Good overnight bush tramps (no DOC huts)
Sorry if this has already been asked & answered before, but I'm really after some good ideas for overnight bush walks about 2-3 hours drive from Auckland, ideally without the use of DOC huts. I basically just want to justify my gear purchases (ultralight tent, mat etc) so want to avoid sleeping in a hut! Even if it just means the camp spot is a 15-30 minute walk from the carpark, I'm all ears. I have my two boys (9 & 11) that are super-keen to get into the overnight backpacking thing! As we all get used to it, we'd be up for travelling further afield. Thanks for any handy hints in advance, G
Cool you want to get your kids into the outdoors. As you seem aware starting off easy and fun is a great way to build into longer more challenging trips in the future. Getting the kids involved with setting up tents, making fires (and cooking dinner/marshmallows over it), carving the perfect marshmallow stick using a pocket knife, navigation while tramping, identifying flora and fauna are all cool things to do with them. You can use the track finder on this site to give suggestions of possible trips. It shows 59 options within 300km of Auckland. Also DOC have a map showing tracks, huts and campsites as well. I'm unfamiliar of the tramping available around Auckland but in general many huts will also have camping spots around them as additional options without having spend the night inside the hut (doing this at some huts still requires the use of hut tickets as you are technically using the facilities of the hut, check on the DOC website). Also in general on public land such as forest parks there is nothing stopping you from camping for the night if you happen to find a nice flat spot in the middle of the bush.
As @nzbazza mentioned you can camp next to pretty much any non Great Walks DOC track. All you need is a flat spot and some available water so your options are almost limitless! I have not personally tramped as far north as Auckland but a few options slightly south of there would include: The Pinnacles track in the Coromandel — you don't have to go all the way to the top/hut. There are a few campsites enroute. Waitawheta River in the Coromandel — some good grassy campsites along side. Good flat walking. Mt Pirongia — if you go past the summit there are dedicated campsites just before the hut. However, if you are less ambitious there are also camping areas at the end of the Nikau Walk off Limeworks Loop Rd. The walking is mainly on a 4WD track so not greatly exciting but my 5 year old made it there so your boys should be alright. Waipakahi River — below Taupo so a bit further afield and would require some decent climbing and descent so maybe not a first trip. But, if the boys get keen there are beautiful camping spots next to the river.
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