There’s nothing better than getting up bright and early, filling your lungs with fresh air and setting off on a good old-fashioned hike.

Research has shown that physical fitness not only strengthens your body, but also alleviates your stress levels and improves your mental well-being overall. Don’t know where to go? Here are a few walking trails on the North Island of New Zealand you can explore!

The Karangahake Gorge
Length: Up to 17km

Just an hour and a half south east of Auckland or an hour north west of Tauranga lies the breathtaking Karangahake Gorge.

With various trails that twist and weave alongside the mighty Ohinemuri River, be amazed by the towering forest that surrounds you. Escape reality as you walk along bushy paths, through the 1km abandoned tunnel and across railway tracks. If you’re feeling super adventurous, feel free to take a dip in the lagoon in the middle of the clearing.

The Pinnacles, Wairarapa
Length: 4.5km

This beautiful walk takes you through the bushlands right into the Putangirua Pinnacles, monstrous stalagmites that rise over 10m into the sky!

While you trek through here you might notice how oddly similar it is to a scene in Lord of the Rings –That’s because this area was indeed used in the trilogy! As you continue to walk, you’ll cross over Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke, both of which provide spectacular views.

Blue Lake Track, Rotorua
Length: 5km

A track that circles around Rotorua’s iconic Blue Lake, you’ll be walking across beautiful beaches and through the mystical Whakarewarewa Forest. This nice and simple walk allows you to experience nature’s sweet embrace and soak up the best sights, sounds and smells of New Zealand!

Related: Top 4 places to see in Rotorua

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Ruapehu
Length: 19km

Perhaps one of the country’s most legendary walks, this journey takes you over beautiful volcanic landscapes and along the light blue lakes that have formed in the craters. This easy day hike allows pure freedom, , make sure you allow some time to kick back and relax as you take in the scenery around you.

Discover More: Couples Escape to the North Island, New Zealand

Wenderholm Perimeter Track, Auckland
Length: 3km

A nice, long track that is a short drive from Auckland CBD, the Wenderholm Perimeter Track makes for the perfect day trip from the city. Take a lengthy walk along the beaches while gazing up at the magnificent Puhoi Valley in the distance. This path isn’t challenging, it’s more about slowing things down to appreciate your new surroundings.

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