Best places in the South Island to stop and stretch your legs!
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Road tripping around Aotearoa this summer?
Short walks while on a road trip are the best way to explore nearby gems while stretching your legs. The NZ Mountain Safety Council share their top South Island road trip short walks on their new Plan My Walk app to help inspire a safe summer of exploring.
They are perfect for beginners and young families to feel a sense of adventure within a short time and can be anything from a simple boardwalk loop in the native forest just off the main highway to an amazing lookout off-the-beaten track.
Lake Brunner North Tracks, West Coast
A great detour while heading from the east to west coast , or if exploring from Greymouth, the Lake Brunner tracks. There are many walks of all lengths to choose from depending on your road trip timeframe.
Red Tarns Track, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Aoraki/Mt Cook is one of the country’s most spectacular vistas, and with it are many day walks that showcase the mountain, flora and fauna. While Mt Cook is a detour from any state highway, making the effort to explore the area is well worth it. The steep 300m elevation track to the red tarns is a good stretch for the legs. Pack sensibly for this walk and check the weather beforehand.
Purakaunui Falls Walk, Otago
An easy 20-minute walk off the Papatowai Highway in the Catlins can fit into any road trip schedule. A leisurely bushwalk will take visitors to the well-known falls that have amazing views.
Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve walking tracks, Marlborough
State Highway 6 from Blenheim to Nelson is a scenic yet windy drive, and a good way to break it up is this selection of walks. The collection of easy short walks in this area will take you to swimming holes in the Pelorus River, picnic areas and a suspension bridge.
Bealey Spur Track, Canterbury
Deep in the Arthur’s Pass but just off State Highway 73 is this challenging yet achievable day walk. Its appeal as a more gradual track sees many road trippers taking to the challenge. Arthur’s Pass weather can be volatile, so it is important to pack warm and waterproof clothing, food and water too.
Aotearoa’s tracks can differ dramatically and require different levels of fitness, equipment and planning, so it pays to do some research first before you hit the track
The NZ Mountain Safety Council have developed a handy new website and app, Plan My Walk, designed to help you get out there safely. You can search for tracks and filter them to your needs and either build a plan around them or save them in a Wishlist. It pulls through the relevant track conditions, weather and gear list for you to gear up and get out.
So wherever you might be travelling to around New Zealand this summer, with a few pit-stops along the way, there are plenty of places to stop by and safely soak in the scenery!
Not sure where to start? Check out the NZ Land Safety Code to help you prepare for a walk of any length:
- Choose the right trip for you
- Understand the weather
- Pack warm clothes and extra food
- Share your plans and take ways to get help
- Take care of yourself and each other