11 Great Kid Friendly Bush Walks around New Zealand

Bush walks...Some kids love em, some hate em. My dad still likes to tell the story that I was THE slowest walker until the day that I was allowed to be 'the leader' (Thanks Dad!). Here's a few short walks with activities and adventures to keep all the little people in your family happy. 


1. Shakespeare Regional Park


Location: North Island NZ
Nearest Town: Whangaparaoa
Nearest City: Auckland city
Time Needed: 1 Hour 30 Minutes to all Day
Difficulty: Very Easy
40 minutes from Auckland City, Shakespeare Regional Park is a sanctuary with magnificent views of the Hauraki Gulf on a clear day you can just make out Auckland City. Shakespeare Regional Park is working farm, so will have the opportunity to walk around the sheep and cattle. The native birds you might see are the White-faced herons, stilts, dotterels, tui and our native pigeons.


2. Glow Worms Night Walk - Katikati

Glow Worms

Location: North Island NZ
Nearest City: Tauranga
Length of Walk: 0.50kms
Time Needed: 1Hour
Difficulty: Very Easy

Hot spring Road is just a 30 minute drive north of Tauranga. followed by another 10 minutes to the Tauhu carpark.
The first lot of glow worms are just 10 minutes into the walk.
But the best patches of glow worms are just past the turnoff to the Tuahu kauri tree, about another 15 minute walk with out the kids.

3. Karangahake Gorge, Window Walk


Location: North Island NZ
Nearest Town: Waihi
Nearest City: Tauranga BOP
Length of Walk: 2.00kms
Time Needed: 1 Hour
Difficulty: Easy

Walking through Karangahake George is an explorer’s delight. Where ever you look will you can see the remains of all the train tracks that carried the quarts out to the old noisy batteries. Steam boilers, no longer producing steam but rust. Tunnels dug deep in to mount Karangahake. With pick shovel and dynamite.

4. White Pine Bush Reserve Walk Way

White Pine

Location: Hawkes Bay North Island
Nearest Town: Napier
Nearest City: Napier
Length of Walk: 1.40kms
Time Needed: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Very Easy
Kahikatea or white pine. There are a number of Kahikatea, Tawa and Pukatea on this walk.  Nikau palms are also in abundance.


5. Mt Maunganui Base Walk
Mt Maunganui
Location: Mt Maunganui North Island
Nearest Town: Mt Maunganui
Nearest City: Tauranga
Length of Walk: 3.50kms
Time Needed: 40 Minutes
Difficulty: Very Easy
This is the easiest walk at the Mount. A gentle walk on a light gravel surface. After a leisurely walk around the Mt call in at one of the many cafes to top up the energy with a coffee and cake. Or on a cool day, warm up with a swim in the hot pools.


6. Aratiatia Dam
Aratiatia Dam
Location: Central North Island, Taupo
Nearest Town: Taupo
Nearest City: Taupo
Length of Walk: 1.20kms
Time Needed: 55 minutes
Difficulty: Very Easy
Aratiatia Power Station was the first hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River it was built in the 1960. From the Aratiatia dam the Waikato River drops 28 metres over one kilometre and is a sight to see when the spillway gates are opened four time a day during summer from, 1000h,1200h,1400h1600h. The Aratiatia Rapids were also featured in Peter Jackson’s latest movie The Hobbit where Bilbo Baggins rescues the dwarfs from elves by hiding them in barrels which float down river.


7. Tawhai Falls Walk Mt Ruapehu
Tawhai Falls
Location: National Park
Nearest Town: National Park
Nearest City: Taupo
Length of Walk: 0.50kms
Time Needed: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


8. Sinclair Heads Seal Colony Walk
Sinclair Heads
Location: Southern end of the North Island - Wellington
Nearest Town: Wellington (8.8 Ks)
Nearest City: Wellington (8.8 Ks)
Length of Walk: 3.70kms
Time Needed: 50 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Fur Seals and lovely ocean views.


9. Pelorus Bridge Walk
Pelorus Bridge
Location: Northern end of the South Island
Nearest Town: Nelson 55k
Nearest City: Blenheim 51k
Length of Walk: 0.50kms
Time Needed: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Very Easy


10. St Bathans Gold Mining Village
St Bathans
Location: South Island NZ
Nearest City: Dunedin
Length of Walk: 2.00kms
Time Needed: 3Hours
Difficulty: Very Easy
Gold was discovered in St Bathans in 1860s.
Walk around the historic town then drive down to the blue Lake and take a look at the old gold miners working which is now a great lake for swimming and boating. The whole St Bathans town is a registered historic place


10. Travis Wetlands
Travis Wetlands
Location: South Island NZ
Nearest City: Christchurch
Length of Walk: 3.50kms
Time Needed: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Difficulty: Very Easy
Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park is a lowland freshwater wetland, located in the midst of an urban environment.
It offers a number of easy walkways and viewing areas, with opportunities to see many bird species and plant communities. There are over Fifty Species of birds. Over 700 pukeko, five native ducks, Scaup, Grey Teal, Shoveler paradise, Shelduck, the Grey duck and the rear White heron.Over 800 Species of insects, Skinks, eels and tree frogs 


11. Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks Walk
Location: South Island
Nearest City: Westport
Length of Walk: 0.40kms
Time Needed: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy
Punakaiki pancake Rocks and just down the road is the Punakaiki Caves. The blowholes are fantastic if the wind is blowing in from the sea at Gail force 10. Best seen at high tide.


Thanks to our friends at www.freewalks.nz!
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