9 New Zealand tracks to explore this holiday season

Department of Conservation —  17/12/2018

‘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.

Rangitoto Summit Track 📷: Fraser Clements

Rangitoto Summit Track 📷: Fraser Clements


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.


Coromandel Range, from The Pinnacles 📷: Alan Cressler


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.

Browning Hut_departure_Mt Richmond FP_Ray Salisbury Hot Pixels Photography

Browning Hut Mt Richmond 📷: Ray Salisbury, http://www.hotpixels.co.nz


Paparoa National Park

Truman Track

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.

Truman Track 📷: Richard Rossiter, Rec Ranger, DOC Wesport

Truman Track staircase and viewing structure 📷: Richard Rossiter, Rec Ranger, DOC Wesport


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.


Queenstown sunset 📷: Craig Bullock

Central Otago

Bannockburn Sluicings

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.

Bannockburn Sluicings track 📷: Sonya Sawyers, Supervisor, Tititea / Mount Aspiring National Park Visitor Centre

Bannockburn Sluicings track 📷: Sonya Sawyers, Supervisor, Tititea / Mount Aspiring National Park 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.

Fiordland - Lake Gunn Nature Walk - Martin Sliva

Lake Gunn Nature Walk 📷: Martin Sliva.


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.

Tunnel beach

Tunnel Beach 📷: Alan Cressler


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.

Ackers Point

Interpretation panels, Ackers Point, Stewart Island 📷: Greg Lind


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.

3 responses to 9 New Zealand tracks to explore this holiday season


    Thank you for great article. I’m planning a trip to New Zealand.

    PECHowe Przygody 18/12/2018 at 2:53 pm

    I hope to soon have a next chance to see the beautiful country 🙂

    Trish Lemberg 17/12/2018 at 5:02 pm

    Wish I was young enough – and fit enough – and still had a car, I’d enjoy doing the whole of the country! But lucky to have seen most of it before I lost the car! Trish