Truman Track, Paparoa National Park, Westland NZ

An attractive and varied short walk through rainforest and coastal vegetation that makes a good introduction to the unique NZ West Coast environment.

On our first road trip down the West Coast of New Zealand we stopped along the way to complete a few short walks (perhaps 15 minutes to an hour). Some, like the Truman Track, were not planned, but turned out to be an excellent introduction to this beautiful and unique part of the country. This track in particular was a good one as it had a variety of vegetation, and signs identifying some of the notable plants found in this region, which is much wetter than my usual stomping grounds of Canterbury and Otago. It starts in very lush rainforest, then quickly transitions to attractive coastal scenery, and the whole walk can be done in 30 minutes (plus photography time!). Continue reading “Truman Track, Paparoa National Park, Westland NZ”

Pancake Rocks Circuit, Punakaiki, Westland NZ

Pancake Rocks & blow holes are an interesting tourist attraction near the small village of Punakaiki that are accessed on a very short walk.

A colleague suggested we visit Pancake Rocks near Punakaki on our drive down NZ’s West Coast. As a tourist attraction it is recommended, with a variety of interesting rock formations, often in layers, (hence the pancake reference), and also blow holes and bird nesting sites. The blow holes weren’t blowing on the day we did this walk. They kinda sucked 😉

As a walking experience it is more akin to strolling in a city park, being very short and on a paved track. This is just one to stretch the legs on the drive up or down the coast, or if you are staying in the area.

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Cape Foulwind Walkway, Westport NZ

A pleasant and easy walk through a re-vegetated strip of coast near Westport.

On our first visit to the New Zealand’s West Coast we planned first to drive over from Christchurch via the Lewis Pass and spend a night in Westport, then drive down the coast and spend some time there doing walks in glacier country. Nevertheless, we had a couple of hours spare in Westport and went out to see the coast and discovered the pleasant Cape Foulwind Walkway. A local school and the DOC have been re-vegetating this coastal strip with native plants since the 90’s, so  it is quite attractive in places. Continue reading “Cape Foulwind Walkway, Westport NZ”

Godley Head Circuit, Christchurch NZ

A circuit walk close to Christchurch that takes in attractive coastal scenery and WWII heritage sites. Easy walking through mostly paddocks.

Walking around Godley Head is a good option for those based in Christchurch who want a easy walk that can be done in half a day. It’s mostly through paddocks, and good accessibility makes it a fairly popular choice, so don’t expect much serenity. But there are a number of WWII heritage sites on the route, and the coastal scenery is quite nice, with a section of more natural looking vegetation on the Lyttelton Harbour side (south). And sea breezes will blow away the cobwebs 🙂 Continue reading “Godley Head Circuit, Christchurch NZ”

Harry Ells Track & Sugarloaf Circuit, Port Hills, Canterbury NZ

An easygoing walk in the Port Hills, taking you from the edge of town up to the Crater Rim on the Harry Ells Track, then around the Sugarloaf Circuit with good views over Govenors Bay and the Canterbury Plains.

This is one combination of many possible walks in the Port Hills on the outskirts of Christchurch. This one takes you from the edge of town in Cashmere Hills to the Crater Rim through regenerating bush, then on the Sugarloaf Circuit with views over Governors Bay to the east, and the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch to the west. You could have food and coffee at one of the historic cafes at either end of the Harry Ells Track: Sign of the Takahe and Sign of the Kiwi. Continue reading “Harry Ells Track & Sugarloaf Circuit, Port Hills, Canterbury NZ”

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay, Canterbury NZ

A varied circuit walk through a nature reserve in the Port Hills near Christchurch. There are good views of Lyttelton Harbour including Governors Bay.

During our first weeks living in Christchurch we were limited as to where we could hike due to the Covid 19 restrictions. Consequently we did a few walks in the Port Hills and surrounds because they met the definition of ‘local’. This walk was in the Ohinetahi Reserve on the hills above Govenors Bay, only about 20-30 minutes drive from Christchurch. We did a loop around the outer edge of the reserve, through sections of forest but also wide open sections with excellent views of Lyttelton Harbour. We added a short side trip to Cass Peak for lunch. Continue reading “Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay, Canterbury NZ”

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton, Canterbury NZ

Great views over the port town of Lyttelton and its harbour on this circuit in the Port Hills, just south of Christchurch.

This circuit walk in the Port Hills next to Christchurch takes in part of the Crater Rim Walkway above Lyttelton, the South Island’s major port. There are great views of Lytteton Harbour and the town itself, and a bit of a workout as you ascend onto the tops. This area is part of an old volcano, and you can see the shape of the crater in the surrounding hills. There are also views over Christchurch to the north, and out over the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps in the west. The vegetation is a bit mixed and not always that attractive, although there were nice sections of tussock grass up high.  Continue reading “Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton, Canterbury NZ”

Patonga to Warrah Trig, Central Coast NSW

A short walk from Patonga on the NSW Central Coast up to view points over the scenic Hawkesbury River just north of Sydney.

I’d never been to Patonga before, a sleepy village at the southern border of the Central Coast, just over the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney. It’s a very pretty and chilled out area, with one restaurant/bar on the waterfront. There’s also a bushwalking track that ascends about 160m over 2 to 3 kilometres from the beach to a trig point. The forest is nice, and there’s a couple of spots along the way with good views, including an official lookout, Warrah Lookout.

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Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve Circuit, near Ulladulla NSW

A very pleasant walk through open forest, along long beaches and over colourful rocky headlands. And you’ll likely come across various birdlife along the way.

This circuit walk in Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve exceeded expectations. It starts in fairly open forest and heads towards the coast, then passes through an area containing many cycads, ancient and attractive plants that predate conifers on the evolutionary timeline. It then runs south along Conjola Beach to the many colourful rocks on Buckley’s Point, further on to Narrawallee Creek itself, and then back to the start through a variety of open forest. There’s various bird life along the way, including sea birds nesting along Narrawallee Creek, and black cockatoos in the forest bordering the creek. Continue reading “Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve Circuit, near Ulladulla NSW”

Bundeena to Marley Head Circuit, Royal National Park, Sydney

A great section of the classic Royal National Park Coast Track, and you can make a circuit of it by heading inland on the way back (and avoid the crowds in doing so).

Bundeena to Marley Head is one of my favourite sections of the classic Royal National Park Coast Track, although choosing a favourite section is a bit like choosing a favourite child. It’s got what you want from a coast track: cliffs, beaches, heath, and interesting rock formations. You can keep going as far as you like, but the views from Marley Head are very satisfying, so we usually turn around there and head back. Continue reading “Bundeena to Marley Head Circuit, Royal National Park, Sydney”