‘Tis the season for a lot of things, namely – getting outdoors and enjoying this beautiful country. In between all the festivities of the holidays, we expect a lot of New Zealanders and visitors will be looking to get moving in nature.
We asked our local experts – the DOC rangers in Visitor Centres throughout the country – to give us their top recommendations for tracks to explore this holiday season. From Auckland to Rakiura, here are their picks for 9 New Zealand tracks to make the most of right now.
Rangitoto Summit Track
Easily accessible by ferry from Auckland’s CBD, Rangitoto Island is a great place to get away for a few hours.
Auckland’s youngest volcano, the island has the largest concentration of pōhutukawa trees in the world (the world!!!). The easy Rangitoto Summit Track leads you to 360-degree views of the Hauraki Gulf and the city of Auckland. Not bad for a quick jaunt outside the city!
Have some questions about exploring Rangitoto Summit Track? Stop in to the Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland DOC Visitor Centre.
Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk)
Popular for a reason, the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail leads to the Pinnacles Hut and onwards to the summit of the Pinnacles. There are different options depending on how much time you have available, with most people completing this walk as a day or overnight walk. The case for staying overnight? The spectacular sunset and sunrise you’ll get to see from the top of the Coromandel Range.
Thinking about heading to the Pinnacles? Head into the Kaueranga DOC Visitor Centre first – they’ll be able to help you figure out which walk option is right for you and help you with hut or campsite bookings.
Hacket Track in Mount Richmond Forest Park
Mount Richmond Forest Park’s Hacket Track is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get out of town and into the wild areas that surround Nelson and its suburbs.
Great for a half-day walk or an easy overnight tramp, there are two huts along the way (Hacket and Browning), so you can get away from town without having to go too far away.
Before heading out, stop in to the Nelson DOC Visitor Centre to ask questions and make sure you’re prepared for the track.
Paparoa National Park
Nice and short, this easy local walk offers a lot for little effort. The Truman Track takes you through unspoiled tropical forest and pops you out onto a spectacular coastline. With an awesome viewing area, a waterfall, and stairway access to the beach, caves and rocky pools, Truman Track is a great little walk to explore.
Thinking about heading out to the Truman Track? The Paparoa National Park DOC Visitor Centre is just down the road – drop in to ask questions and learn more about the track.
Mt Crichton Loop Track
Views, waterfalls, gold mining history and bird life – the Mt Crichton Loop Track, 15 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, is a favourite with locals and visitors alike, as it showcases what makes the Queenstown / Glenorchy area so special.
Heading out to the Mt Crichton Loop Track? Pop in to the Queenstown DOC Visitor Centre before you go to ask questions and make sure you’ve got everything you need to head out.
One of New Zealand’s Tohu Whenua – places that tell our stories – Bannockburn Sluicings is a family-friendly track that shows scarred landscapes from our past.
Not far from Cromwell, history comes to life here, with remains of the region’s short-lived goldmining era throughout the walk.
Want more details about exploring Bannockburn Sluicings? Stop in to the Tititea / Mount Aspiring National Park DOC Visitor Centre.
Lake Gunn Nature Walk
Lake Gunn Nature Walk along the Milford Road presents a picturesque and accessible walk to immerse yourself amongst the moss and splendour of Fiordland, whatever the weather.
Before you head out, drop in to the Te Rua-o-te-moko Fiordland National Park DOC Visitor Centre to ask any questions you may have about the walk.
Tunnel Beach Track
Tunnel Beach Track is an easy walking track for a family who wants to get out and have a little adventure by the beach.
In the 1870s, a local farmer – John Cargill – dug the tunnel through the soft stone to give his daughters private access to the beach.
Now, a few steps lead down through the tunnel and onto the beach, offering fantastic views of the coastline.
Want to learn more about exploring Tunnel Beach Track? Stop in to the Dunedin DOC Visitor Centre.
Ackers Point Track
Ackers Point Track is a coastal track that leads to a fantastic lookout over Foveaux Strait. It’s an easy walk, rich with history and birdlife. On sunny days, the beaches are clear-watered and inviting, and on windy days, expect salt spray and look out for the albatross wheeling above the fishing boats. It’s an immersive experience, no matter what the weather is doing!
Want more information about the walk? Visit the Rakiura National Park DOC Visitor Centre and they’ll be able to help you out.
Looking for a different walking track this holiday season? If you’re stuck for ideas or inspiration, drop into your nearest DOC Visitor Centre. The DOC rangers there can help you figure out what nearby walks are best for you, and ensure you’ve got the right safety information and gear to head out and explore.