Get inspired for a Labour weekend adventure
If you’re after some last-minute inspiration to get you into the outdoors this Labour Weekend, the Mountain Safety Council has got you covered. Whether you’re in the North Island or the South, a keen tramper or after a family trip, there’s plenty to choose from, but be sure to prepare and plan ahead.
Maketawa Hut: Taranaki
Enjoyed as a half day tramp or an overnight stay with the family, the Maketawa Hut Circuit offers fantastic views of Mt Taranaki and its surroundings. The 6.5km loop takes about 3 hours and can be walked as a loop via two different routes - the lower track passes through native forest while the higher track follows at 4WD route and stunning views of the mountains all the way to the hut. If you’re planning on staying, the Maketawa Hut runs as a first come, first served basis. In these situations, it’s always best to carry a tent and sleeping mat.
Tip: Check the Egmont National Park weather forecast before you go as extreme weather conditions can impact the track. Be sure to pack plenty of warm layers and waterproof jacket too, even with a fine forecast.
Turere lodge: Orongorongo, Wellington
The Remutaka Forest Park has plenty to offer and the Orongorongo Track is just one of many that serves up a range of views for those in Wellington over the weekend. The 2.5hour track to the Turere Lodge is a rewarding track that passes through different forest types, a swimming hole and a bridge.
The popular lodge, bookings required, is a great spot for a lunch break if tackling the track as a day walk.
Tip: The track does not require a crossing of the Orongorongo River however it is still a good idea to pay careful attention to the amount of rain in the area as there are numerous smaller stream crossings and rivers rise fast in this area.
Timber Trail, Central North Island
An 85km bike ride featuring 35 bridges is an achievable Labour Weekend adventure and it’s even more rewarding when it passes through the heart of the North Island, the Pureora Forest Park.
It’s a historical trip with the Timber Trail following the path of old logging trucks that links the small settlements of Pureora and Ongarue. The trail is divided into two sections, best ridden in two days which allows plenty of time to complete while taking in the sights. You have plenty of selection for accommodation including camping.
Tip: If you are new to bike packing, check out this helpful video before you head away.
Otematata and the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, Waitaki Valley
The hydro town in the picturesque Waitaki Valley is a hub for scenic day walks and bike tracks. Otematata is only an hour from Oamaru and offers plenty to do. The Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail passes through the town offering a challenging ride from Omarama and over the saddle towards the country’s second largest hydro dam, Benmore Dam. Spend an extra night in the town and take the bike off-the-beaten track or enjoy the 4km scenic walk on the Benmore Peninsula to take in views of the dam and panoramic vistas as far as Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Tip: This can be a land of extremes, with bone chilling mornings and afternoon scorching sun, be prepared for the elements with a good warm hat and gloves, and then a sun hat and sunscreen.
Flora Hut: Kahurangi National Park, Nelson/Tasman
If you’re after an easy walk in the outdoors to take in some fresh mountain air, then the Flora Hut walk in the Kahurangi National Park is just that. This easy 2km walk opens out into a grass clearing just before Flora Stream where the basic DOC hut sits. The location is excellent for an easy overnight stay, and a great place to base yourself for shorter walks that explore the track networks in all directions. If you’re looking for more of a challenge (and the weather is suitable), you could aim for Mt Arthur Hut as an alternative night stop.
Tip: Despite the northern location (in the South Island) the weather can change very fast here. Take a map with you and be prepared to turn around or change your plans.
Wooded Gully Loops, North Canterbury
Take your pick of the many loop walks in the Wooded Gully area for the ultimate day trip. Pack a picnic and take to the rural hotspot of Wooded Gully, only an hours’ drive inland from Christchurch city. Starting at the picnic area, choose from the Kereru Loop (2.5km round trip), Forest Loop (3km round trip), and the Red Pine Loop (6km round trip). Each loop weaves through beech forest with some steep sections but are suitable for families. The track has recently reopened following upgrades so is ready for a busy walking season.
Tip: Stick together as a group, especially if you’ve got young ones keen to race ahead, or a group with varying walking speeds. Plan to stop at track junctions and regroup.
No matter where you are going and for how long, always be prepared and plan ahead.
For more information on what to pack and how to prepare for a day walk or multi-day tramp, check out the resources on our website! A great place to start is our Plan My Walk app.
Header photo: Flora Hut, Kahurangi National Park