North island short walks with wonders

When I was young I used to moan to my parents that I didn’t see the point in walking when you weren’t going anywhere.

Since then I have come to appreciate the pleasure in walking, especially when exploring a new city or landscape. But I do still like to be rewarded for my efforts and these are 5 short walks we’ve taken in the north island have done just that.

Cathedral Cove (Coromandel)
Approx time: 45 mins each way
Starting point: At the end of Grange Road at Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula. Turn left just past the Hahei shops (signposted to Cathedral Cove) or take the park and ride from the town.
Wonders: Stunning views, cows, bays and a secluded beach with clear blue waters, split in half by a rock arch.

The day we visited the waves were strong down at the Cove but was great for swimming and sunbathing. Gorgeous place to spend an afternoon. We got caught in a tropical downpour on the walk back up.

More route info

Mount Eden (Auckland)
Approx time: 1 hr
Starting point: Owens Road, off Stokes Road/Mt Eden Road. We walked from the city centre and it only took a couple of hours in total.
Wonders: Volcano crater, views (higher than the Sky Tower) of Auckland city, Waitemata Harbour and the Waitakere Hills.

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View of Auckland from Mt Eden

More route info

Upper Nihotupu Dam (Waitakere Ranges, West Auckland)

Waitakere Ranges - track to Nihotupu dam (2)  Waitakere Ranges - Nihotupu dam (2)
Approx time: 45 mins – 1 hr return
Starting Point: From Scenic Drive follow signs to Piha along Piha Road. The Nihotupu Dam car park not far along, on the left,
Wonders: weir waterfalls, dense bush and a 12.5 hectares dam, completed in 1923.

More route info

Waikato River Trail (nr Taupo)
Approx time: 1 hr
Starting Point: Mangakino
Wonders: rock formations, winding tracks through bush and a 70m long suspension bridge.

Mangakino is a small lakeside village near Taupo boasting 100km of cycling and walking tracks along the banks of the Waikato River. We just did a short walk from Arapuni Rd past a small campsite and barely saw anyone on our route.

More route info

Rangitoto island summit (Auckland)

Rangitoto crater  Rangitoto (19)
Approx time: 1 hr
Starting point: Rangitoto Wharf (catch ferry from downtown Auckland)
Wonders: Lava rocks, dormant volcano, views back to Auckland city

We visited on a very hot day and joined the volcanic explorer tour at the wharf rather than walking directly to the summit. This was a bumpy, tractor-pulled train that takes you on a loop of the island, stopping halfway at the base of a boardwalk leading to the summit. This ascent only took 20 mins and was definitely the most gentle way to reach the top, which gives amazing views across the Hauraki Gulf.

More route info

We did intend to walk the 16km Coast to Coast while in Auckland, but think we’re more suited to short walks with quick rewards!

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