Five must-do family-friendly walks from around the North Island

Escape the devices and the chores and head for the great outdoors with our round-up of easy, energising walks to tackle with the kids.

The best way to escape the daily grind and recharge your batteries is to go wild – in the bush, the local park or even just your back garden.

To inspire you to head for the hills, we’ve discovered some family-friendly walks around the North Island. Created with the support of Nature Valley™ – so you can get out more.

1. Coast to Coast Walk

Region: Auckland

Terrain: City walk

Distance: 16km

Time: 5-7 hours

Who knew you could walk across the entire country in a day! The isthmus between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours is the narrowest neck of land in Aotearoa – so narrow that Maori used this route to carry their canoes from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea.

This well signposted 16km urban walk takes you from Viaduct Harbour in the city centre, via some of the city’s most beautiful parks and volcanic cones, to meet the Manukau at the newly landcaped Taumanu Reserve in Onehunga.

Tip: Pause for a picnic lunch or grab a bite at the kiosk cafés in the Domain or Cornwall Park.

You can find a route map here and more information about the walk here.

2. Monckton Walkway

Photo courtesy of Richard Ashurst/Flickr

Region: Hawke’s Bay

Terrain: Native forest walk

Distance: 2km

Time: 1.5-2 hours

Just 20 minutes’ drive west of Waipukurau, this short bush walk in the 16.5ha Monckton Scenic Reserve takes you through native forest abundant with kahikatea, totara, beech, matai, tawa and kowhai trees, to the picturesque Tangarewai Stream.

It’s an easy, family-friendly walk, but you’ll need to climb down a bank and cross a stream to start the track. Don’t miss a dip in one of the swimming holes along the way.

Tip: Visit in spring to see tui and bellbirds feeding from the prolific kowhai flowers.

You can find a route map here and more information about the walk here.

3. Blue Lake Track

Photo courtesy of DOC.

Region: Bay of Plenty

Terrain: Lakeside walk

Distance: 5.5km loop

Time: 1.5 hours

Nestled between Lake Rotorua and Lake Tarawera, Lake Tikitapu (aka the Blue Lake) is an adventure playground for walkers, mountain bikers and swimmers.

This easy track circumnavigates the lake, beginning at the northern end and traversing a secluded beach at the south end before heading back through the exotic conifers of the Whakarewarewa Forest to the head of the lake.

You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over Lake Tikitapu and nearby Rotokakahi (aka the Green Lake).

Tip: Take your togs so you can stop for a swim at the pumice sand beach. There’s even a waterslide for the kids!

You can find a route map here and more information about the walk here.

4. The Coastal Walkway

Photo by Rob Tucker.

Region: Taranaki

Terrain: Sea-edge promenade

Distance: 12.7km

Time: Up to 2.5 hours

Skimming the coastline to the west of New Plymouth’s city centre, this dramatic public walkway stretches 12.7km in total but the many pedestrian accessways mean you can make your outing as short or long as you like.

Highlights include the Len Lye wind wand adjacent to the CBD and the graceful Te Rewa Rewa Bridge at the northern end of the track. The wide path is a shared walking and cycling track – bring the kids’ bikes, trikes, scooters and skateboards for a fun family outing.

Tip: Electric mobility scooters are available free of charge to use on the western stretch of the walkway. Email [email protected] to book.

You can find a route map here and more information about the walk here.

5. Wrights Hill Loop Walks

Photo courtesy of Wellington City Council.

Region: Wellington

Terrain: Epic hilltop walks

Distance: Salvation Bush Walk 1km, Lookout Loop Walk 2.4km

Time: Salvation Bush Walk 45 minutes, Lookout Loop Walk 1.5 hours

If you’ve visited the Zealandia ecosanctuary in Karori and wondered whether its native birds know where its boundaries are, here’s your chance to find out. Take your pick of two easy hilltop walks looping through the Wrights Hill outer green belt reserve, which borders Zealandia.

The shorter Salvation Bush Walk takes you through dense regenerating bush, while the longer Lookout Loop Walk leads to a scenic lookout and the Wrights Hill Fortress, an extensive network of tunnels, gun emplacements and fortifications built during World War II. The views are, of course, spectacular.

Tip: Time your visit for Waitangi Day, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday or Labour Day, when the historic Wrights Hill Fortress is open to the public.

You can find a route map here and more information about the walk here.

Win your day pack essentials!

Be in to win the ultimate day pack, containing all the essentials for your next outdoor adventure.

Nature Valley™ wants to encourage Kiwi families to go wild in the country, the park or just the back garden – so they’ve put together four ultimate day packs to give away, each worth over $350!

Inside each stylish 18-litre Macpac day pack you’ll find a designer Blunt Metro umbrella, a classic Stanley thermos, SPF50+ sunscreen lotion, insect repellent spray, and enough Nature Valley™ Crunchy, Protein and Nut Butter bars to fuel your entire family on your next adventure – because there’s no such thing as the great indoors.

To be in to win, enter here and tell us your favourite family-friendly day walk. Competition closes 9 February 2020. Terms and conditions apply.

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