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Peak Hill Walkway

By Canterbury, South Island

Peak Hill walkway has spectacular views

By Yvonne van Eerden

With only had five in our tramping group we headed off from Christchurch at 9.00am to Lake Coleridge where we were going to walk to Peak Hill.

We drove through Lake Coleridge village which is very, very small indeed where there is a power station built in 1914. We checked the power station out on the way home.

We continued on a shingle road for about three kilometres where we could see Peak Hill very clearly.  The weather was very calm, with very little wind.

The views even at the start of the walk were very beautiful.

We organized ourselves and started walking around the paddock by the fence as the farmer does not want anyone to disturb the stock (there was no stock today).  After about 10 minutes we started our climb of Peak Hill.

As we went higher we could see Lake Coleridge, it was very blue and the mountains around were spectacular as well.  You had to stop to catch your breath and to take in the view.  We took lots of photos and took the time to look all around us.

We later stopped for morning tea so that we could all catch up together and then soak in the views once again.  Bill and Denise are very quick at going up and we just plodded along and knew we would eventually get to the top, but I must say several times we thought we were at the top but yet again we had another climb.

Once we were at the top we had our lunch and had views of 360 degrees.  The feeling was wonderful, it was such a great walk and we had made it.

Of course the trip down was very quick but we still took time to look around.  Well worth a day trip out for the family, where you can do as much or as little as you want.

Fact file

From Christchurch the driving distance to the start of the Peak Hill Walkway is about 120km.   Driving time about  one hour 40 minutes.

The walkway is sited adjoining Peak Hill Station,  9kms along Algidus Road in the Lake Coleridge area.

From Algidus Road there is a sign and a marked easement over private land, which will take you to the summit along an unformed route.

The walk should take about three hours return, and is suitable for family groups. Peak Hill is a prominent hill on the shores of Lake Coleridge.

At its peak, 1240m, it offers a stunning overview of the lake and surrounding area on a fine day.

The walk to Peak Hill is extremely exposed to the weather and walkers should be well equipped.

The Greytown Trail

By North Island, Wairarapa Walks

The Greytown Trail in the Wairarapa is a scenic 5km walking and cycling track connecting Greytown’s quieter streets to the nearest train station at Woodside.

