One great aspect to New Zealand is that you often don’t have to travel into the backcountry to find a great walk. Exploring New Zealand on foot can be as easy as leaving your hotel and hitting the streets, squares and parks that are central to every town and city. Put on your trainers and get ready for a little intensive urban exploration!
Discover Auckland’s stunning waterfront with a stroll along Tamaki Drive from the Ports of Auckland to Mission Bay. The harbour edge of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, brims with cafés and cultural icons such as Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Many smaller towns also offer stunning seascapes. New Plymouth’s award-winning coastal walkway runs seven kilometres along almost the entire length of the city, with Len Lye’s fascinating Wind Wand kinetic sculpture at is centre. Rivers that wind their way through urban areas provide another focus for walkways – the Avon River in Christchurch is flanked along much of its length by manicured parks, while in Hamilton the Waikato River Trails wind 15 kilometres along the Waikato River.
Culture & heritage
Delve into the history of your destination with a heritage walk. In Napier, take a guided walk with the Art Deco Trust. Tours depart from either the Napier i-SITE or the Art Deco Shop in Tennyson Street, or grab a guidebook for a self-guided walk. Take a stroll through historic inner-city Dunedin architecture or join an organised tour. In Wellington, visitors can follow a self-guided Heritage Trail – free brochures provide information on significant sites. The Old Shoreline Heritage Trail traces the former shoreline of Wellington Harbour through the central city.
If shopping is on your to-do list, comb the laneways that radiate out from Queen Street in Auckland’s downtown. High Street, Vulcan Lane and Chancery (pictured above) have excellent cafés, restaurants and boutiques, while Elliot Lane offers gourmet food stores. For a very different experience, try the Martinborough walking wine trail. Martinborough is a unique destination for wine lovers, with more than 30 vineyards within walking distance of the village square. Start your visit at the Martinborough Wine Centre, pick up a wineries map and wander around the cellar doors (no need to worry about drinking and driving!). Heading out on foot is a great way to experience New Zealand’s towns and cities, so book a tour or just hit the streets and do a little urban exploration of your own!
Parks & Gardens
Take a stroll in one of the gorgeous parks and gardens that thrive in New Zealand’s temperate climate:
Hamilton Gardens Waikato’s most visited tourist attraction offers six fascinating themed gardens, from a Chinese Scholars’ Garden to an Italian Renaissance Garden.
Pukekura Park (New Plymouth) A Garden of National Significance, it boasts 52 hectares of native forest and is adjacent to the natural amphitheatre of Brooklands Park.
Fitzherbert Park (Palmerston North) Alongside the Manawatu River and home to Dugald McKenzie Rose Garden, and voted one of the world’s top five rose gardens in 2003.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens Home to a magnificent collection of over 10,000 native and exotic plant species.
Dunedin Botanic Gardens New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens, established in 1863.
Dunedin Chinese Garden An authentic Chinese garden, prefabricated in Shanghai, with a jade-coloured lake.