Stewart Island

Rakiura New Zealand

Stewart Island is as far south as most people can get without going to Patagonia, knowing the right people or having special resources. It’s home to birds, lots of New Zealand natives on an island largely free of predators and covered in ancient podocarp forests compared to the main land.

The village of Oban is the main arrival point via a fast ferry from Bluff that takes an hour on what can be a rough crossing, but that can be an adventure in itself. Sooty Shearwater (mutton birds) and albatross are commonly seen. Oban has a small supermarket with the basics including coffee to go and sandwiches. Otherwise there are meals at the pub, fish and

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Abel Tasman NP

Another centre of the universe

Abel Tasman National Park is located in Golden Bay and the Nelson area at the top of the South Island and at 22,530 hectares, is New Zealand’s smallest National Park. It is also the most changed national park in New Zealand, having been settled by Europeans and copping the destruction that is traditionally left in their wake. Despite the changes to the environment, this park is a fantastic and beautiful area of this country. Just half an hour from Motueka, with the towns Collingwood, Takaka and Kaiteriteri close by, the park is easily accessible with all the facilities you may need to have great adventures.

Things to do

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Whanganui NP

Whanganui National Park is close by the Cities of Whanganui, Raetihi, Ohakune, Taumarunui and the Taumarunui to Stratford Heritage trail which is often referred to as ‘the forgotten highway’.

There are heaps of excellent walks throughout the region, one of the most popular being the 40-minute bush walk from the Mangapurua Landing to the Bridge to Nowhere, 30km up the stream from Pipiriki.

The Matemateaonga Walkway and the Mangapurua are much longer, and are one-way tracks. They either begin or end on remote parts of the river, and you need to get a jet boat to get out.

Most of the Jet boat operators are based at Ohakune, Raetihi, National Park or Taumarunui. The river ends at

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Glacier Country

Along Highway 6

Franz Joseph Glacier

This region from Whataroa to Haast referred to as South Westland is considered so grand, that UNESCO has declared it to be as important as the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Mt Everest and other natural global treasures. This region is a treasure trove of rugged mountains, picturesque lakes with many opportunities to stop and experience nature.

This region can give you 4 seasons of weather in one day, or it can rain for a week, but whatever the weather it does not disturb the grandeur, so do pack some insect repellent, sturdy shoes and a good rain coat. You can drive by quietly enjoying the majesty in comfort, or

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Westland NP

Tai Poutini – World Heritage Area

Okarito Lagoon

This magnificent park extends from the Southern Alps to the wilderness of the West Coast of the South Island and covers 127,541 hectares. It was created in 1960, and protects high mountains and glaciers. It was extended in 1982 to encompass the lowlands and coastal areas of South Okarito and South Waikukupa. With over 60 glaciers, the two most famous are the only glaciers in the world to flow down to a rainforest.

As a World Heritage site, the area has huge mountains, glaciers, forests, tussock grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and coasts; and they are all very beautiful. Halfway down the South Island, off State Highway 6 (between Hokitika and

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Waitakere Ranges

You will find over 250km of short walking tracks and lengthy tramping trails, with the area covering more than 16,000 hectares of native forest and coastline and a rich variety of native trees and other plants.

These ranges within the Auckland city zone were formed by a chain of volcanoes which had their active life over 20 million years ago. These ranges have since been eroded to sheer cliffs and deep valleys.

The Arataki Visitor Centre Provides a great 360° view, and is the ideal place to to find help to plan your walks and learn about the environment, heritage, and what to see and do in the Waitakere Ranges. The centre is full of interesting displays, video presentations, interactive

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Waipoua Forest

The last remains of the ancient subtropical rain forest that once grew on the northland peninsula, Waipoua forest contains the largest remaining stand of New Zealand’s ancient kauri trees and represents a major conservation effort by the community. Not only the last of the ancient kauri trees being preserved, all wildlife within the park is in the process of recovery with much of the work being done by the Waipoua Forest Trust.

Within the forest, there are a number of walking and tramping tracks, including a wheel-chair access to Tane Mahuta which may be up to 3000 years old is the world’s largest rainforest tree and an icon of New Zealand’s unique natural heritage. Tane Mahuta is the tree’s Maori

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Tongaririo was New Zealand’s first national park and was given as a gift from the native people. On the 23rd of September 1887, by the deed of gift, Te Heuheu Tukino IV (Horonuku), then the paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, gave the sacred peaks to the nation. Following this act of generosity, Tongariro National Park was formally gazetted in 1907 and is New Zealand’s first World Heritage Site, and the fourth National Park to be created in the world.

It is a special area, with a lot of cultural history for the New Zealand Maori people. There is much myth and legend accompanying this unique place and the Park has the three active volcanoes, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro and comprises

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Te Urewera

Te Urewera National Park has the largest forested wilderness left on the North Island. It is remembered for its beautiful lakes and awesome forest, as well as for its cultural history.

The park covers 212,675 ha and was established 1954 together with neighbouring Whirinaki Forest Park. This is the largest remaining area of native forest in the North Island.

This area has been home to the Tuhoe people, or “Children of the Mist” for a long time. “Children of the Mist” refers to the fact that they are the offspring of Hine-puhoku-rangi, the celestial Mist Maiden. The relationship between these people and the land is very strong, and runs very deep.

The lands here were derived from young mudstone, siltstone

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Paparoa NP

A diverse landscape

Driving the Buller Gorge

Located on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Paparoa National Park extends from the Buller River in the north almost to Greymouth in the south encompassing most of the Parapoa mountain range with a highest peak being Mount Uriah at 1,501m (4,925 ft), and there are a number of other peaks are higher than 1,200m most of which are covered in temperate rain forest.

A Scientifically Significant Park This park was established in 1987, and is an impressive (though small) addition to the national park family of New Zealand. With 30,000 hectares of unique bush, mountains, coasts and waterways, it is a very special place in New Zealand. The

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