There is a small carpark at the end of Cotter Street, South Greytown. The beginning of the trail is marked with an overhead sign and an information board.
The track fenced on both sides, winds between old oak trees on one side, and flaxes on the other. Then a straight bit runs between two mounds or stopbanks, and is edged by trees.
The limestone track is completely flat, but looking east down the track, and you see the dark green bulk of the Tararua Ranges in the distance especially in the afternoon.
Greytown is 60m above sea level while Woodside is 91m, so it is a slightly an uphill walk or cycle to Woodside Station and some people seem to have noticed the difference when going both ways.
According to a local it can be fine at Greytown and raining when you get closer to the hills at Woodside and when you return to Greytown the weather is fine again.
Some of the time the trail runs through or along open paddocks, other times it meanders between rows of magnificent old oak trees. According to the information board, these trees were planted alongside the rails when the railway line was built in 1880, for future use as sleepers, but have never been used due to the line closing in 1953.
The trail runs between farms, some with sheep, others with cattle. Sheep can been seen grazing in the paddocks. There are bench seats along in the shade under the oak trees.
At the 2.5km mark the trail crosses a country road that also happens to be the half way mark. There is an information sign showing the history of the track.
The trail now crosses a stream with a bridge and runs alongside a row of pine trees, before entering open paddocks again.
The end of the trail is near Woodside station where a small section of the original railway track with the old sleepers is displayed by the side of the trail. The rails were made in the UK in 1874.
Woodside Station is a functioning railway station, serving Greytown on the Wairarapa Line. This line between Wellington and Masterton caters for the many commuters who live in the Wairarapa, but work in Wellington.
The old station is still there, on the other side of the railway line. When the new station was built, the old building was used as a storage shed for some years, but was later abandoned.
One the return journey from Woodside back to Greytown one enjoys different views with the Gladstone hills forming a magnificent backdrop and offset with deep green hues from trees that line the pretty colonial streets of Greytown.
History
The original survey for the Wairarapa Line, completed in 1876, considered two routes for the line between Featherston and Masterton: the Central route and the Western route. Despite the protestations of the residents of Greytown, the Western route was chosen due to concerns about the possibility of flooding north of Greytown, which meant that the line bypassed Greytown and passed through Woodside instead.
Woodside opened on 14 May 1880 with the extension of the line from Featherston. Until the line from Woodside to Masterton was completed and opened in November of that year, Woodside was the northern terminus of the Wairarapa Line and was operated by the Public Works Department, initially with two mixed trains between Greytown and Wellington each day.
The amenities at Woodside initially consisted of a station building and stationmaster’s house. The station building was on an island platform between the main line and the Greytown Branch, with the junction at the southern end of the platform. There was road access from north of the platform. The branch (eastern) side had two loops, with capacities of 18 and 11 wagons, while on the main line (western) side there were two loops with capacities of 44 and 35 wagons.
Some years after the closure of the Greytown Branch in 1953 the main line yard was removed, and the station building relocated to a new platform on the western side of the main line. A new crossing loop was installed, and the branch sidings reconfigured.
In 1954 the Greytown station building was relocated to Woodside and modified to serve as a goods shed. It is now disused and the loop and sidings have been removed.
With the opening of the line to Masterton and the reversion of the line to Greytown to branch-line status, Woodside became known as Woodside Junction until the closure of the Greytown Branch in 1953: the platform name board read “Woodside Junction. Change here for Greytown.”
“The trail is the culmination of years of hard work by a dedicated group of Greytown residents, the Greytown Trails Trust,” says Barb Hyde, who is the Marketing Manager for Destination Wairarapa.
The dual purpose track follows the route of the Greytown-Woodside branch rail line, which closed in 1953.  Stage one of the trail was completed in 2011 and stage two in 2013 – with both stages being a total of 5km. The Trust holds regular working bees to ensure the track is maintained and local groups, such as the Ruamahanga Ramblers, often choose it to base their regular running and walking outings.
“Although, a short distance from the Main Street of Greytown – with its boutique shopping and bustling cafes – riders feel like they are in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by farmland, stunning rural views with the only sound coming from nearby stock, it’s no wonder the trail has grown in popularity for recreational cyclists, walkers and runners over the years,” says Barb.
Plans are afoot to hopefully connect the trail with the nearby township of Featherston and to extend the trail from Woodside so it extends north and loops back to Greytown.
How to get there
From the Greytown end, the 5km trail starts at Cotter Street, the second left off Humphries Road (turn off Main Street at the Challenge Service Station) at the southern end of the town. You can also link up with another cycleway running from Udy Street to the Waiohine River.
The Greytown Trail is suitable for prams, road and mountain bikes. It’s not suitable for racing bikes, horses or motorbikes. And please keep your dog on a leash.
If you’re arriving by train, why not bring your bike and ride into town to work up an appetite for lunch? Or catch a pre-booked Rimutaka Shuttles or Martinborough Shuttles from the station.

Opunake Walkway

By North Island, Taranaki Walks

The Opunake Walkway is the longest of the formal South Taranaki walks and takes you through beautiful lake and beach scenery.

The Opunake Walkway is the longest of the formal South Taranaki walks and takes you through beautiful lake and beach scenery.
It travels around Opunake Lake and across the cliffs, providing views of Te Namu Pa, Mt Taranaki and the rugged coastline. The lake is popular for boating, swimming and water skiing
The walk can be started from a number of easily accessible points but if you wish to complete the whole walk, the best place to begin is by the boat ramp at the Opunake Lake (Layard St).
Along this walk you will find many points of great historic and environmental interest, including:
Opunake Lake The lake is used to provide hydroelectricity. It was once a vegetable garden used to supply the Armed Constabulary and early settlers. There are public toilets at this stop for your use.
Armed Constabulary Cemetery The cemetery is located on the headland that juts into the lake. It has four historic headstones. The perimeters of the cemetery are unknown but some cairns help estimate the cemetery boundaries.
Orimupiko Cemetery This cemetery is adjacent to the entrance to the Armed Constabulary Cemetery. It is located on a former pa site.
Waiaua River Mouth This is a must-stop location – it will offer you extraordinary views of Taranaki’s dynamic coastline.
The Cottage Hospital The hospital was the birthplace of many famous New Zealanders including runner Peter Snell.
Opunake Beach The Riviera of South Taranaki is an outstanding, natural surf attraction that draws visitors and surfers from all over the world. A holiday park and playground are available. The beach was also recently upgraded to offer barbecues and picnic sites for everyone’s use.
The Lion’s Lookout The lookout is located next to the ramp by the old wharf and offers clear views of the Taranaki Bight.
Middleton Bay has a boat ramp for easy launching, though it is not a safe swimming beach.
Te Namu Pa The pa is visible from the northern end of the walkway and is an extremely important site in Taranaki.
It was the location of a famous battle where Wiremu Kingi Matakatea repelled 800 Waikato Maori and successfully withstood a month-long siege armed with a single rifle.
The best access to the site is via Opunake Cemetery and then over the Otahi Stream. Te Namu Pa is on private property and the owners and the Historic Places Trust ask that the area be treated with care and respect. There are open food storage pits and tunnels on the site and these can be dangerous.
There are comprehensive maps for your information at either end of the walk.

