We love hiking! We love nature! Happily, we have friends who love hiking and nature, too. :) They took us to our 1st real walk since we are "back" to New Zealand, a really great 10km, the Te Henga Walkway just north-west of Auckland. It is incredible that within less than an hour’s drive, you can literally escape the buzz of a big city and find yourself in the middle of some of the wildest beaches of the West Coast, with some jaw-dropping vistas over the cliffs and plenty of green bush around you. Oh how much I missed this feeling! New Zealand, I love you, have I told you? :)
Yes, New Zealand is THE ideal spot for treks. If you love outdoors, you will definitely have a blast here! So many places to discover!
The Department of Conservation’s website is the absolute best place to plan an excursion. Day trips, several days, tent under the clear blue sky and the stars, DoC hut if you wish for more comfort, you name it. You can browse different walks depending on the duration, the difficulty, the region you want to visit or even if it is wheelchair, stroller or dog friendly. How cool is that? :) As for our experience so far, they are really well maintained, tidy, it is easy to follow the paths and not to get lost, and there are free public toilets in many many places, actually clean ones with toilet paper in the middle of nowhere, what was a really nice surprise! :) You can as well go for one of the 9 Great Walks if you want something more, like a really special, extraordinary experience, say hiking along beautiful beaches by the Tasman Sea in Abel Tasman Park, one of my top favourites... But you don't really need to go too far, there is a great spot basically on every corner here.
So no excuse, anyone can go for a hike and enjoy the stunning landscapes of Kiwilandia :) And wherever you go, be ready for breathtaking views, extraordinary and beautiful environment, fascinating lush nature, and a myriad of shades of a green blue paradise... Just like these >>>
The Te Henga Walkway is a 10 km walk and can be done in around 3-4 hours one way. It is a relatively easy trek, although it sometimes leads you through narrow tracks along the cliffs, and there is some uphill that will leave a nice memory in your calves the next day.
If you want to make it a tougher workout though, we can wholeheartedly recommend to take a baby on your back :) who will love the diverse panorama, balancing along the ups and downs, and will definitely reward you with a long sweet sleep after the hike. :) Or you can as well go for the 4 day hike along the same coast! Just watch out for the mud and the soil as it can get really slippery if it rains, like it did for a short while during our hike.
We didn’t want to do the walk both ways, so thanks to our friend’s amazing idea, we parked one car at Bethells Road, and drove approx. 30 min with the other car up to Constable Road where we started the trip. This way, we had the first car waiting for us at the end of the trail and just had to drive back to pick up the second :) Tricky!!!
What we saw during these 4 hours was just simply amazing. Every time we go to a beach here in New Zealand, I fall in love over and over again. So as of today, this is my top fave beach view - it might easily change after our next beach trip though :)
Here is what you get:
Breathtaking views and extremely huge blue waves crashing the rocks. Strong currents. The mist over the horizon. It makes it so magical and unreal. Warm, golden-orange coloured soil and stones. Incredibly green farmland on the clifftop with fluffy white sheep everywhere. Beautiful black sand dunes. Te Henga apparently means sand in Maori. :)
Scent of nature. Salt in the air.
Cabbage trees. The first signs of spring with sweet honey smelling white manuka flowers and their bush, like a pillow of branches, spreading out over the hills. Vivid yellow gorse bushes - but beware, they are not friendly if you get too close to their stings. Unmistakable flax reaching high up to the sky basically everywhere you look. Did you know that this plant’s fibres are widely used for baskets, fishing nets or pieces of art and its nectar and roots for drinking and disinfecting? Nature, culture, history.
This weekend the beach was “extremely” crowded. We crossed maybe 3 little groups of hikers all the way. Ok, I know it is kind of cold and winterish still, and it was even raining a bit, but it is absolutely unbelievable for us to have such a wonderful place to almost ourselves only.
We did see some surfers. It must be a really cool spot for the lovers of the waves, just like Raglan we visited a couple of weeks ago. The landscape is kind of similar, you can check out some pictures here if you want to compare.
A place to enjoy. Alone. In company. With your loved ones. With friends. With kids. Or all of the above. (Rather not rain or) shine! :)
BTW Shania Twain’s romantic music video “Forever and for always” was also shot on this beach. I recommend you watch it for another perspective if you like. :)
Oh yes, and here is the link to the DoC’s site for the Te Henga Walkway.
For some more detailed tips on hiking, make sure to check out Stoked for Saturday bloggers Jordan and Jenna's amazing post - definitely some very valuable piece of info there! :) And they are also living their dream here :)
So, what are you waiting for?? Grab your boots, your backpack & go hike :) It’s so much fun! Wherever you are! :)
If you want to take a virtual tour, you can also check out my pictures in theGallery if you like :)
Do you have a favourite hike? Where is it? Why do you like it so much?
Would love to hear!
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