Find businesses who can help you enjoy bird and wildlife watching in areas managed by DOC.
This pleasant and easy walk takes you around the coastline across a causeway to Motukiore Island.
Motukawanui Island offers opportunities for swimming and snorkelling or you can walk the track and view the historic pa sites.
Te Werahi is a large freshwater wetland system, which has three raupō swamps linked by narrow sandy streams. It can be seen from the road to or from Cape Reinga.
The Mangamuka Tramping Track takes you through scenic Raetea Forest, a track made for the adventurous at heart.
This short walking track takes you to Rarawa beach.
The area around Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) provides easy access to walking tracks and beautiful swimming areas.
Boating, kayaking or snorkelling are great activities within the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve.
Visit Motukiore Island in the Whangarei Harbour and explore its fascinating Maori and European history.
A 2-km walk leads you to Waipu Caves. Once in the limestone caves you’ll find stalagtites, stalagmites and glow worms near the entrance.
Follow a 200-m track across the Ahuroa River and on to the picturesque Piroa Falls. The river has many suitable swimming holes along the track, making it a fun family walk.
This 5-km Mangawhai Track traverses across beaches, cliff tops, farmlands and bush areas. You may be able to enjoy views of Bream Head all the way down to the Hauraki Gulf.
This scenic track follows the rugged coastline of Cape Reinga and descends to Te Werahi and Twilight beaches. Self-sufficient camping is available.
Just a 15-minute drive north of Kaitaia, Lake Ngatu is a freshwater dune lake and recreation reserve. The lake is popular with water sport enthusiasts and other day visitors.
This 22-km tramping track offers the backcountry adventurer a great tramping experience in one of Northland’s wilderness area.
This very short track takes you to a long, white sandy beach on Northland's Karikari Peninsula.
Walk through a spectacular stand of kauri and experience the unique character of this ancient forest by day or night.
Bird watching, walking, photography and water sports are all popular activities on the Pouto Peninsula.
The archaeological walk on Urupukapuka Island is suitable for people of most ages and fitness levels. It's a great place to learn about the area’s Maori history.
This track goes right around Moturua Island. You can join the track at any of the main beaches and walk through open grassy areas and along cool shady stretches beneath the regenerating coastal forest trees.
Motuora is a popular destination for picnicking, volunteering and bird watching. You can stay overnight in the island's camp ground or small bach.
Visit Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island for the day and be rewarded by the experience of seeing rare and endangered plants, birds and animals not often seen on the New Zealand mainland.
If shorebirds are your interest, this is definitely the place to be, especially around October when Arctic migrants arrive after an arduous 10,000 km journey.
A spectacular and remote wilderness area, Whatipu is an extensive sandflat on Auckland’s rugged west coast. There are campgrounds and walking tracks in the area.
The wetlands of Tāwharanui Regional Park are a mix of coastal lagoon, saline wetlands and freshwater habitat. A special feature of this site is the pest-proof fence that has allowed native species to flourish.
The best way to experience the marine reserve is by snorkelling or diving. With its excellent beaches, Tāwharanui is also a great spot for picnicking, swimming and surfing.
The Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve is popular due to its long sandy beach and calm waters. Remember that marine reserves are ‘no take’ areas, so fishing or removing marine life is not permitted.
Be sure to spend time at the visitor centre before venturing out on one of the many bush or coastal walks. You’ll also want to visit the island’s historic lighthouse and pa sites.
Snorkel, dive, take a leisurely walk, or explore historic sites on the island including three pa.
The Mokohinau Islands provide a dramatic backdrop for boating and the waters are excellent for diving and snorkelling. Look out for native wildlife on Burgess Island or take a walk to the lighthouse.
On Great Barrier Island you can take a soak in thermal springs, tramp through coastal forests or snorkel in an isolated cove. Boating, kayaking and fishing are other popular activities on the island.
Within Te Matuku Bay, the most rewarding activities are above the water - bird watching and kayaking – because the water itself is shallow and muddy.
Take a walk to the Rangitoto’s summit or meander along the many coastal and forest walk available. Considered one of the world’s botanical gems, it’s a great place to view unusual plants.
Motukorea has long been a popular picnic destination for Aucklanders. You may want to kayak, walk and bird watch while you’re here. There are no visitor facilities on the island.
When you visit Motutapu, make sure you take a walk along the Motutapu Walkway and visit the many archaeological and WWI military sites on the island. Swimming, camping and picnicking are all popular activities here.
Access to Motuihe Recreation Reserve is by private boat, water taxi or Fullers ferry. Once there you’ll enjoy camping, swimming, walks, visiting historic sites and bird watching.