Kitchener Park Reserve Walk

By Manawatu Walks, North Island

Kitchener Park is a much prized bush reserve, a mere few minutes drive from Feilding, in the Manawatu.

Kitchener Park  was created by the then Feilding Borough Council in 1916 and named after Lord Kitchener, the British Cabinet Minister and War Secretary.

The park is an important remnant of lowland semi-swamp podocarp forest, one of the best and last-remaining in the Manawatu.

The park contains many fine specimens of kahikatea, totara, rimu, pukatea and kowhai trees, including until recently, New Zealand’s tallest kowhai.   There are also many rare species of fungus and insect life in the park, which have been the subject of some intensive study by national and overseas scientists.

The forest has suffered many flooding events over the years, and sustained major damage in the Feilding floods of 2004, and again in June 2015.

Two significant streams, the Mangaone and the Makino, meet at the park, and flooding has brought major damage to the area, including the introduction of the weed tradescantia (Wandering Jew), which has been an ongoing challenge to control.

When the Feilding Freezing Works closed in 1994, local pastor Gavin Scott gathered a group of unemployed freezing workers, and for many years they maintained the park, constructed boardwalks, and managed the weeds.  Gavin and his many workers,  volunteers, troubled youth, community groups, have put countless hours into improving the park and making it available to visitors.

In 2014, the Manawatu District Council, at the prompting of the then mayor Ian McKelvie, created the Kitchener Park Trust with Geoff Lovegrove, QSM, JP as chairman.  On its inception, the trust appointed Gavin Scott as Honorary Curator.

When the trust sought registration as a trust, it was necessary to change its name, and after consultation with local iwi, Ngati Kauwhata, the official name of the trust became the Awahuri Forest Trust – Kitchener Park.

The weather event of June 2015 severely damaged the boardwalk, and after a year’s delay, the new boardwalk, with extensions, was commenced.   This was completed early in 2017.

The trust has sought funding from various charitable organisations to replace and add new signage and with the support of the Manawatu District Council, has ambitious plans for this significant taonga in the Manawatu, and looks forward to making ongoing improvements to the park.

A large number of people visit the park, where walking and cycling trails are being established, with many opportunities for recreation and study.

Feilding’s Kowhai Park, a major attraction in the town, is also linked to the park with a track that run beside the Makino Stream on one side and Manfield Event Centre on the other, providing an excellent destination for people of all ages to enjoy.

The park has well sign posted directions and signs giving the names of trees and plants.

As a very leisurely pace the walk takes about an hour.  If people wish to stay longer there are a number of clearings ideal for picnics.

Martha Mine Pit Rim Walk

By Bay of Plenty Walks, North Island

By Judy Eva
Waihi’s Pit Rim Walkway/Cycleway is a most enjoyable walk that starts at the Waihi Information Centre and also ends there.

