Just because you are on holiday it doesn't mean you have to give up your daily workout, writes Sarah Pollok
From urban bike trails to botanical walks, volcanic hikes and golden beaches, New Zealand cities aren't short of places to take in a view and get on a sweat. So, whether you're playing tourist on a city break or love exploring your hometown, here's how to work out while you get about.
For sweeping views across Whangārei, grab your walking shoes and tackle the 241m climb to the top of Mt Parihaka. Easily accessible from the city centre, the walk covers the popular Whangārei Falls, towering kauri trees, native bush and mangrove boardwalks.
Whether you walk or bike ride, the Waimahanga Walkway is a loose metal 4km track that will surely get the heart pumping. As part of the network of tracks connecting Whangārei city centre to Onerahi, the disused railway track winds through thick mangrove forests that are home to a vibrant array of wildlife.
Up near Paihia? Hire a kayak or paddleboard and journey up the Waitangi River to the powerful Haruru Falls. Aptly named "big noise" in Māori, the horseshoe-shaped falls are a picture-perfect place to stop and cool down before floating back down the river to the coast.
Get a full-body workout while exploring Rangitoto Island during a Sunset Sea Kayak Tour with Auckland Sea Kayaks. Start with a hearty paddle to the island before taking a one-hour trek to the summit, where you can take in the 360-degree view of Auckland from 260m. After wandering back to the coastline, enjoy a healthy Kiwi barbecue before paddling back towards the dusk city lights.
As one of the most accessible snorkel spots in Auckland, there are dozens of activities to keep you active at Goat Island. Explore the coastline with a stand-up paddleboard, glide above the marine life on a see-through kayak, or grab a snorkel to get close to the fish. Surf lovers can catch the waves at the white-sand shores of Tāwharanui Peninsula and Ōrewa Beach.
Embrace your inner child and clamber through the trees at Woodhill Forest's Tree Adventures. Test your balance on the thrilling ropes course, with suspended wires, swinging logs and flying foxes. If you've still got gas in the tank, wander next door to Woodhill Mountain Bike Park, where you can zoom down more than 100km of tracks.
Rotorua's Redwood Forest isn't just great for Instagram pictures, it's the home of countless exciting outdoor activities. Make the 1.5-hour hike along the Quarry Lookout track for sweeping views of the city centre, Lake Rotorua and the Redwood Grove. Or grab a bike and hurtle through the 5600 hectares of Whakarewarewa Forest on one of the grade 1-5 mountain bike tracks.
You can't visit Rotorua without taking a trip to one of the city's magnificent lakes, especially the iconic Blue Lake (Tikitapu). Tracking the perimeter of the lake, a 5.5km walk weaves between serene native bush and secluded little beaches with countless chances to take a mid-walk dip.
Lace-up your running shoes and see the best of Hamilton city via the City River path, a walkway and cycleway that stretches 10km from Pukete to Hamilton Gardens. Crack up the pace or take it slow, enjoying the grassy areas and park benches that are perfect for boat-, bird- and people-watching.
In the heart of the city, Hamilton Lake Domain Walkway is a favourite for runners, joggers and dog walkers. A humble 3.8km long, the flat walkway circles Lake Rotoroa and is dotted with picnic-perfect grassy areas, boardwalk sections, a cafe and playground, making it the perfect spot for a relaxed but active morning.
Fancy a little nature-bathing? Immerse yourself in hundreds of youthful nikau palms and massive kahikatea trees when you explore Gray's Bush Scenic Reserve. Just five minutes from central Gisborne, a network of tracks provide dozens of options to explore the lush forest, with some trees up to 500 years old and 40m high.
When it comes to exploring Aotearoa's Food and Wine Country, few ways are better than by bike. Made up of 200km of flat, easy trails, the Hawke's Bay Trails connect the best urban restaurants, lodges and hotels with top-notch wineries, cosy pubs and quaint shops. Whether you'd like a peaceful ride to a winery or an epic five-day adventure, there are trails and tracks to suit everyone.
