The short Nikau Palm Walk starts on the Heaphy Track next to the Kōhaihai River, and passes through lush rainforest & groves of nikau palms.
If you want a very short walk at the West Coast end of the Heaphy Track then consider this short loop through native forest – the Nikau Palm Walk. The forest is very attractive, and as the name suggests, there are many nikau palms, New Zealand’s only native palm. You cross the Kōhaihai River at the start and views up and down this are also very nice.
A very attractive coastal section of the multi-day Heaphy Track, taking in many highlights of West Coast scenery in just half a day.
I was keen to see some quintessential West Coast scenery when we visited the Coast’s northernmost town of Karamea for the first time. A four kilometre section of the multiday Heaphy Track offers just that: a selection of nikau palm lined beaches, lush rainforest and river scenery. The brochures suggest the hour long walk to Scotts Beach as a short day-walk, but continuing on to Big Rock Beach and Swanburn Bridge provides better scenery for not much more effort. I was especially impressed with the nikau palms besides Big Rock Beach, and dense bush lining the Swan Burn (River). Continue reading “Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast NZ”
Exceptional views over the Paparoa Range from the Buckland Peaks. Stay at the hut or camp out to give yourself more time to explore the tops.
I’d come across the Buckland Peaks Track while looking over topo maps, and it looked like a doozy. With a two day weather window and some mid week leave planned, my wife Sophia and I headed over to the West Coast and spent a night camping up on the Buckland Peaks tops. The views are exceptional, and with a decent sized plateau to wander around you can get numerous perspectives on peaks in the Paparoa Range, views inland, and views up and down the coast. Continue reading “Buckland Peaks Track, Paparoa National Park, West Coast NZ”
A pleasant section of the Crater Rim Track in the Port Hills from Sign of the Bellbird to Coopers Knob (573m) with views much of the way.
I thought about doing this pleasant section of the Crater Rim Track in the Port Hills above Christchurch when we visited nearby Gibraltar Rock. Coopers Knob (573m) is the highest point in the Port Hills and provides excellent views over Lyttelton Harbour to the north-east. Starting at historic Sign of the Bellbird, there are patches of native bush along the way, as well as other worthy viewpoints.
A pleasant circuit walk in Omahu Bush, stopping at Gibraltar Rock for 360 degree views over the Port Hills and Canterbury Plains.
The short walk from Summit Road to the top of Gibraltar Rock (502m) is a good leg stretcher if you are in that part of the Port Hills. For a leisurely 2-2.5 hour walk, continue on into Omahu Bush and do a circuit, dropping down into the valley to visit a small waterfall, then climb back out to the start. Depending on the route you take you will walk through sections of native bush, and in areas of regenerating bush with gorse. There are good views from a few points, including of course the summit of Gibraltar Rock. Continue reading “Gibraltar Rock and Omahu Bush, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ”
A selection of my favourite day-walks in the Central Otago District, featuring wide open spaces, golden tussock grass, & arid alpine plateaus.
Central Otago, or just Central to locals, is New Zealand’s frontier land. Famous for wide open spaces with rolling hills of golden tussock grass, its gold mining and rural history, and for extremes of temperature. The topography is a lot less defined than the Southern Alps to the west, but Central Otago has a stark and barren aesthetic of its own. And being away from the popular centres of Queenstown and Wānaka, we seldom see other walkers on our tramps.
A pleasant circuit walk along the Waterfall Track and Spur Track to the impressive 41m high Dog Stream Waterfall, in Hanmer Forest Park.
This circuit walk to Dog Stream Waterfall along the Waterfall Track and Spur Track is a good half day option if you are staying in nearby Hanmer Springs. The falls are 41m high and on the day we visited there was quite deep snow making it all that bit more scenic. There are a couple of spots with views but this walk is mainly for the waterfall.
A lesser known walk up Mt Norma (1722m) in the Lewis Pass region, with spectacular views of numerous mountain peaks and glacial valleys.
I came across the Mt Norma Access Track on my way up Nina Valley, and as always got a bit excited at the prospect of another easily accessible mountain summit in the Lewis Pass area. I waited a long time for a good weather window to get up there, but it finally came in the middle of a very snowy winter, so the views of mountain peaks and valleys galore were extra beautiful. With so much snow this turned out to be a bit adventurous also, and probably the closest we’ve come to mountaineering.
Excellent views of the Rangitata River and north-east towards Mt Taylor from the top of the Moorhouse Range (point 1153m).
This lesser known walk to the tops of the Moorhouse Range offers really excellent views of the Rangitata River and Harper Range to the west, and many other peaks including Mt Taylor to the north. There’s just 650m ascent and a fairly straightforward scrub bash to get these views, and you’re unlikely to meet anybody else. We did this walk after quite heavy snowfall so the views were extra good. Continue reading “Moorhouse Range Tops, Tenahaun Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”