Three Awesome Walks in New Zealand

The aptly named Forest Parks from Everyday Nomad takes on three awesome walks in New Zealand in this guest post.

 


 

I remember my first moments in the South Island of New Zealand. Bleary eyed, I stumbled off the Bluebridge overnight ferry into the bright light of early morning Picton. We were rushed off into a bus and driven to the Interislander terminal. I was sweaty, dazed and in serious need of sleep. Focused only on finding a place to rest I eagerly looked around for somewhere but my eyes were diverted by unique looking hills that surround the town, low hanging cloud and a stunning view of the fiords out towards the Cooks Straight. I had to take a walk along the promenade to take in these views and suddenly my soggy t-shirt and heavy eyes didn’t matter.

A few hours later, with no sleep still, we got on our bus towards Christchurch. Determined to catch up on sleep I nuzzled into my seat, plugged in my headphones and tried to rest. I made the mistake of peering out the window a short while into the journey and from that point was transfixed with the view all the way to Christchurch. “Wow”, I thought to myself. Everything they say about the beauty of the South is true.

I spent 3-months in the South Island. As many awesome places as I have seen I still feel I have not even scratched the surface! At the time of writing I am just back in the North Island and I thought it would be great to share some awesome walks and photographs from my time in this mesmerising land.

 

Ryde Falls Oxford

Ryde Falls near Mt Oxford

This was one of the first walks we did in the South Island. Located just over an hour outside of Christchurch it’s hardly a busy walk but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Mt Oxford loomed above us but we didn’t have time for a peak this day so we decided to talk the track from Coopers Creek car park to Ryde Falls. The walk took a leisurely 2.5 hours each way with a break at the falls for some food and clambering up the side to see how high we could get!

As the walk starts you find yourself surrounded by black beech forest an almost sickly sweet smell. That smell is honey dew, a sweet liquid excreted from the behinds of the beech scale insects that infest the trees. The sweet liquid acts as a food for all sorts of birds / lizards and you can also eat it yourself! I tried some straight off the tree!

As you keep climbing you find yourself rise out of the bush and onto scrub land for a while and then back into forest until you reach the stunning falls.

More details on the walk and the surrounding area can be found here.

 

Mount Arthur Bush Track

Mt Arthur

Mount Arthur is a serious climb located on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park in the Motueka region. It climbs up to 1,795 m and gives stunning views over Abel Tasman and towards Nelson. This one was hard work but worth every minute.

Like many mountain walks this one starts below the bush line. The paths are steep and steady for a good 3.6 km until you reach Mount Arthur Hut. This part of the walk took us about an hour and we took a well deserved break and bite to eat in the clean serviced hut.

The hut sits just above the bush line so this is where the views start to come in. The track stays steady for a while but starts to get steeper as the peak comes into view. We started spotting large areas of snow mostly in shaded depressions just off the track. Like all grown ups we needed to take a break to play in the snow! Looking back we probably should not have done this as there are warnings about sink holes in this area so it’s best to stick to the tracks!

As we closed in on the summit, tired and ready for the top we were suddenly faced with a long path completely covered in snow. Luckily previous climbers footsteps gave us a route but we had no gear with us so had to take it slow and as safely as we could. The climb was well worthwhile. The peak is a large flat tabletop with 360 degree views.

Mt Arthur Last Climb

Here is a video from the peak.

Whilst on the peak something else amazing happened. We had been hoping to see a Kea. We knew the native bird was common in the area (although there are less than 2000 left in the wild) and had been calling for them all the way up. As we ate our lunch one came in for a look at us! These cheeky alpine parrots are full of mischief and personality and can’t help but pick at everything and dig around wherever they go. They are known for pulling the rubber out of car windows and ripping windscreen wipers off! Our visit was quite innocent with the bird just pulling a few stones out of the ground and digging with a stick before getting the courage to come in very close to us. It seemed more curious than anything else.

Kea on Mount Arthur

More details on the walk and the surrounding area can be found here.

 

Mount Roy 1

Roys Peak

Roys Peak is a real treat and in a stunning part of the country. We stopped by Wanaka for a few nights and didn’t have a whole lot of time. Studying local walks we looked at Roys Peak but decided we couldn’t fit it in.

So, on the day we did want to do a long walk we went into the Wanaka Information Center (known as i-Sites in New Zealand) to ask which walk would be recommended. It was just before one in the afternoon. He told us about a small hill near town, said that around the lake is nice but also commented that we should try and do Roys Peak before we leave. I told him we didn’t think we had time. He said if we left now it would be no problem and that the start of the track was only an hour walk out of town.

Well the walk along the lake front took more like 1.5 hours but we got to the start at about half past two ready to clamber up this 11km track to the 1,578 m peak. We didn’t get back to our accommodation until 11pm exhausted, ready for bed and extremely happy.

The track is steep all the way up but what immediately sets it apart from other walks is that it is open faced from the very beginning. That means no obstruction of the view and it really is stunning from start to finish. The good thing is that even if you only make it up for 40 minutes you will be rewarded with amazing vistas that you won’t forget. Our journey on the mountain itself took around 6 hours return with some time on the peak for eating and taking in the view!

Here are some awesome images to give you a taste of what it is like climbing this beautiful mountain.

Roys Peak view of Lake Wanaka close to peak

Roys Peak view of Lake Wanaka from peak

More details on the walk and the surrounding area can be found here.

Closing thoughts….

New Zealand is stunning North to South and these walks are just a tiny glimpse into the seemingly never ending options you have as a walker. There are the ‘great’ walks which I avoided in this post because they are extremely well documented already but are certainly worth doing. Then there are small short local history walks leading out of almost every town. For someone who likes to wander you’ll never be disappointed and I doubt anyone has covered all of them! You could really spend a lifetime exploring these islands.

So, have you ever been to New Zealand and if so have you completed any of these walks or have any others to recommend? Are you planning a trip there anytime soon and will walking be on your itinerary?

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and start up the conversation.

 

This guest post was written by Forest Parks from EverydayNomad.com. Everyday Nomad is a travel site for the average person who wants to see the world, with thought provoking stories, personal advice and information from direct experiences. As well as visiting the site you can connect with Forest over at Facebook and Twitter. Forest has been in New Zealand for just over a year and is going to be very sad to leave but feels extremely privileged for his time in the land of the long white cloud.

4 Comments

  1. We are planning to have a roundtrip on the south island probably in April or May and we love hiking. After looking through my Lonely Planet I barely found walks you can do in a day – so thanks heaps for sharing!

    Is there a specific time of the your you would recommend for taking the walks?

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