5 Hidden Gem Day Walks in Aotearoa, New Zealand
Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki Mount Cook
The Hooker Valley Track is located in the heart of the Mackenzie Country and takes you to the base of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. It is located near Tekapo and is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Christchurch and Wānaka. The Hooker Valley Track has some of the best views all year round and even in summer the lake is full of icebergs, however, the track is particularly spectacular in winter and the snow. The track is well-maintained and reasonably accessible too with a minimal incline. It is worth visiting on your drive from Christchurch to Wānaka/Queenstown. The track is a 10 km return and a 3-hour return walk.
Lake Marian Track, Fiordland
Located on the road to Milford Sound, it is well worth making the extra effort to fit the Lake Marian Track into your trip. The walk takes you up the rapids of the Marian falls and through a moss-covered beech forest full of birds. After a steep hike through the forest, you will find yourself at the top of a turquoise water lake sitting in a valley surrounded by dramatic mountains. The views available are like none other in New Zealand, and this alpine lake is our equivalent to Moraine Lake in Canada. If you’re brave enough, you can even go for a dip in the lake! The walk is a 6.2 km round trip and is a one and half-hour walk each way. Te Henga Walkway, Auckland
The Te Henga Walkway is a clifftop walk from Bethells Beach (Te Henga) to the south of Muriwai. Located an hour’s drive west of Auckland it is the perfect walk for a weekend excursion from the supercity. The walkway offers stunning views of the black sandy beaches and rugged landscapes of the west coast. The walk is 10.3 km each way and is a duration of 3 hr 20 min each way. The track is open year-round and is beautiful to visit any time Rocky Mountain, Wānaka
Roys Peak has become undoubtedly one of the most iconic walks in New Zealand with people queuing at the top for the perfect photo, however, just 10 minutes further down the road is a lesser-known walk with equally as stunning views in less time, Rocky Mountain. The Rocky Mountain walk in Wanaka is a 3-hour return walk and a 20-minute drive from the Wānaka township. The walk has stunning views and offers a different perspective of Lake Wānaka, Roys Peak, and Treble Cone from other walks in the area. The walk also goes past Diamond Lake, which is frozen solid in the winter months. Bell Rock Loop Track, Hawkes Bay
With a unique natural landscape and dramatic rock formations, the Bell Rock Loop Track is truly a hidden gem like no other. The track starts with a steep walk-through native bush followed by a walk across the rolling hills on the Maungaharuru Range which leads to Bell Rock. Views from the top of the range include Mahia Peninsula, Te Kooti's Lookout, and the Kaweka mountain range. At the destination you will find stunning rocks clung on the side of a cliff, the rocks are made of seashells and sediment which over millions of years of geological uplift the rocks now sit hundreds of metres above the current sea level. The track is located an hour's drive north of Napier in the Hawkes Bay region, and is a 5.3 km loop and a three-hour loop walk.
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