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February 11, 2022 8 min read

If you and your partner love spending time outdoors together, then ditch the chocolate and explore one of these five breathtaking hiking spots you can visit this Valentine’s Day.

 

Explore:

  1. Rob Roy track
  2. The Pinnacles Track
  3. Tongariro Crossing
  4. Lake Rotoiti Circuit 
  5. Hooker Valley Track

 

Rob Roy Glacier Track

We are starting with a popular track. If you haven’t heard of this one, now is the perfect time to check it out! You can’t go wrong with the Rob Roy Track. If you’re searching for dramatic alpine landscapes, striking snowy mountains, crisp turquoise rivers, and fun swinging suspension bridges, then this is the hike for you!

What to expect.

You’ll find this beauty just north of Wanaka, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the Otago region. Starting your journey at the Raspberry Creek car park, you will discover the swing bridge crossing the West Matukituki River, about 15 minutes away. The track continues to climb through a small gorge leading to a beech forest, transporting you into mountainous vegetation at the head of the valley showing off the stunning Rob Roy Glacier.

What should I know before I go?

Weather: Make sure you pack suitable clothing and check the weather conditions before heading out, as it can be highly unpredictable. Alpine conditions can occur anytime during the year so make sure you check out Mount Aspiring National Park weather forecast - NIWA website

Swing Bridges: During busy periods, be prepared to wait at each end of the bridge, as they only allow a certain number of people to cross at one time.

Private Property: When hiking through this track, make sure you keep to the path until you reach the conservation land, as you will be walking through private property. There is also livestock that roams around the area, so be aware of their presence.

Additional Information: 

  • The walk is 10km return via the same track.
  • This is approximately a 3-4 hour walk.
  • No dogs allowed.

 

The Pinnacles Track

Located around 22km inland from Thames, this is another popular walk that offers the most picturesque views of the Coromandel Peninsula. This historic packhorse route was used initially by kauri bushmen in the 1920s and is now a well-known intermediate-grade walk for those with moderate to high fitness levels. The Pinnacles Track provides overnight accommodation when you reach the top, with many other trails to explore while you’re there. If you are located in the North Island region, this is one you and your valentine won’t want to miss!

 What to expect.

This magical spot is situated in the Coromandel Forest Park and Kauaeranga Valley in the Coromandel Region. Starting from the Kauaeranga Road end car park, you will come across three walking trails.

Walking Options: 

  • Walk there and back on the Webb Creek Track (6 - 7hr 30min).
  • Complete the full circuit with the Webb Creek Track and the Billygoat Track (7 - 8hr 30min). 
  • For a shorter walk, the Billygoat Track is a great option.

The Hydro Camp via Webb Creek Track is a 2.5-3 hour hike that will lead you to the Hydro Camp. From there, you can make your way to the famous Pinnacles Hut, which will take you approximately another hour. Need to rest for a few hours? Well, this is the perfect pit stop for a cold rinse off, a nap, or even a bbq with your mates after a long day of walking!

Reach the summit and experience the most breathtaking 360-degree views that extend from Tairua to the Kaimai Ranges and engulf much of the Coromandel Peninsula. At a 759m altitude, this is not an easily accessible summit to reach. You will need to make your way through steep and rugged parts of the track, including a ladder at the very top. But don't worry, all the sweat and tears will all be worth the insane view at the end of it!

What should I know before I go?

Pinnacles Hut: If you are thinking about staying overnight, book well in advance, as this is one of the most popular huts in New Zealand! (especially during the summer months). Adult fees are $25 per person (including service fee). Booking timetable is available here 

Weather: The best time to visit The Pinnacles Track would be the summer or autumn seasons. The weather is generally nicer, and you'll be able to capture those beautiful scenic shots. You will experience a high volume of visitors around these periods, but it's all about getting that perfect pic! 

The Essentials: Still planning on doing an overnight trip? Here are some essentials you can’t forget. 

  • 1 to 2 litre drink bottle or hydration pack
  • Food - Always pack more than you need. 
  • An extra set of clothing. 
  • Sleeping bag.
  • Sunblock.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Emergency equipment 
  • Inflatable pillow.
  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Rubbish bag.
  • Fully charged phone & and the route you’ll be walking.

Additional Information: 

  • A $10 service fee is required for any email, phone and in-person bookings. 
  • Select your bunk bed on arrival. You don’t have a choice on a specific bed before hand.
  • Check in at 2:30 pm and check out at 9 am

 

Tongariro Crossing

Classed as one of the top ten single-day treks in the world, this is a must-do walk that will offer you spectacular views of the natural volcanic alpine landscapes Tongariro has to offer. With the dramatic yet unique landforms, this is a walk that will test your fitness skills and provide an incredible experience for you and your valentine.

What to expect.

This challenging yet fulfilling track takes you through 19.4km of active volcanic landscapes, beginning at the popular starting point, Mangatepopo Valley. You will follow streams, old lava flows, and diverse vegetation along the way, leading you through the many unique tracks The Tongariro National Park has to offer.

The other tracks you will discover along the way.

  • South Crater
  • Red Crater 
  • Emerald Lakes 
  • Ketetahi end

What should I know before I go?

Weather: Temperatures can change drastically, so come prepared! The weather at the car park will not be the same as the weather 1000 metres up the trail. We have put together a list of essential items to make this the best experience for you and your partner.

  • Bring plenty of food and water. The summer months are hot and humid so make sure you have enough water to last you the full hike.
  • Layer up! Thermals, waterproof trousers and a jacket are a must.
  • You will be hiking across uneven surfaces, so a pair of heavy duty boots will help you out.
  • Fully charged phone & and the route you’ll be walking.
  • First Aid Kit/Emergency equipment
  • Sunblock.
  • Don’t forget the accessories! Sunglasses, hat and gloves.

