10 June 2020 | Written by Lydia Twohill

5 of the best walks to embark on in the North Island

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Fancy experiencing some of the best scenery the North Island has to offer? Head out into the great outdoors for a few hours, a day or even an overnight trip and complete one of the fantastic walking tracks on offer. There’s few better ways to enjoy the beauty of the differing landscapes the North Island has to offer first hand. Expect to wander across high plateaus, through rural farmland and dense native bush, along stunning coastlines and up rugged volcanic peaks – about as Kiwi as it gets we reckon!

Check out 5 of our favourite walks to embark on in the North Island and get inspired…


1. The Pinnacles – Coromandel

best walking tracks north island
Photo credit: Janice Chen

Without a doubt one of the most popular walks in the North Island (albeit challenging!), is The Pinnacles Look Out. A long day of hiking through ever-changing terrain and flora and fauna, will at last lead you to the top of the Pinnacles.

You’ll work relatively hard to get here, following an old packhorse trail that was constructed in the early 1900’s. Following the trail will take you through dense forest and eventually to the large rocks and ladders the Pinnacles are well known for to climb to the very top.You’ll be well rewarded with phenomenal views from the summit stretching out across forest in every direction.

You can choose to stay overnight in the doc hut if you wish to make sunrise, or the hike can be completed in approximately 6-8 hours round trip.


2. The Tongariro Crossing – Tongariro National Park

best north island tramps

World-renowned as one of the most stunning hikes to tackle, The Tongariro Crossing will not disappoint. A spectacular walk that can again be completed in a day, or you can stay in the doc hut.

You’ll traverse across a rugged volcanic landscape, alpine meadows, steep and slippery scree slopes known as the ‘devil’s staircase. It’s all worth it for the breath-taking turquoise and emerald lakes you’ll encounter along the way and the stunning views out across the Central Plateau.The hike is approximately 19.4km and takes about 8 hours to complete.

Weather can be quite temperamental so be sure to go prepared with warm layers and waterproofs.


3. Cathedral Cove – Coromandel

cathedral cove walk

Not exactly a ‘hike’ per say, but nevertheless one of the most iconic beaches in New Zealand – Cathedral Cove, lie’s at the end of this track. The walk starts from the Cathedral Cove carpark in Hahei and meanders through native forest and paddocks, descending to the beach.

You’ll have plenty of gorgeous views to stop in awe over along the way and a few sheep to say hello to as well. Make sure you pack a picnic, towels and plenty of sunblock as you won’t want to be leaving the beach anytime soon! The track is about 5km long and a very easy walk.


4. Pouakai Crossing – Taranaki

north island walking trips
Photo credit: Rebecca Teng

This track is your one stop shop for some of the most breathtaking scenery Mount Egmont National Park has to offer. There are numerous different paths to choose to explore this beautiful region, with one including an overnight stay at the Pouakai Hut.

For those wanting a day trip there are paths that take approximately 6-8 hours, or embrace the adventure and stay in the mountain hut – should make for a good story and a memorable sunset + sunrise!


5. Karioi Summit – Raglan

raglan walking tracks
Photo credit: Ishaan Bhide

Up for a challenge? Then this is the hike for you! This hike in Raglan is well known for being rather strenuous and testing the fittest members of your group. The track takes approximately 5-7 hours return trip, with numerous lookouts along the way (making the hard work well worth it!).

Expect to be tackling uneven paths and a fair few obstacles such as exposed tree roots. You’ll need to make use of the chains and ladders in the steeper sections and get your hands a little dirty –  mud cannot be avoided. Reaching the summit you’ll see why the challenge is well worth it – views spanning out across the iconic Raglan landscape are priceless.


Embrace all that the great outdoors in the North Island have to offer and tick off some of these excellent walks. Bragging rights are definitely a thing after completing some of the more challenging tracks!

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