Must-do Walks & Hikes in North Island
The Escarpment Track is a 10km hiking trail between Pukerua Bay and Paekākāriki in the Wellington region. Forming part of the 3,000km Te Araroa trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff, this track boasts breathtaking views from high above the Kāpiti coastline out to Kāpiti Island and beyond. You can start from either end, but we would recommend taking the train and starting from Paekākāriki - unless you want to climb up the ‘devil’s staircase’ (1500 steps!) rather than down them.
Located on Rangitoto Island in the Auckland region, this is an easy 2-hour return walk through the worlds largest pōhutukawa forest, ancient lava fields, and scenic views across the Hauraki Gulf. Take a 25-minute ferry ride from Queens Wharf in downtown Auckland and spend the morning on Auckland’s youngest volcano, having only emerged from the sea 600 years ago.
This easy 5.5km loop takes you around Lake Tikitapu/Blue Lake, with quiet beaches and native bush and wildlife paving way for an enjoyable and pleasant walk that only takes 1-1.5 hours. It's clear, blue waters are popular with swimmers, boaties, and water skiers, which you may even witness in action on your leisurely stroll. An easy, alternative walk filled with nature, lakes, forest, and beaches. What more could you ask for?
Located on the stunning Great Barrier Island off the coast of Auckland, this is a tramping track that takes 2-3 days, but one that is worth setting the time aside to do. Traverse through wetlands, native forests, across bridges and stairways, and witness New Zealand’s spectacular native birds and wildlife in this stunning island in New Zealand.
Top tip: Walk the track from Mt Heale Hut end and finish with a soak in the relaxing Kaitoke Hot Springs.
Te Ahūmairangi Hill
Te Ahūmairangi Hill is packed with a network of different trails. Located in the suburb of Northland in Wellington, there are a plethora of entry and exit points to take in Northland, Wilton, Thorndon, and Wadestown. With spectacular views across Wellington Harbour, the city, and the Orongorongo Ranges, you can choose between a 1.5 hour walk, or continue along the ridge over the backend towards Brooklyn for a longer half-day walk. With Wellington’s unpredictable weather, we suggest bringing a hat, sunlock, a fleece, and a raincoat - just in case!
Cathedral Cove walk is located in the Hahei area in the Coromandel region. With this part of New Zealand well-known for its white sandy beaches, stunning coastal scenery, and natural beauty, this walk is no different. With dramatic cliffs and an iconic archway, this 2.5km walk takes roughly 1.5 hours - the perfect amount of time before jumping back in the surf or sunbathing on one of the many beaches this region has to offer.
Te Paki Coastal Track in Northland traverses unique landforms, contrasting landscapes, and breathtaking views of the cape region. The entire coastal track is 48km long and can be walked over a few days, or you can choose whether or not to just do a section of it at your own pace.
This 6-8 hour track is located in the Tararua Forest in the Kāpiti region of Wellington. This advanced tramping route begins on private property in Waikanae before making your way up the summit to arguably the best viewpoint in the Tararua Ranges, with spectacular views of the Kāpiti coastline across to Kāpiti Island, as well as views of the forested Renata-Maymorn-Akatarawa. This track can be steep and muddy in places, and the river can flood, so always check the weather before you go and tell someone your plans.
This network of walkways on Waiheke Island takes you through historic sites, beautiful coastline, and native bush. The perfect way to discover Waiheke Island’s natural beauty, the track can be built around stops at wineries, trendy cafes, and overnight stays on the island. It’s up to you!
This 2.5 hour track takes you to the cove where Captain James Cook stopped in 1769, as part of his travels around the coast of New Zealand. Beginning in an open paddock near Tolaga Bay on the East Coast, it takes you through grassland and light bush, with informative panels along the way explaining the history of the area. Have a swim at the cove once you arrive and basque in the beauty of the picturesque surroundings.