We are absolutely spoiled for choice in our backyard when it comes to landscape, views and stunning walks. As the weather really starts to heat up and our long days are ending in BBQ's with friends let's make the most of the daylight and get out and about to explore this backyard of ours. 

We have compiled a list of just a few of our favourite places in the North Island to adventure out to that double as exercise along with beauty. Use it as a list to complete before the end of summer or grab a couple of friends one weekend to go somewhere you haven't been yet. We always suggest taking a small cooler bag with some water, juice, fresh fruit and a couple of your favourite snacks. 

Okura Track - North Auckland

When my colleague Amanda and I were studying we used this track as our mental-health walk. The perfect place to escape the stressful week and escape through the native bush, past a waterfall and out to the East Coast with stunning views. We hardly ever saw more than 1 other person on the track which made it extra special, but I imagine in the weekend you'll have a few more friendly hello's to enjoy. 

West Coast Waterfalls

From Bethell's up to Muriwai and the Waitakere Ranges in between, there are so many different options from 30 minute to 3 days walks and hikes. We suggest jumping online to look at what is on offer and take your pick. Our favourites include Karekare and the Karamatura Falls. Many dog-friendly tracks too so just take note of the rules. 

Mount Maunganui - Bay of Plenty

This is one of the most popular hill climbs and for amazing reason, your legs and glutes get a work out, your heart is pumping and the views at the top are worth every second. It can get really busy but it's a fantastic way to get the whole family involved and if you have kiddies with you, the playground at the base is a perfect end on your way back down. 

Mount Victoria - Wellington

We took a challenge to get up as fast as possible, with a few short sprints and then enjoy the view and bush walk slowly on the way back down. If you move through the bush, then you're well protected from the wind. We grabbed a flight coffee from Memphis Belle on Dixon St before walking right around the water front and the up the Mount. 

Beach and point walks along the East Coast

We are spoiled for choice when you want a really easy walk, a good beach and a swim afterward. Mangawhai, Te Arai and Forestry all share amazing surf locations when the waves are pumping but great options for a gentle walk. 

Karangahake Gorge - Coromandel

Definitely an amazing way to spend a day but be sure to take a picnic and good quality shoes. This is one amazing way to explore old town NZ and down along the Ohinemuri River on your way to or from a holiday location down the East Coast.

Te Mata Peak - Hawkes Bay

I can't write out a list of walks without adding my home town. Not only are any one of the 5 walks an amazing way to burn off the few extra amazing vinos you may have had at the vineyards, but the view out across Hawkes Bay is spectacular. We strongly suggest a sunrise walk up, and then add a bike tour of the local vineyards after a big breakfast. 

I hope this has reminded you of a few amazing places to check out before the school holidays end and you need a relaxing break over the weekends.