New Zealand is full of magnificent landscapes. The North Island is home to volcanoes, long rivers, native rainforest bushes, and steep valley sides. The South Island is home to paradise beaches, majestic mountains, beech forests, and secluded tussock lands.
Finding the best free walks in New Zealand can be a tasking process. The truth is, whichever trail you choose, the experience ought to be mind-blowing. But, here is a list of four of the best free walks in New Zealand to make your choices easy.
1. Karangahake Gorge Windows
If you are on the North Island, you should consider taking a walk through the 7 km Karangahake Gorge. This historic walkway is one of the best free trails in New Zealand. The tracks on the walk mirror the bends of River Ohinemuri.
You will come across many signs of the old railway times on this walk. Several locations on the walk house ancient mining relics. Eventually, the trail leads to the Owharoa Falls and the Victoria Battery entrance.
The entire walk has a 4 hour return time. If you wish to take a shorter loop section, you can walk through the two bridges and the 1100 m railway tunnel. To get to the site, park by the Karangahake Domain car park or Hall between the Waihi and Paeroa on SH2.
2. The Kura Tawhiti Access Track
This is a world-renowned site for rock climbing. The 1.4 Km walk track will give you access to stunning limestone rocks. Even though you can see the rock formations from the highway, watching them up close is more satisfying.
enjoy open pasture beneath the limestone features and giant stones along the trail. The track starts at the Castle Hill Village on SH 73.
3. Cathedral Cove Walk
You can explore the coastline by taking this 2.5 km walk with an hour and a half return time. Start your walk at Hahei and descend into the Gemstone Bay Valley. You will pass through a grove of native puriri trees when walking through the side loop track.
When back on the trail, you will reach the highpoint after passing through a pasture, a pine forest, and scrubland. From here, you can enjoy the view of the offshore islands. When you go down to the water, your walk will take you through a majestic natural rock arch. The arch joins the two Cathedral Cove sandy beaches.
4. Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway
The Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway is another trail that joins the best free walks in the New Zealand list. 5 km long, the walkway takes about two to three hours of return time. The site is located at the Twin Coast Highway just north of Te Hana.
Start your walk by heading north along the beach. After 20 minutes, you will come across signposts that will lead you on a steep climb to the top of the cliff. On your way, you will experience native nikau, taraire, and pohutukawa trees.
Below the track, you will find a giant staircase carved from the hillside. At the top of the cliff, enjoy the breathtaking views of the offshore islands, the Hauraki Gulf, and the Bream Head.
From 1st September to end of October, the track that links the Cove road and Mangawhai walk is
closed for calving and lambing.
Charvi Shah is the co-founder of Love with Travel Blog. She loves helping people unplug from the chaos, follow their bliss, travel more and create better memories. She inspires many people to travel more! Charvi`s travel focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.
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