In preparation for Get Outdoors Week, from 16–24 November, the team at the NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) have invited a range of guest contributors to share some of their favourite outdoor locations and adventures around Aotearoa. These spots will highlight just a few of the amazing places you could explore during the week (or this summer), and don’t forget to share your adventures on social media using #GoWeekNZ and be in to win prizes!
Te Radar is an award winning writer, presenter and all-round down-to-earth kinda guy.
Thanks to Te Radar for sharing his favourite places www.radarswebsite.com
I’m more a stroller than a tramper, so I love a good short walk. I’m all about walks that last from a few minutes to a few hours, and I love ones that have a historical component. So, in no particular order:
I love it down here. Located just south of Paeroa, gold mining history abounds. It’s almost impossible to imagine what it was like at its peak, with the sound of its massive stamping batteries and rich social history of unruly miners, ruthless mining companies, and labour unrest.
There are so many fabulous historical hikes that you’ll want to visit repeatedly, or base yourself in the gorge, at Dickey’s Flat, or at Waihi, (don’t forget to visit the Miner’s Museum and see the thumbs in jars), and allow a few days to enjoy the area.
The more adventurous can do the 4 hour Crown Stope track to or from Dickies Flat, which features the Waitawheta Cascades, and a great 180 meter long tunnel, or you can potter about for an hour doing the marvellous Windows Walk. Make sure to take your togs for a dip, and a torch for the tunnels.
I had the great pleasure of riding an e-bike here, and I strongly recommend that as a thing to do, because why submit yourself to huffing and puffing your way along powered only by your own rapidly diminishing strength. Having said that, I’d also be keen to return simply to walk the trail, although you may not want to walk the entire length as it’s a bit of a stroll at 105km but there are plenty of great sections to choose.
I’m a fan of the Karapiro section, 11.5 km from Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark, to Arapuni village features the fabulous Huihuitaha Wetland Boardwalk, winding 500m through wetlands, and at the end there’s a great view of the historic powerhouse from the Arapuni Swing bridge. Best of all you can then stroll to a very good café for a refreshing cup of tea.
Ah, Auckland. A city built precariously on the remnants of volcanoes. What could possibly go wrong? I suggest finding out by taking a trek to the top of Rangitoto. This is a great stroll because it also includes a boat ride across the Hauraki Gulf. It’s also good because few people realise that Rangitoto is also predator free, so you should see some great birdlife amidst the world’s largest Pohutukawa forest. There’re also options for side-saunters to lava caves. But do take some precautions, it can be a little rough underfoot, and there’s no café. When you reach the summit and are enjoying the views, remind yourself that the last time it erupted was a mere 600 years ago. In volcanic terms that’s pretty much yesterday, so for out of towners it will give you another reason to be thankful you haven’t invested here.
There’s no shortage of great short walks on the West Coast, but the great thing about strolling this old timber tramline is that it’s an old timber tramline, so no steep inclines to speak of, it’s family friendly, and it winds though some magnificent West Coast wetland, and past remnants of the logging industry lying gently rusting by the track. Sometimes it’s so brilliant that I spent a lot of time just staring at the swamp for long periods because it looked just like something from a historical photograph of a landscape I never thought I’d ever see. Do take the short detour to Lake Mahinapua, or simply make that your destination, and sit there and eat whatever lunch you’ve purchased from hip little Hokitika.
Actually, I have never been here, but I really want to because if there is something I enjoy walking to look at its large pieces of abandoned infrastructure. I’d always thought it required some laborious tramp, but it’s a mere 1 and a ½ hours return. Or 2 hours depending on how long you want to sit and stare at the bridge while contemplating the ill-fated settlement and the dismay the returned servicemen must have felt when they turned up here to claim their land ballots, only to discover the bush and the hills and the rising sense of hopelessness. If you’ve never been I might just see you there. It’s worth a stroll for sure.
For more helpful guidance and free resources for planning a family outdoor adventure check out:
1. Plan My Trip; a free online planning tool
2. Get Outdoors Videos; bringing the fun to how-to videos
3. Day Walking eTool; All you need to know in 15 minutes