Waihi’s Pit Rim Walkway/Cycleway is a most enjoyable walk that starts at the Waihi Information Centre and also ends there.
Only metres from the centre of Waihi township and directly across the street opposite the I Site (Information Centre) is the start of this great walk/cycle path.
You can take the stairs from the footpath or if you have a bike there is access to the right of the stairs along the footpath where you can use the concrete ramp that is designed for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. This will take you up to the beginning of the walk/cycle path.
This old gothic style Cornish pump house that sits on the top of the hill above the street was based on a design used in the tin mines in Cornwall England. It was used to house the steam engines that operated the huge pumps that kept the Martha Mine from flooding. It looks so grand and gives pleasant memories of the old history of New Zealand. So very great that it has been preserved.
Follow the fenced path to the left and around the top of the rim and as you look down you will be blown away by the size and depth of the pit which was once a hill and is now sitting100ms below sea level.
Unfortunately due to a million tonne fall of rock and earth several years ago access around the complete top area of the rim is closed off for safety reasons and operations of the mine have been put on hold so the original path that circled the top of the mine travels a short distance along the top edge where the rest of the path is netted off and detours onto the street below. This entails travelling a short distance along the street to access the new track.
You will be directed down onto the street by well marked arrow signs which you will follow for the rest of your walk/cycle around the base of the mine. Once on this street turn right and follow the well marked arrow signs where further along you will be directed up a hill on the right. It is from here that the track begins. Unfortunately the rim is now out of view until you return to the finish back at the pump house.
The gravel track continues clockwise around the western end of the mine (well marked by arrows) and meanders through native bush, acres of old gold mining relics are scattered along the way beside the path where it is worth spending some time for a bit of history of old New Zealand.
There are also scenic parklands and a small wetland area along the way. Follow the arrows which will take you back to the start on the top of the rim by the old pump house. There are many delightful café’s in the area of this quaint lovely little town where you can rest your wary legs and body and soak up a well deserved coffee or tea.
Waihi is a town with a history of mining and has adopted the name from the meaning Heart of Gold. It is well worth a visit for those who want to relive the old gold mining days. There is the Waihi Goldmine Discovery Centre that is worth a visit to learn more about this very interesting old town.
The walk is approximately 4 kms and it took me three hours taking into account my casual stopping to explore old relics, taking photos and due to the heat in January I wasn’t in a hurry.

McLaren Falls Park

By Bay of Plenty Walks, North Island

Colourful in Autumn

The best short walk ever? My best short walk has always been around the “Mount” – Mt Maunganui.

By Judy Simpson
But perhaps this walk is even better, 20 kms out of Tauranga, up the Kaimais is McLarens Falls Park.
Leaving the main highway you round a corner and there the rushing, racing waters of the two rivers make a spectacular picture and a great picnic spot but we mustn’t stop as the Park and Autumn calls.
The short drive to the first car park is through an avenue of huge plane trees. They tower above and the brown, yellow leaves cover the tarmac and make a crisping sound under the tyres.
Conveniently, no pun intended, there are excellent toilets, a large story/map board and a small indoor display/information area plus an excellent café, The Falls Retreat. Shut today (Monday)
We like to begin our walk from here as it gives us a longer short walk. Down the steps to the lake, this morning still and reflective. Yea! No wind.
It’s very noisy as the tuis and fantails chat overhead and on the lake the ducks chatter to each other. We wondered what they were saying as they scrabbled across the water.
Lots of swans too but they were silently and elegantly dipping and diving for breakfast.
At every turn we oohed and aahed and the camera clicked and whirred.
We’d missed the best of the colours, the leaves probably ravaged in the last rain storm. Maybe the gingkos are more delicate than the sturdy liquid ambers.
Oh, those liquid amber trees—the leaves so red they looked like raspberries. The path is brilliant. Wide enough for two to walk together and chat and no need to constantly watch your step for tripping roots.
Our short walk follows the edge of the lake closely with bridges and the odd gate to keep the sheep from straying.
The golden bronze of the Swamp Cyprus glowed in the sunshine. It’s strange to see such beautiful trees growing straight up out of the water. Why don’t they get waterlogged and drown?
We stopped to watch a group from a playcentre delightedly toddling around, chasing the ducks and gathering up the bright leaves. Mums, and a Dad too, bravely giving the littlies freedom to run. Phones catching the moment.
What a wonderful sound the swans make as they land on the water and why do the paradise ducks always stay on the other side of the lake? A congregation of noise.
Further on the liquid ambers drape into the water and the flax bushes make a hiding place for the little black coots. Across the lake the paddocks turn into a forest of pine trees. Their reflections looking like a spill of huge matchsticks.
The track narrows and the walk slips through a wetland where the pukekos fluff their white bottom feathers at you and dive into a hidey hole in the swamp.
The path leads into stand of native bush. It’s damp and mossy and much cooler in here. Steps up give you a good cardiac workout. (you can avoid these by taking a short cut up through the freedom camping ground).
Along the road a little way and over a cattlestop and then it’s “choices.” Climb up more steps on the right for a longer walk, views and a chat with the sheep or amble along the road for a short distance and rejoin the lakeside track.
Funny how everything looks different on the homeward journey. You always seem to see something you missed.
On a weekday morning, with few people about this is a magic walk at any time of the year. The coffee shop open would be icing on the cake.
A short walk to share.
McLarens Falls Park is managed by the Tauranga City Council. It is 20 kms from Tauranga on SH 29.

