Walks - driving distance of Auckalnd with views
Hi, I'm new to Auckland and NZ, from the UK where I used to do plenty of hill walking, mountain biking and road cycling. I'm looking for recommendations for some good walks (initially day walks, though I'll be tramping come Spring time) with views. So far done some walking in Coromandel (including Pinnacles - where the there views) and Waitakere Range. So far while I've enjoyed the walking, the views in the bush of the surrounding ridges and further afield are generally limited. Can anyone recommend any ridge walks with wider views. North Western Scotland was my favourite area in the UK, particular wild areas like Knoydart and Fisherfield.
To get the kind of views and clear open tops you are looking for you do need to get further south. The Kaimanawa Ranges and Tongariro National Park are probably the closest with open tops. Another good point that is largely bush clad but you can get your head above the scrub from time to time is Mt Pirongia just out of Hamilton.
You could try going up Mt Tarawera, near Rotorua. The walk up is bush clad but the summit is fantastic. You can't walk it independently though, so you have to pay to go on a guided walk. Otherwise you need to go further south, as pmcke says. There's a lot of bush in the North Island (until you get a above the bushline that is!)
Sadly I can't recommend Tarawera. Long gone are the days when you could traverse the mountain or wander around under your own steam. The only real option at the moment is a half day tour which costs $133 a head and then you are driven to the edge of the crater and then are only allowed to walk around under supervision. And don't think about trying to trespass. The owner of this operation got off an assault charge in the High Court a couple of years back, probably because there were no witnesses.
I have to say for the first time ever i walked away from a climb when i found out 1/ how much i had to pay and 2/ just how restrictive it would be. I hope this isnt a snapshot of the future. Fortunately there are some walks where you can get brief views in the north island even close to auckland but they are brief. Pirongia is a good example. Its not that far to drive to do the pouakai circuit on taranaki or the kawekas or kaimanawas in the central north island.
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