This track follows quad tracks and an old tram line in the Maramataha Valley in the southwestern part of Pureora Forest Park. Allow a full day to complete it. While not especially technical, it is a long and remote Grade 3 track.
A gentle ride through beautiful forest on formed 2WD metalled roads.
Okahukura Loop is for more skilled riders, but is not particularly technical.
You can hear and sometimes see kokako on the Mapara Track following a successful kokako recovery project.
Find out about visiting wetlands in the Waikato.
Pureora Forest Park provides a range of walking tracks through forest and some offer spectacular views of the region.
There are a range of tramping tracks in Pureora Forest Park, ranging from a few hours to three days.
Ruakuri Scenic Reserve contains classic limestone outcrops, and is also a place of strong spiritual and cultural significance to Maori.
The 78,000-hectare Pureora Forest Park straddles the Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto ranges west of Lake Taupo and east of Te Kuiti.
Leitch's Hut is accessible by three tracks in Whareorino Forest allowing visitors to plan for an overnight tramp.
The Kakepuku Track in Kakepuku Historic Reserve climbs up through bush to the summit of Kakepuku, an old volcano.
Mountain biking and hunting are popular activities in the Pureora Forest Park.
Ruakuri Reserve encompasses 114 ha of native bush and limestone formations. The reserve is only 2 km from the Waitomo glowworm cave.
At the southern end of Lake Rotorua lies Sulphur Bay, a mystifying geothermal wetland. It's an active and constantly changing landscape with sinter terraces, sulphur and silica flats, and
active mud pools and steam vents.
The Loop Track is a short walk orientated towards families or school groups to provide an experience close to town showcasing the beautiful flora and fauna of Mt Ngongotaha for all to see.
The only walking track up to the summit of Mt Ngongotaha. Passes through native forest with views of one of the largest rata trees in the Bay of Plenty.
Several walking tracks and a wonderful viewing hide have been built so you get up close and personal with the wetland.
See some of the Bay of Plenty's remnant Kauri giants on this track.
This walking track is a beautiful cool, retreat during the summer months, with mature tawa-podocarp forest, a lovley stream with swimming holes and three impressive kauri trees that are growing at around their southern most limit.
Kauri trees feature on these walks. Retrace an old Maori route that was also used as a bridle track in the 1980s.
Experience Mount Otanewainuku's natural features on a variety of short walking tracks.
Enjoy the historic character of the northern Kaimai or go tramping or hunting in the central or southern zones. The unusual combination of semi-coastal and alpine plant species makes this forest unique and highly significant.
Tūhua is privately owned and landing is only allowed by permission of the Tūhua Trust Board. Opportunities to enjoy the island's unique character and wildlife must be pre-arranged.
A stunning complex of seven unmodified high-altitude mires and bogs close to the pristine Lake Waikareiti in Te Urewera.
This track starts from a historic 'Howe Truss' bridge and has excellent waterfall and forest views.
A walk through Te Urewera Mainland Island offers visitors a unique opportunity to view and experience a true and real New Zealand.
The natural mineral hot pools at Morere Springs Scenic Reserve are a popular attraction. The reserve also features one of the last remaining tracts of coastal native forest on the East Coast.
Just a short drive from Taupo on SH5 witness the resilience of nature and the impact of human endeavour.
Pushing its way into the southern end of Lake Taupo, the Tongariro River is continually depositing alluvial material to create a wonderland of wet and swampy areas.
Rotopounamu/Greenstone Lake nestles on the side of Mt Pihanga. This beautiful lake is a special favourite of tree lovers, birdwatchers, walkers and swimmers.
Enjoy the walking tracks within 15-20 minutes driving time of Turangi.
The lake and extensive wetlands are surrounded by forested hills and totally enclosed within a predator-proof fence. This has allowed wetland birds to thrive.
This easily accissable short walk is a great introduction to bushwalking.
Te Maire is part of Whanganui National Park and is a fine example of the Podocarp forest.
Within Whanganui National Park is this fine example of the podocarp forest which once covered much of the central North Island.
Bird watching and gamebird hunting are activities available in the Pukepuke Lagoon Conservation Area. Make sure you apply for the necessary permits.
This long, narrow estuary with its wide range of fresh to salty, shallow to deep, and sandy to muddy habitats supports an extremely diverse range of birds, fish, invertebrates and plant life.
White Pine Bush is a great place for people of all ages and abilities to visit and experience a piece of New Zealand's remaining coastal forest.
This estuary supports an interdependent community of wading birds, fish, mud dwellers and aquatic plant life.
From the Boundary Stream Mainland Island Reserve you can enjoy a number of walks through this impressive part of the Hawke's Bay.