Bay of Islands Walking Weekend

By North Island, Northland Walks, Walking Festival

Mana, missionaries, mayhem
From 16-18 October 2020

By Steph Godsiff

There is so much heritage, history and culture in the Bay of Islands, rich in Maori and pre-European stories of how the country was settled. On the Bay of Islands Walking Weekend we have introduced a new walk this year which brings these stories to life.  It makes a huge difference being in a location and really understanding what went on – often in the spot you are sitting.  Mana, missionaries and mayhem” sets the scene perfectly for your time in Russell.

Russell (Kororareka as it was then known) was once the main trading port in Aotearoa, with the infamous reputation as the ‘hell hole of the Pacific’. Home to American whalers and traders of all nations, it was a scene of ‘uncivilised behaviour’ described by Charles Darwin in his visit to New Zealand in 1835 as ‘the land of cannibalism, murder and all atrocious crimes’.

It was known then as the biggest whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere and turned out to be a bit of an eye opener for the missionaries. Up to 500 whalers at a time would arrive in Russell after twelve months at sea, and with Russell having no effective law enforcement agency, the scene was not ideal. Prostitution was one of the area’s largest industries and many local women frequently entered 3-week marriages.

It is anything but that today as your guided walk in this enchanting seaside town will soon reveal. Indeed, alongside this picture of ‘vice’ ran the voice of ‘virtue’ as Missionaries sought to convert local Maori (and anyone else who would listen) to Christianity.

There is a decent hike up through magnificent Kororareka Point Reserve to Te Maiki Hill where a party led by the famed Maori chief Hone Heke felled the flagstaff for the final time in 1845 sparking the Battle of Kororareka, the first of the Northern Wars. Take in New Zealand’s oldest surviving church, Christ Church built 1836, where bullet holes from musket fire of the Northern Wars can still be seen in its walls, and New Zealand’s oldest factory – the 1841 Printery, Tannery and Bindery at Pompallier Mission.  Oldest factory makes it sound somewhat dull!  Pompallier Mission is anything but – it’s set on the water’s edge and is a stunning French building set in gorgeous grounds.

Finish this walk with a taste at New Zealand’s oldest licensed hotel The Duke of Marlborough.  The Duke of Marlborough began its life in 1827 as “Johnny Johnston’s Grog Shop”. The owner Johnny Johnston was an ex-convict come good, he became fluent in Te Reo Maori and was very well regarded by the local Maori. This relationship led to Johnny being able to purchase the freehold site of the Duke – which was one of the first land sales to a European in New Zealand.  To sit on the deck enjoying a cold drink overlooking the water is a real pleasure – made more so as you imagine the days gone by.

This walk is fascinating and includes a private tour of Pompallier Mission and a drink at the Duke.

The Bay of Island Walking Weekend has over 20 walks to choose from, it is in its 7th year and has many repeat walkers coming each year which speaks volumes for the event.   You can walk the islands – travelling out by sail boat, tall ship or launch, we walk to vineyards for tastings and platters,  stroll past oyster farms and enjoy seafood feasts, stay overnight at Iconic Cape Brett, we walk and kayak and we walk and bike!   The weekend is over 3 days, walks are guided, and group size is limited.  It is a fun social weekend right in the heart of the Bay of Islands.

View the website www.boiwalkingweekend.co.nz

Call us 021 122 9307

Queen Charlotte Track

By South Island

Queen Charlotte Track . . . Here we come!

By Juliet Gibbons

We’re all going on a summer holiday
No more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
No more worries for me or you,
For a week or two.

We’re going where the sun shines brightly
We’re going where the sea is blue.
We’ve all seen it on the movies,
Now let’s see if it’s true.

