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Lesser Known Gems – 8 Incredible New Zealand Day Hike Trails
New Zealand is known for being a great nation to live active outdoor lifestyle. With gorgeous scenery throughout the country, there’s no question it’s among the world’s best locations for hiking. There are so many amazing hiking trails to explore in both the South Island and the North Island. Whether you’re looking for an easy-going bush walk or a challenging day hike in the mountains, it’s not hard to find something for your fitness level. Here are 8 lesser-known day hiking trails in New Zealand you shouldn’t miss.
Situated just south of Kuaotunu on the Coromandel Peninsula, the Waitata track is an easy walk that is suitable for a range of fitness levels. The track takes about 2 hours, venturing through coastal rainforest, where a number of Kauri, tree ferns and other interesting plant life can be spotted along the way. The track also passes through several historic mining tunnels and small stream crossings. If you need a rest during the walk, there are picnic tables and seats available where you can stop and enjoy your lunch.
This 16km round-trip walk in the Northland takes between 4 and 5 hours to complete, but the track itself is flat and easy going for the most part. It crosses a variety of landscapes and terrain, including sand dunes, farmland and coastal forest. The track also boasts incredible scenic views of West Coast beaches.
The South Island offers one of the best day hikes through the Roby Roy track. This stunning track features a swing bridge, amazing sheer rock cliffs, high waterfalls and epic views of the Rock Roy glacier. The walk takes about 3 to 4 hours and is suitable for older children.
The Gisborne region is home to fantastic reserves, walking trails and parks. The Langford Fallon Reserve is one that’s not to be missed. This hilly reserve is filled with exotic tree species and provides great hiking tracks that are suitable for walking, running and hiking.
5. Okitu Bush
Situated just 7km outside of Gisborne, the Okitu Bush Scenic Reserve is home to an array of wildlife and lush native forest. The short 20 to 30-minute loop track leads to a stunning lookout over Wainui Beach and the surrounding hills.
Te Whara Track links from Ocean Beach to Urquharts Bay in Northland. The track features some of the most amazing coastal forests you’ll find in New Zealand and boasts breathtaking scenic views once you reach the summit. However, the trek itself is quite challenging and is most suitable for more advanced hikers.
Charming Creek Walkway offers one of greatest hiking experiences on the West Coast, boasting incredible views of the spectacular Mangatini Falls. The walkway follows a historic coal railway line through the lower Ngakawau Gorge to the Charming Creek Coal Mine. Along the way, remnants of mining and milling history can be seen including tunnels, coal mine remains and sawmills. The track also offers great opportunities for mountain biking.
The remote Coromandel walkway is one of the greatest hidden treasures of the Coromandel Peninsula. This 10km track links between Stony Bay and Fletcher bay, boasting incredible scenic views, native bush and birdlife. You can complete the hike in about three to five hours one-way, so you’ll need to dedicate an entire day to make the return trip as well. If you reach the end and have had your fill of stunning walks for one day, you can organise shuttle transport.