There are a variety of pleasant walks in the Puketitiri Reserves that pass through forests and clearings, with opportunites for bird watching and photography.
Whether you're interested in taking the family on the gentle Tumanako Loop Track or want to hike the Kamahi Loop Track to Shine Falls, there are a number of tracks at Boundary Stream Mainland Island.
Take an enjoyable scenic walk or trip along the remote coastline and get a close up view of nesting gannets. The towering cliffs expose the many rock types and fault lines which underlie Hawke's Bay.
This 30 minute loop walks takes you through a flooded forest remnant in the Wairarapa.
After an introductory talk on the flora, fauna, and human history of the island, visitors can explore the island's tracks, studying the many rare birds and the historic artefacts.
Explore the islands's historic sites and visit the woolshed museum. Follow walking tracks to the historic lighthouse site, the "concrete gannets" and enjoy the dramatic views.
Divers and snorkellers can get amongst the sea life and there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching and other wildlife pursuits for walkers, boaties and kayakers.
Bird watching, whitebaiting, walking and picnicking are among the activities you can enjoy at Waikanae Estuary and Paraparaumu Beach.
Walks on Matiu/Somes offer excellent bird-watching opportunities and the chance to study other plants and animals enjoying the pest-free environment.
A large, relatively pristine freshwater swamp at the southern end of the Whanganui Inlet, south of Farewell Spit, on the west coast.
Murchison is the gateway to the southern entrance to Kahurangi National Park. Find out about the short day walks accessible from Murchison.
Te Waikoropupū Springs are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water ever measured.
Beautiful native forest and gold-mining relics are the main attractions of the Kaituna Valley. To walk the whole track takes 8-9 hours, or there are shorter walks from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
Retracing an old gold-mining water race, this track passes through forest of young beech and rimu to mature podocarps.
You can take guided nature tours and horse treks on the spit. Learn about the area’s walks and the historic and natural features to look out for along the way.
Looking for a short walk near Nelson or Motueka? Here are some walking tracks you might like to try.
Swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking are popular activities in the marine reserve.
The best way to experience the reserve and its inhabitants is from the water. In addition to boating, snorkelling and diving there are also plenty of opportunities for bird-watching.
The reserve is a great place for walking, exploring the intertidal zone, snorkelling, diving, kayaking and boating.
There are a number of walks of varying lengths taking you through a forest now full of birds and birdsong.
The landscape is a rare combination of coastal forest and tidal channels. Get information about exploring the area and the birdwatching opportunities it offers.
This marine reserve sits near the township of Kaikōura, at the point where the undersea Kaikōura canyon approaches close to the land. Visiting the reserve is an unparalleled opportunity to see them up close, and often in large numbers.
Find out things you can do in the Mt Fyffe and Seaward Kaikoura Range area.
Follow in the footsteps of old goldminers on the Wakamarina Track to cross the Richmond Range from the Wairau Valley to the Wakamarina Valley.
Listen and watch forest birds along the track. If you have a permit you can walk your dog between Anakiwa and Davies Bay.
Eastern Marlborough is an area of rugged mountains and an equally rugged coastline. Find out about the recreational opportunities available in the area.
On this flat loop track you can enjoy the richness of the estuary, which many birds and specialised plants have made their home.
This unmarked route follows the beach from the eastern end of the camping area to Cape Campbell, the southernmost extreme of Cook Strait.
The Ōkārito Lagoon Kayak Trail allows you to explore the area from your kayak. On this self-guided kayak trail you will learn some of the secrets of the area and gain a new appreciation of this large wetland system.
The main route through the Haast, State Highway 6, is part of the heritage highway system. Access to many walks and scenic attractions is directly off this highway.
Information on mountain biking tracks around Greymouth.
This is a great walk for families with young children or those people new to tramping. The track is a well formed bench track that can also be completed as a day walk.
This is an interesting coastal/bush walk with good views and a few sites of historic interest along the way.
The area surrounding Greymouth offers walks that provide great views of the sea, examples of native forests, waterfalls and coal and gold mining history.
The Moonlight track offers the opportunity to see reminders of the gold mining history of the area, and to walk through West Coast native beech forest.
There are a number of walking tracks in the Victoria Forest Park area that will get you into some interesting places such as Waiuta, Inangahua suspension bridge and Murray Creek.
Harihari Coastal Walkway is one of the most scenic walkways on the West Coast, with spectacular views of forest, rivers, mountains and coastline.
A diverse region, Haast stretches from Knight's point to the Cascade Valley and inland to the forest-lined Haast Pass. You'll find varied scenery, chances to view wildlife and many recreational opportunities.