It's not a stairway to heaven, but at 427 steps Te Arapiki a Tāne (The Stairway of Tāne) in Palmerston North sure feels sky high. While you're certain to work up a sweat, the steady climb from Te Motu o Potua (Anzac Park) rewards those who persist with remarkable views across the city and Manawatū river.
A walk or bike ride along the Whanganui River is a must for those in the area. With multiple starting spots throughout the city, you can simply grab some wheels and see where the cycleway takes you, or check out popular circuits like the Cobham (SH3) to Whanganui City Bridge (a 30-minute loop), or the Cobham to Dublin Street Bridge (a 2-hour loop).
Towering 156m into the sky from New Plymouth's coastline is the iconic Paritutu Rock, a magnificent landmark, and for the adventurous, a great climb. While it doesn't sound very high, don't be fooled, the vertical clamber makes the summit view "breathtaking" in more than one way.
Just 3km south of New Plymouth's CBD you'll find the Araheke Bush Walk, at the Meeting of the Waters scenic reserve. The 2.1km loop walk is relatively flat, with many fun features to enjoy include a swing bridge, rivers, rich native forest and the impressive Mangorei Hydro Station. Worked up a sweat? Take a dip at the popular swimming hole next to the car park.
Hugging one of Wellington's many (many) steep hills is a staircase that could have easily been the inspiration behind escalators; Church St Steps. Found where Church St intersects Boulcott St, the 188-step staircase will make short work of even the fittest sprinters.
Venture a mere 7km out of Wellington and you'll find Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park; a world-class park set in 250ha of regenerated native forest. Designed by expert trail riders, the park boasts more than 40 trails spanning 45km, from easy greens to thrilling, technical rides, all with stunning views out across the windy capital city.
Combine sightseeing with exercise when you take a 20-minute walk up Nelson's Botanical Hill to the Centre of NZ monument. Marking the site of an 1870's central trig point, the 140m climb provides a 360-degree view over Nelson City, Tasman Bay and Maitai Valley. For a longer adventure, continue around East Ridge track or follow the ridgeline oneway through Sir Stanley Whitehead Park.
Tucked away on the fringe of the city, just a few minutes from the CBD is The Coppermine Trail, one of New Zealand's Great Bike Rides. More suited to the experts, the Grade 3-4 looped trail climbs 878m above sea level to Coppermine Saddle before descending into the Maitai Dam and back to Brook St. No bike? Walking trails are also available.
Amateur or expert, there's a trail for every ability at Dunedin's Wakari Creek Tracks; a system of well-marked trails that wind through a lush forest of redwood trees and native bush a 10-minute drive from the CBD. Warm-up on the 1.3km Redwood Loop before working your way up to the thrilling 4km Intermediate Wakari Creek circuit.
Dunedin isn't short of steep slopes, so for those who want to feel the burn, try tackling the city's most challenging staircase; Jacob's Ladder. Part of a longer loop track which includes Aramoana Beach and Heyward Point, the savage set of 279 steps takes you straight up the side of St Clair hill for a sweaty but rewarding view.
Meander down to the shore of Lake Wakatipu and you'll find the start of the great Queenstown Trail; a 130km journey beginning in Queenstown, traversing Arrowtown and concluding in Gibbston. Cherry-pick a short walk or cycle, or embark on the full four-day trek, stopping at iconic landmarks and award-winning eateries along the way.
If you're set on breaking a sweat, be sure to give Christchurch's Kennedy's Bush Track a crack. Uphill from the first step towards Summit Rd, the two-hour trail may not be the most scenic but the even track and steady incline make it popular with mountain bikers, runners and walkers who love a challenge.
Or, if you prefer the coast, head out to the Taylors Mistake to Godley Head walk; a simple track full of Insta-worthy views and glimpses of New Zealand's military history. Although the well-formed trail is suitable for any ability, the walk can take a few hours, so be sure to fill up that water bottle and pack snacks.