This week the Herald is profiling different hikes you can do to get fit. We have enlisted Robert Bruce, founder of Got To Get Out, to write about his favourite adventures. He says that getting outside and exploring nature is not only beneficial for the body, but a proven and easy way to improve your mental health.

The adventure in a sentence:

Cape Reinga is well known as the furthest tip of the North Island.

Thousands of visitors drive there each day, but why not walk it?


For this adventure, we started at Spirits Bay and walked three days past the Cape, to end up at the Te Paki Steam.

Where is it?

Te Paki is in the northernmost area of New Zealand, on the Aupouri Peninsula.

To get there follow SH1 north from Kaitaia for around 96km.

Where to stay?

For this walk you need to be self-sufficient.

We took a mixture of tents, hammocks and bivvies.

Pack light because you have many hours of walking each day.

Make sure to bring some jandles if you want to relax on the beach. Photo / Robert Bruce
Make sure to bring some jandles if you want to relax on the beach. Photo / Robert Bruce

About the adventure:

We parked our cars with a friendly local who came well recommended by DoC and for a small fee he drove us by 4x4 to the track start.

A few days later he met us trudging our way down 90 Mile Beach - this service made life a lot easier and safer as there have been instances of cars broken into.

When everyone else has arrived by tour bus or car to Cape Reinga, you have pride in the knowledge you have literally walked there from the bush.

The three days out in nature are superb. Each campsite is dramatically different in terms of scenery, and if you are lucky with weather it is very pleasant hiking.

The tracks are relatively easy, well formed and there are adequate facilities at each of the camp sites.

Te Paki of course is the site of the famous sand dunes where you can rent a boogie board and zoom down for a small fee.

How long does it take?

It's a solid day's drive to get to Te Paki from Auckland, then a further drive by 4x4 to the start of the track.

You are well and truly ready for bed by the time you arrive at the first camp called Pandora.

In total it's a solid three days of walking.

Difficulty rating (1-5): 2-3

This is not a particularly difficult walk, but you do need to be able to carry your water food and tent for three days.

Your food may dwindle by day three if you aren't careful.

The difficulty is linked to the fact you need to carry a tent and be self-sufficient.

What to bring:

Sunscreen, hat, protective clothing, it can be very hot especially in exposed places.

It was cold for much of our walk – rain jacket, beanie and leggings were needed at times.

Togs, towel, sandals and a head lamp is useful.

You need everything to cook with, fires are not permitted so take your camp cooker with enough gas for a few days.

Other vital info:

There's no power for the trip, so take spare batteries, solar panels or a power-pack if taking photos is important.

There's minimal phone coverage for much of the trip so expect to be offline a few days.

Make sure to let someone know where you are going and it's always safer travelling in a group.

Why I recommend it:

The sense of achievement from getting to the cape after two days of walking is quite unique.

Walking down 90 Mile Beach was a majestic experience with the rugged beach stretching almost as far as the eye can see.