The Oparara Basin is considered one of the finest features of Kahurangi National Park. The Oparara Road provides access to Oparara Basin for walkers, cavers and other wilderness enthusiasts.
The Croesus Track in the Southern Paparoa Range offers the opportunity to walk or mountain bike through some stunning scenery and historic sites.
The Arahura and Styx valleys are popular areas for tramping and hunting. The main access in both valleys is via benched formations constructed during the early gold mining days.
Oparara Basin is one of the finest features of the Kahurangi National Park. The 35 million-year-old complex of limestone caves, arches and channels is popular with walkers, cavers and nature lovers.
You can take the Seal Colony Walk to viewing platforms that overlook the seal colony. This walk can accommodate wheelchairs.
Akaroa is visited by many marine mammals including the world’s smallest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin. The Akaroa Marine Reserve lies at the mouth of the harbour and is easy to visit as the township offers numerous water-based tourist activities.
With only 2% of wetlands remaining in the Christchurch area, the Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park is a special place to view wildlife.
Ō Tū Wharekai, nestled amongst high-country tussocklands and set against the towering Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o Te Moana, is one of the best examples of an inter-montane wetland system in New Zealand.
When dry the kettleholes reveal a rich plant-life of very small herbs, which form a dense turf. When wet they are an important feeding area for a host of wading and wetland birds.
Outdoor pursuits in the park include mountain biking, horse riding, fishing, hunting, climbing and walking and tramping.
The Ōtamahua/Quail Island Track gives you access to swimming and water-skiing beaches, historic sites and a bird-watching barricade. You can also volunteer for autumn and spring tree planting days.
Te Waihora is New Zealand’s most popular recreational duck-shooting area. You can also fish, visit the Hart's Creek bird hide and do the Christchurch - Little River Rail Trail.
Boating and kayaking are probably the best way to see the reserve’s many marine mammals and birds.
Find out about the day walks, overnight tracks and routes and mountaineering activities in Arthur's Pass National Park.
Located on the windswept end of the Otago Peninsula, Taiaroa Head or Pukekura is world renown as the only mainland colony of albatross in the Southern Hemisphere.
Thanks to significant community effort, this 2000 ha wetland complex has become an important wildlife haven with 80 species recorded - 21 of these dependent on the habitat for their
This estuary is rich in birdlilfe and is also popular for fishing, boating, kayaking and swimming.
Discover the remarkable wildlife and dramatic coastal scenery at Sandfly Bay on the Otago Peninsula.
Katiki Point is the southern point of Moeraki Peninsula. Visit to view the historic Katiki Point Lighthouse, Te Raka a Hineatea Pa site, yellow-eyed penguins, and fur seals amongst other marine wildlife.
Stroll, walk, run or cycle around a lake surrounded by spectacular mountains.
On Bob's Cove Bridle Track you'll follow history along the original bridle track that linked Queenstown and Glenorchy.
You can walk the Routeburn, Gillespie Pass circuit, Rees-Dart circuit or Greenstone and Caples tracks in Mount Aspiring National Park.
Spring-fed remnant wetlands in old channels of the Waiau River have been complemented with 50 ha of open water, created for the benefit of fish (both native and introduced trout) and waterfowl as well as protected birds species.
Enjoy many activities along the Milford Road and in beautiful Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, including walking and tramping, boating, climbing, fishing, guided activities, hunting, kayaking and more.
Milford Sound/Piopiotahi is in the northwest of Fiordland National Park. Find out more about this breathtaking location, the activities you can enjoy there, tracks and walks, and places to stay.
Stewart Island/Rakiura's main settlement of Oban offers visitor services and recreation opportunities. You can go on walks and excursions from Halfmoon Bay, including visits to beautiful Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Open Sanctuary and Rakiura Track Great Walk.
From the glistening glassy quartz pea gravel beach to the amazing beauty of rust and green coloured alpine plants Awarua Wetlands are truly magical.
Well-formed walking tracks, toilets, shelters and information signs have been put in place for the use of visitors to the island. Ulva Island can be visited during daylight hours at any time of year.
Along the Catlins Highway there are many short forest walks to beaches, streams, lakes, waterfalls, caves or blow holes. You are likely to encounter penguins, seals, dolphins, forest birds and seabirds.
You can view the wildlife in the area and explore the fossil forest at low tide. Porpoise Bay with its beautiful sandy beach is popular for swimming and surfing.
back to top
DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map
Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.
Walking track categories
Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:1. Plan your trip2. Tell someone3. Be aware of the weather4. Know your limits5. Take sufficient supplies
DOC visitor centres
Give feedback on a recent visit to a DOC place