Transportation: According to the Department of Conservation, it is recommended that visitors take a shuttle to the National Park. Pick up points are from Whakapapa, National Park Village, Turangi, Taupo or Ohakune.

Stay Safe on the Track: The Tongariro Crossing weather conditions can fluctuate. Make sure you are fully prepared for whatever mother nature may throw at you. It is highly recommended that you take a guided walk with a qualified operator in the winter months unless you are confident in your ability to trek in these conditions. There are still active volcanoes along the way so check the Tongariro volcanic activity site for more information.

Additional Information: 

  • 1 hr 20 mins from Taupo. 
  • This can be an extremely busy walk during peak times.
  • Be respectful and adhere to the Tongariro National Park Environmental Care Code.
  • No dogs allowed.

 

Lake Rotoiti Circuit 

After something a little more relaxed? If you’re situated in the Nelson/Tasman region, check out the Lake Rotoiti Circuit with your valentine. A track surrounded by lush mountains and clear blue lakes, this walk will leave you in awe from start to finish.

Please note: This is an advanced track and you will need a moderate to high level of backcountry experience.

What to expect.

Start your journey from Kerr Bay, located on the edge of Lake Rotoiti in St Arnaud. Trek through striking green mosses and ferns engulfed in dense beech forest and catch sight of red rātā flowers that appear during the summer months, providing a beautiful contrast in colours. During your 7 - 10 hour walk, you will encounter multiple native birds like the tūī, fantail and bush robin. However, you may encounter wasps along the way, so keep an eye out!

 

Walking options: 

  • You have the option to complete the day walk in 7 -10 hrs
  • Complete half the circuit and take the water taxi to Lakehead Hut or Coldwater Hut and continue your walk back to Kerr Bay in the morning. Like the sound of that? You can even stay over for 2 nights if you want! 
  • 23km (with river crossing) or 31km (via swing bridge)

What should I know before I go?

Swing Bridges: There’s a swing bridge! Located 1 hr 30 mins further up Travers Valley, this walk will take you 3 hours from the Lakehead Hut to the Coldwater Hut, but definitely worth the detour.

What to Wear: Make sure you come prepared with warm waterproof clothing. Even though we are still in the summer season, temperatures may still plummet with the Nelson Lakes National Park being in an alpine location. 

Beware of Insects: The Nelson Lakes National Park is home to many insects, but you need to be careful of a couple of them. Firstly, make sure to apply good quality insect repellent to your skin as you will quite possibly run into biting sandflies. Secondly, if you’re allergic to wasps, bring an antihistamine! They may be lingering around, so be vigilant. 

Additional Information:

  • There are no rubbish facilities so you will need to take all rubbish with you.
  • Be respectful and keep a look out for native forest birds.
  • If you have a drone it must be authorised by DOC before hand.
  • It is first come, first served for both Huts - No bookings are required.
  • No dogs allowed.

 

Hooker Valley Track

After an easy yet still breathtaking walk with your valentine? The Hooker Valley Track is another of New Zealand's best day hikes. Explore beyond the crystal clear alpine streams and glaciers to the sublime silhouette of Aoraki/Mount Cook.

What to expect.

The Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is an exceptional track to explore in the Canterbury region. The beginning of the walk will take you through the home of the sacred Tōpuni area, holding value and unique significance to Ngāi Tahu iwi towards Aoraki/Mount Cook. Three swinging bridges occur throughout the journey, the first overlooking the crisp Mueller Lake with occasional avalanches gliding down the mountains in the background.

Cross the Hooker Valley and approach the entrance of the second swing bridge. Notice a change in vegetation and a more expansive valley floor until you reach the third swinging bridge. Leading to the end of the trail, you’ll walk through the East Hooker and finally get to overlook the striking Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Southern Alps sprinkled in snow. If you have the chance to head over at dawn, catch the first rays of sun coming up over New Zealand’s largest peak.

What should I know before I go?

Weather: Alpine environments are known for unpredictable weather conditions. The Aoraki/Mount Cook region experiences a high level of change in weather. Prepare for heavy rainfall, snowfall and winds at all times of the year. Check out the Aoraki/Mount Cook weather forecast

Stay Safe on the Track: Keep to the tracks, they have been specially designed to avoid any avalanches that may occur.

Swing Bridges: There are 3 swing bridges you’ll come across during your walk. However, the second swing bridge may be closed during high winds that exceed 80 k/hr and flooding.

Amenities: There are two toilet facilities at the start of the track at the White Horse Hill Campground and one halfway through the track at the Stocking Stream. Picnic tables are also located at the Hooker Lake lookout just past the second swing bridge.

Additional Information: 

  • The track is a 10km return route. 
  • This is an easy walking track. No backcountry experience is required.
  • No dogs allowed.

 

If you're interested in one of these remarkable walks with that special someone, you can find out more information on each walk down below. Not sure what to pack for your day walk? Don't worry! We've provided a step-by-step video to help you prepare for your next adventure. Find everything you need at Outdoor Action.

For More Information: 

  1. Rob Roy Trackhttps://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/otago/places/mount-aspiring-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/rob-roy-track/
  2. The Pinnacles Trackhttps://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/coromandel/places/coromandel-forest-park/things-to-do/pinnacles-hut/
  3. Tongariro Crossinghttps://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/central-north-island/places/tongariro-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/tongariro-alpine-crossing/
  4. Lake Rotoiti Circuithttps://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/nelson-tasman/places/nelson-lakes-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/lake-rotoiti-circuit/
  5. Hooker Valley Trackhttps://www.doc.govt.nz/hooker-valley-track

 

Not sure what to take with you for a day walk? 


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