They say that a change is as good as a holiday and if COVID-19 has taught us anything at all, it’s that change can remind us of what is important in life. Family, friends, good times, fun in the sun and laughter. And, of course, the importance of being kind.
The operators behind the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds know something about most of these things, fun in the sun being one of them! Located in one of the sunniest regions in New Zealand, the great summer climate is one of the attractions they are keen to encourage New Zealanders to come and experience for themselves this coming summer.
There’s also history here too. The Queen Charlotte Track offers a spectacular 72km hike from the historic Meretoto/Ship Cove through to picturesque Anakiwa. Ship Cove is a place that features high on the list of most iconic historic places for New Zealanders to visit as it was here the first sustained contact between the New Zealand Maori and the European took place.
This came to national prominence earlier this year as New Zealand commemorated 250 years since the arrival of Captain James Cook in what became the precursor to European settlement in New Zealand.
Meretoto/Ship Cove was the epicentre of English navigator Captain James Cook’s explorations in the South Pacific – a snug cove in the outer Queen Charlotte Sound where he replenished water supplies, rested his men and repaired his ships on five different visits between 1770 and 1777. British sovereignty was first proclaimed by Cook over the South Island when the British flag was formally raised on the summit of Motuara Island, opposite Ship Cove, on 31st January 1770.
As well as its historical connections, the Queen Charlotte Track is a truly unique New Zealand walk due to its variety of landscapes as the well-defined track passes through lush coastal forest, meanders around tranquil bays and traverses skyline ridges affording unsurpassed views of the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds.
The terrain is regarded as undulating with hills ranging from sea level to just over 400 metres and most of the track is wide and benched which makes for a pleasant stroll. The trail crosses a mixture of public and private land, a unique partnership between the Department of Conservation, QCTLC (Queen Charlotte Track Land Co-operative) and Marlborough District Council, and visitors are required to have purchased the appropriate pass if crossing the private land sections.
You will find real New Zealand here – where friendly locals welcome you to their door, your bags are transferred each day and the access is easy while you adventure. This is a walking track where you can create memories in your own style and at a budget that suits your wallet.
The track can be walked year-round thanks to that great Marlborough Sounds’ climate with the most popular season being from November to May. It is also a popular trail for mountain bikers with some sections open all year to enjoy. The majority of visitors access the track by boat from the port of Picton but day walks are available where the road meets the track such as at Anakiwa, Torea Bay and Te Mahia Saddle.
You can camp at Department of Conservation campsites, private campsites and farm stays, or opt for accommodation in backpackers, home stays, bed and breakfasts, retreats and lodges or hotels along the way all while taking advantage of the water transport services which allow your luggage to be transferred each day.
Cook for yourself or take the night off, if staying at or near accommodation with restaurants. Many of the smaller lodges offer catering options too.
For those with a little more time, or seeking something a little different, there are many other activities that can be enjoyed along the way. These include swimming, fishing, sailing, sea kayaking, bird and dolphin watching, diving and historic side trips. Glow-worm grottos add to the nightlife.
There are guided and unguided packaged walking options available too and both can have their packs carried for them from any of the access points along the track by arrangement with transport operators. The sheer pleasure of arriving or departing the track by sea adds to the experience and with its historic interest and many comfortable accommodation houses along the way serving good food and wine, it could easily be called the ‘gourmet’s trail’.
Come and experience the breathtaking ridge top panoramas of Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds and enjoy the company of friendly hosts and superb food and wine. For more information on how to book your ‘summer holiday’ see the official track website at www.qctrack.co.nz

The Queen Charlotte Track – Why Walk When You Can Ride?

The Queen Charlotte Track is one of New Zealand’s best-loved walking trails, but it is also a popular destination for mountain bikers as one of New Zealand’s Great Rides on the Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail.
It offers a unique combination of beautiful coastal scenery, native bush, stunning views and New Zealand history. The natural appeals are complimented by easy access, an outstanding choice of hosted accommodation, pack transfers and a wide variety of flexible options for day or multiday trips, including all-inclusive packages from local providers. It offers bikers an exhilarating and challenging experience over 72km and is able to be biked comfortably in three days.
The Queen Charlotte Track has long been regarded as one of the best single tracks in the country. The track is graded as advanced/grade 4 for mountain biking although some sections are easier than others and lend themselves to day rides for those not wanting to attempt the entire track. The demographic of those riding the track is also changing as biking grows in popularity amongst older age groups.
Most riders will find some sections of the track easier to walk and you will likely need to push your bike in certain parts. If you are fit and experienced at mountain biking, most of the track is very rideable, albeit steep and challenging in certain sections, especially when rain has rendered it slippery and muddy. Less experienced riders may prefer to avoid the ridge-top sections of the central part of the track by riding along Kenepuru Road between Kenepuru Saddle and Portage Bay, still enjoying wonderful Sounds views.
The Marlborough Sounds is an iconic New Zealand destination – an intricate land mass, making up one fifth of New Zealand’s coastline, of numerous bays and coves caused by the drowning of river valleys by rising oceans over the past 10,000 years.
It is through this awe-inspiring landscape bikers can test themselves against a trail which takes them from shoreline to skyline, through magnificent virgin native forest at the track’s start at Meretoto/Ship Cove as well as regenerating forest and farmland along the rest of its length. Mountain biking is one of the best ways to explore this stunning area and learn about its fascinating history.
Although challenging in parts, the Queen Charlotte Track experience is made all the easier with the thought of comfortable lodgings awaiting each evening from backpackers through to lodges and even hotels. And the best part is your pack is transferred for you between your night time stays, by one of the water transport operators, so all you have to do is ride.
Important Footnote: You can bike the whole track from Ship Cove to Anakiwa between 1 March and 30 November each year. From 1 December to the end of February, the track is open for mountain biking between Kenepuru Saddle and Anakiwa. As the track is a shared use track and popular with walkers, you will need to ride in control and be prepared for walkers around each corner. Riding in the same direction as most others, from Ship Cove to Anakiwa is advised. For more information visit www.qctrack.co.nz

