DoC walks: NZ's top 8 tracks

The Hooker Valley Track in Mt Cook National Park is a popular day walk. Photo / Jessica Van Fleteren
The Hooker Valley Track in Mt Cook National Park is a popular day walk. Photo / Jessica Van Fleteren

New Zealand boasts some of the world's top multi-day tramps and wilderness adventures. The Department of Conservation has been working with Air New Zealand to encourage more people to get out and enjoy these beautiful adventures. Here are our top picks.

1 Wattle Track loop, Tiritiri Matangi, Hauraki Gulf, 1 hr

A relaxing hour-and-15-minute ferry ride on the beautiful Hauraki Gulf delivers you to family-friendly Tiritiri Matangi Island. The island is internationally recognised as one of the most successful community conservation projects, and walkers will enjoy the natural splendour of rapidly regenerating native forest and birdsong.

2 Goldie Bush Walkway (Horsman's Road entrance), West Auckland, 2 hrs

Entering Goldie Bush Scenic Reserve from Horsman's Rd leads you to a well-formed track that winds through coastal forest to the impressive Mokoroa Falls and Mokoroa Stream - this is a delightful, sunny, place to have a break, some lunch and explore the falls.

3 Ahuriri Estuary Walking Track, Napier, 1 hr

Follow the track and boardwalk across the estuary. This is a sanctuary for more than 70 species of resident and migratory birds, who feed and rest in the estuary, so take your binoculars. Look for grey herons, royal spoonbills, kingfishers and even gannets.

4 Tawa Grove Walk, Catchpool Valley, Wellington, 30 min loop

Tawa Grove in Catchpool Valley (12km south of Wainuiomata) is a bush trail specially designed for wheelchair access and is ideal for pushchairs. The walk begins near the Catchpool Field Centre. Go to

5 Lake Matheson Walk, Fox Glacier, West Coast, 45 min-1 hr 30 min

A beautiful walk set in ancient forest famous for mirror views of the Southern Alps, and just 5km from Fox Glacier.

6 Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, Marlborough, 3 hrs

Observe seals and seabirds, explore historic pa and whaling sites and enjoy clifftop views of the sea and mountains. Suitable for families.

7 Arthurs Pass Walking Track, Arthurs Pass National Park, 2 hrs 40

Experience diverse alpine vegetation, waterfalls, wetlands, rich history and stunning mountain views on this walk from Arthurs Pass village to view the Dobson Memorial at Arthurs Pass summit.

8 Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, 3 hrs return

The recently upgraded Hooker Valley Track is one of the South Island's most popular walks, with views of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Look out for wildflowers along the way.



To check for safety alerts and find more information about what to expect from these and other tracks, visit

For domestic flights, see

- NZ Herald

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