Whanganui Inlet at low tide, showing its seaweed and deeper channels trailing through the mud flats.

New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Knuckle Hill Track and Kaihoka Lakes

The panorama from the top of Knuckle hill is incredible; from 342 metres above sea level you can see most of Whanganui Inlet, and in the other direction nothing but trees. The drive to get here isn’t too shabby either. The road winds around the inlet, crossing streams and small bays. At low tide it is stunning with tiny channels snaking their way through the mud flats and seaweed and the late afternoon light giving it all a silvery glow.

Cosy Nook, Southern Scenic Route, Southland, New Zealand

Western Southland: The ‘Other’ Side of New Zealand’s Southern Scenic Route

NZ’s Southern Scenic Route is more than just the Catlins! That stretch of road is famous for a reason, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s another side to it. The Southern Scenic Route actually extends West of Invercargill along the Southern coast of New Zealand and up to Manapouri. It winds its way through farmland, historical and cultural sights, and past endless gorgeous beaches, with far less tourists around than in other parts of the country.

Looking towards Mount Cook/Aoraki up the Hooker River Valley.

New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Hooker Valley Track

The Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is one of New Zealand’s most popular, and I can see why. Winding between towering mountain peaks covered in snow, the track is easy, relatively flat, and well-maintained. Only taking a few hours, it’s one of the easiest ways to get to the spectacular alpine views New Zealand is famous for. No strenuous uphill hike, no climbing, no helicopters needed.

A narrow road goes under a canopy of trees to the Big Totara Walk.

New Zealand Walks for Wimps: Big Totara Walk

I followed the short loop track along a boardwalk, between trees hung with moss and jungle-like ferns, the sunlight from above barely visible, the green of it all barely penetrating the dark mood the forest creates. And then, finally, I reached the Tōtaras. The trees towered above me, their hulking bodies dwarfing my existence, making me think of all the changes they must have witnessed in New Zealand over the past millennium.