Walking the Talk
Queen Charlotte Track Inc. has championed the virtues of the Queen Charlotte Track since 1993 and COVID-19 is a challenge the organisation is ready to meet and overcome.
Chairman Rob Burn is set to ‘walk the talk’ of supporting local when he and his wife Carolyn retrace the steps she last walked 25 years ago, completing most of the Queen Charlotte Track this winter.
“I have promised Carolyn a walk on the Queen Charlotte Track the first chance we get, seeing our own backyard, especially with our Autumn weather still good,” he says.
“Most of our operator members have not had an easy time over the last few months and without international flights our tourism businesses will likely just be welcoming our fellow Kiwis who we hope will explore our local offerings to get us through this coming Winter and Summer,” he says.
Rob and his wider committee are motivated to ensure New Zealanders are aware of the wonderful experience the Queen Charlotte Track offers.
“Our other ray of sunshine could be the ‘Trans-Tasman Bubble’ concept being worked on now. We all know our Aussie cousins and expat Kiwis love to walk, cycle, eat and drink and that is what the Queen Charlotte Track can offer in abundance,” he says.
So fellow New Zealanders, there has never been a better time to follow in Rob’s footsteps, to support local New Zealand walking trails like the Queen Charlotte Track and venture out into your big backyard.

What are you waiting for New Zealand?

Pukerua Bay to Plimmerton

By North Island, Wellington Walks

Wednesday Trampers go to the Seaside

Words by Ian Brookes, Photos by William

In November, 18 intrepid Wednesday trampers and a small dog left Memorial Park at 7.30am for their annual trip to the beach at Pukerua Bay north of Wellington.

On our way south, the weather looked rather threatening, with low cloud over the Tararua Ranges (using the terminology recommended in Backcountry), but clearer out to sea. We assembled at the end of the Pukerua Bay Beach Road to walk round the Wairaka Headland to Plimmerton and return via the inland route.

There was a chilly breeze from the West as we set off, but this dropped once we rounded Wairaka Head and the weather from thereon was fine and sunny.

The path is flanked by steep grassy slopes on which a number of feral goats were seen grazing. We soon reached a strategically placed wooden gate leaning against the rocks which is easily climbed and then after a scramble round the  headland made it on to a long sweep of beach. This consists of large pebbles and small boulders, which need care in negotiating.

On the way, we encountered a small dead blue penguin washed up on the beach. There is plenty of driftwood at the high tide mark, and after an hour’s walking we chose to sit on some largish logs for morning tea.

The beach eventually leads to a further half hour’s walking on a gravel track heading towards Plimmerton. While on the track, we encountered a walker with two large dogs. An attempt to get them onto leads was only partially successful and one of them charged towards one of our trampers, but no damage was done.

Having passed through the Hongoeka Marae Village, we reached the boating club, where four of our number decided to head into Plimmerton and take the train back to Pukerua Bay.

The rest of us continued into the Karehana Bay Scenic Reserve, where we had lunch at the bottom of a long and steep flight of steps. These provided a challenge immediately after lunch, but the party all reached the top, albeit somewhat puffed.

