Top 10 Short Walks in New Zealand
New Zealand boasts an abundance of short walks for all levels of fitness – from coastal trails and forest trails to ancient glaciers and coastal walks. No matter what your level is, there’s sure to be a trail that suits you perfectly!
One of the most popular New Zealand short walks is Sealy Tarns Track in Mount Cook National Park, which ascends 2000 stairs to reach Sealy Tarns waterfall before embarking on a more challenging path to Mueller Hut.
1. Sealy Tarns Track
Sealy Tarns Track in Mount Cook National Park is an exceptional half day hike that rewards you with stunning views of snow-covered mountains, glaciers and lakes in just 1.5-2 hours.
From White Horse Hill Campground, follow the Kea Point Track until you come upon a sign for Sealy Tarns. From there, it’s a 2200 step climb upwards to the summit.
2. Huka Falls
Huka Falls is one of New Zealand’s most beloved natural attractions, offering visitors both serenity and excitement. Cascading water plumes from beneath a volcanic gorge into an 11 metre pool below.
Taupo’s stunning waterfalls can be explored on foot or by taking a jet boat ride. Enjoy stunning views of the falls from multiple lookout points along the trail as you take in its splendour.
3. Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove Walk is one of the most stunning spots on the Coromandel Peninsula. This clifftop walk winds its way through a naturally formed archway to connect two secluded beaches.
It’s a short walk that takes about an hour. You can choose to do it alone or with a guide.
4. Tasman Glacier Lookout
Tasman Glacier Lookout, located a mere five-minute walk from the carpark and taking only twenty minutes in total, provides an unbeatable vantage point over Tasman Glacier lake. In summer months, you may even spot floating icebergs floating beneath the surface.
Are you searching for an alternative to the Blue Lakes trail? Look no further! This trail is more gradual and boasts far fewer stairs than its counterpart, making it a great choice!
5. Blue Pools
One hour’s drive from Wanaka on the way to the West Coast, Blue Pools are one of Mount Aspiring National Park’s premier short walks.
These crystal clear pools are formed when the waters of the Blue River and Makarora River merge.
This trail winds its way through a native silver beech forest and across a swing bridge, offering stunning views of the mountains and deep blue water below.
6. Castle Hill
If you’re searching for a short walk in New Zealand that offers stunning views and abundant wildlife, Castle Hill is the place to go. These limestone rock formations have long been associated with spirituality by the Ngai Tahu tribe; their name translates as ‘treasure from distant land’.
This conservation area is home to some of New Zealand’s rarest plants, such as a type of grass and three-centimetre high sedge. Thankfully, native replanting is being done to restore this area back to its native state.
7. Devil’s Punchbowl Falls
For a quick waterfall fix in New Zealand, Devil’s Punchbowl Falls is the perfect destination. Situated near Arthur’s Pass, this easy walk rewards you with an impressive 131-metre waterfall.
From the main road, you can see the top of the falls from a distance. But for an even more enjoyable experience, take a stroll across the Bealey River via foot bridge and climb up 150 metres to reach your viewing platform.
8. Arthur’s Pass
Arthur’s Pass, located in New Zealand’s Southern Alps on South Island, is a popular hiking destination. Surrounded by mountains and deep gorges, it offers some of the country’s most stunning hiking trails.
State Highway 12 passes right through the park, making it accessible and inviting. You can also make a day trip from Christchurch on board the TranzAlpine train, an unforgettable experience.
9. The Snout
The Snout is one of New Zealand’s most accessible walks, boasting stunning views of Queen Charlotte Sound. Plus, you can even stop for a picnic at the end!
The track begins at Snout car park, one of two parking areas along the ridgeline. Initially on gravel before entering regenerating native forest.
10. Ship Creek Walks
This walk takes you through an ancient kahikatea swamp forest and offers stunning views of New Zealand’s tallest tree, the kahikatea. It promises to be an unforgettable experience!
This walk takes you around a dune lake and through New Zealand’s most extensive wetland refuge, where you’ll get to observe plenty of wetland wildlife.