflection of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook in beautiful Lake Matheson.

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3. Rangitoto Summit Track

Where: Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

How to get there: Your trip begins at the Rangitoto Wharf, a 25-minute ferry ride from Auckland’s Queens Wharf.

What you’ll see: An easy climb through pōhutukawa forest and lava fields gives way to panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit of this volcanic island.

The perfect Instagram shot: Stunning 360° views of the world’s largest pōhutukawa forest on Rangitoto Island and looking out across the majestic Hauraki Gulf.

4. Cape Foulwind Walkway

Where: West Coast

How to get there: From Westport follow Cape Foulwind Road for 11 km to the former Holcim cement works. Turn left into Tauranga Bay Road to access the Tauranga Bay car park.

What you’ll see: A seal colony, a lighthouse and panoramic views of mountains and coastline feature on this spectacular coastal walkway.

The perfect Instagram shot: Panoramic views of the dramatic coastline and nearby mountains.

A post shared by Mike Leske (@mike_leske) on

5. Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway

Where: Northland

How to get there: Located on the Twin Coast Discovery Highway, 20 min from Waipu or 30 min from Wellsford. Access to the track is from the Kaipara District Council car park, near the Mangawhai Surf Lifesaving Club at the end of Wintle Street.

What you’ll see: The rugged beauty of New Zealand’s coast unfolds with panoramic views offering spectacular photo opportunities along this walk from the shoreline to the clifftops.

The perfect Instagram shot: The unique rock formations and native pōhutukawa and taraire trees that cling to the almost sheer slopes of Mangawhai Cliffs.

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6. Cape Kidnappers Walking Track

Where: Hawke’s Bay

How to get there: Cape Kidnappers Walking Track starts at Clifton, which is within easy access of Hawke’s Bay’s main centres.

What you’ll see: The journey along ‘Māui’s fish hook’ takes you to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony and past rugged cliffs.

The perfect Instagram shot: Spectacular natural limestone landscapes and the largest accessible mainland Australasian gannet/tākapu colony in the world.

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7. Charming Creek Walkway

Where: West Coast

How to get there: The southern end is clearly signposted from SH 67 at Ngakawau, 35 km northeast of Westport. From the north, access is through Seddonville, 50 km north-east of Westport on SH 67, then 10 km along a gravel road to the abandoned Charming Creek mine site.

What you’ll see: Scenery and history combine in this walk along an historic bush tramway, with spectacular vistas up and down the Ngakawau Gorge, alongside an unfolding view of the Mangatini Falls.

The perfect Instagram shot: The spectacular Mangatini Falls at the top of the gorge.

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8. Te Whara Track

Where: Northland

How to get there: Access this one-way track from the Ocean Beach car park on Ranui Rd finishing at the Urquharts Bay car park, or alternatively start from the Urquharts Bay car park, finishing at Ocean Beach car park.

What you’ll see: Follow in the footsteps of Northland’s Māori ancestors. This challenging track climbs through coastal forest before revealing a spectacular 360° panorama.

The perfect Instagram shot: Magnificent coastal panorama views and some of the best coastal forest in the North Island.

A post shared by Mateja Drobnic (@matejalicious) on

9. Lake Gunn Nature Walk

Where: Fiordland

How to get there: The walk begins from Cascade Creek car park on the Milford Road, about 78 km from Te Anau.

What you’ll see: Experience wild Fiordland on one of our best short walks – wander through red beech forest, enjoying glimpses of the birdlife of the Eglinton valley, Lake Gunn and the surrounding mountains.

The perfect Instagram shot: The tranquillity of the beech forest surrounding the deep blue waters of Lake Gunn.

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10. Fox Glacier / Te Ara o Tuawe Valley Walk

Where: West Coast

How to get there: To reach the glacier car park, drive south for 2 km from Fox Glacier township on SH6. Turn left immediately before the Fox River bridge and continue to the end of the road.

What you’ll see: Follow the track towards the glacier and cross several small creeks. The final section of track includes a short climb up to the viewing area for spectacular views of Fox Glacier/Te Moeke o Tuawe.

The perfect Instagram shot: The dramatic terrain leading up to Fox Glacier’s steep upper icefall.

Short Walks and Day Hikes

These walks a part of our new set of Short Walks and Day Hikes that are being promoted to encourage more New Zealanders to get out and explore some of our natural wonders.

From native bush, to glaciers, urban volcanoes, lakes and coastlines, no matter where you are, or how long you’ve got, there’s a walk for everyone:

2 responses to Instagram-worthy walks you’ve probably never heard of


    Great list.


    We live in such a beautiful place, so lucky that there’s so many pretty spots to see.