We then headed up the Taua Tapu Track passing alpacas and donkeys on lifestyle blocks. The track reaches a trig at 114 metres and then descends to Airlie Road. We followed this past the Whenua Tapu Crematorium until we reached the Ara Harakeke walkway which runs parallel to SH1. This winds uphill for about two kilometres to the Pukerua Bay shops. Walking on the asphalt left some trampers in need of refreshment and it was disappointing to find the dairy’s ice cream chiller had lost power.

Another 20 minutes along Rawhiti Road led to the Goat Track, which descends by a number of steep steps down to the beach. Everyone was back to the vehicles by 2.15pm to find the train travellers had arrived safely before us. We then reconvened for coffee and ice creams in Paekakariki.

It was generally agreed that this was the preferred route, rather than that in previous years, when we went inland first. Doing it this way meant the rocky beach was tackled at the start of the day, even though the finish involved the rather tedious walk up the shared cycle path. The statistics collected at the end of the day showed we had walked a distance of almost 17 kilometers.

Te Henui Extension

By North Island, Taranaki Walks

Te Henui extension  a rustic and interesting stroll

Popular New Plymouth walk by Judy Eva

The popular award winning Te Henui Walk/Cycleway which starts at East End Beach, New Plymouth and follows the Te Henui River exiting in  Cumberland Street, has an extension probably not well known to visitors.

It carries on across Cumberland Street and through a rustic and interesting stroll.

If you have started the walk from the east end and exited at Cumberland Street turn right onto the footpath, over the road bridge and cross Cumberland Street to the grass area where there is a New Plymouth District Council signpost just off the footpath titled Te Henui Extension and Durham Avenue each with an arrow pointing to the start of the walk. These are the arrows you need to follow. The track starts at the rear of the grassy area.

The extension walk is very different to the main Te Henui Walk/Cycleway (not suitable for bikes) and is broken into different area’s which involves walking through several streets and can be quite confusing, however is worth making the effort.

The track is more narrow but well maintained. It starts off with a pleasant rustic walk, the river on your left side and a view down into a valley that has a grotto of punga trees and ferns. There are several little wooden bridges along the way.

There are several signposts on the right side of the track that take you up to the road above, leads to several streets and is the main road to Inglewood. Not for you.

Keep following the main track (river on your left) until you come to about 12 steps with a forked path at the top leading left and right. Keep left and follow the signpost that says Durham Avenue continuing around through an open space where you will come to a bush area with steps leading down into a tree covered dell and over a small wooden bridge before climbing up stairs to the top again.

When you reach the top veer right and take the short narrow path that leads between fenced houses on either side ending out onto the top end of Durham Avenue which is a cul de sac.

Cross over onto the left side of the street and walk down to the bottom where you will be in Junction Street. Turn left and then left again at the next corner which is London Terrace. A short way along there is a lane on the right hand side of the road leading up a hill with a sign at the entrance stating Access to Heta Road.

Walk up the lane turning right at the top (there are houses on either side) and follow the lane to the end where there is a walkway exit on the right that takes you onto Heta Road. At this point if you do not wish to continue the walk, turn left on Heta Road walk to the bottom of the hill and you will be back in Cumberland Street. If you wish to continue the walk cross Heta Road turn right and then left into a small cul de sac further along called Frank Frethey Place.

Cross over onto the right hand side of Frank Frethey Place, walk a short distance along and you will see a grass lane entrance between number 10 and number 12. Take this entrance where there are steps leading down to another tree and bush covered dell.

Another lot of steep steps to climb up again and the track will then take you out into an open space where there is a fork, one leading into a street and housing area and the other turning left down a hill. Take the left and you will be walking on a gravel path alongside a large timber and corrugated iron fence on your right and a ditch on your left.

As you walk further on there will be houses on either side and the ditch will now be on your right. This area is new housing.

This path will eventually lead you through another short tree lined track and out onto the bottom of Heta Road where the walk finishes.

Turn the right and a short distance takes you back onto Cumberland Street, turn left there, cross the road and you will be back at the entrance to the main Te Henui Walkway that leads back to East End Beach. If the road is busy with traffic there is an underpass you can use.

If you don’t wish to do the complete walk starting at East End you can start the extension walk from Cumberland Street where you can park your car if you have one. The entrance to both walkways is at the bottom of the hill in Cumberland Street. Plenty of parking there.

The extension walk is easy walking and the steep stairs up and down in both dells are the only challenging part. You need good walking shoes. This walk would be about an hour to an hour and a half from the Cumberland Street entrance.