Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a bush and lake reserve in South Taranaki.


Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a 230 hectare forested hill-country with extensive wetlands, native bush and a 17.8 hectare lake. It is managed by the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

The Lake Rotokare Walkway is a 4 km walking track that circles the lake. The first 600 metres feature boardwalks around the wetlands, which include a boardwalk out to a floating viewing pontoon.



The boardwalk up until the pontoon is wheelchair accessible, and many visitors only walk as far as the pontoon and then return. The track after this can be muddy in winter. It should take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the loop walk.

The reserve is protected by a 8.2 km pest-proof fence. Entry is through a double set of gates. The gate has to close behind before you can open the next gate.

Entry is free but donations to the trust are appreciated.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is at Sangster Road, 12 km from Eltham, South Taranaki.





Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

Mirror Lake is a small lake located on the Tenaya Creek in the Yosemite National Park.


Mirror Lake is in the Tenaya Canyon between North Dome and Half Dome. It is not actually a lake but a seasonal pool of water. It will have its highest level of water in the spring and summer months when snowmelt flows from the Tenaya Creek.

The Mirror Lake Trail is a 3.2 kilometre (2 mile) roundtrip to the lake and back. To complete a full loop around the lake is 8 kilometres (5 miles).

It provides view of the base of the Half Dome, which is reflected in the pool of water.







Lake Mangamahoe

Lake Mangamahoe is a 262ha commercial production forest with a scenic park and lake.


Lake Mangamahoe is popular for mountain biking, walking and running. There are also horse treks.

In 1932 Lake Mangamahoe was created by forming a dam across the valley and submerging 79 acres. The lake is named after the Mangamahoe stream, which flows into the lake.

The Lake Circuit walk will take approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. There is also the Hydro Road Track walk, which is 30 minutes, and a short five minute walk to the Mt. Taranaki Lookout.

Lake Mangamahoe is 10 minutes south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3. Access from Lake Road, at Kent Road Junction. During daylights savings the gate is open 7am to 8:30pm. Outside of daylight savings hours it is open 7am to 6pm.



Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is a tributary of the Bow River in Banff National Park.


The canyon has been formed by erosion over thousands of years. The Johnston Creek, which empties into the Bow River, has cut through limestone rock creating the canyon.

Catwalks are attached to the limestone walls allowing visitors to follow the Johnston Creek through the canyon.

It is 1.1 km (1/2 mile) one way the the Lower Falls and 2.2 km (1 1/2 miles) one way to the Upper Falls. Allow 2 to 2/12 hours for a return trip to both the Lower and Upper Falls.

For a longer hike continue on 3 kms from the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots, a series of green coloured mineral pools.

At the lower falls you can cross a bridge and climb through a tunnel to see the waterfall up close. Expect to feel the spray from the waterfall and during busy periods you may have to wait to enter.


At the base of the trail is the Johnston Canyon Resort. There is a restaurant, gift shop and ice cream stand. The resort offers cabin and cottage accommodation.

Johnston Canyon is 25 km from Banff and 33 km from Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Parkway.







Bow Falls Trail

Bow Falls Trail is a walk in Banff, Canada that follows the south shore of the Bow River to Bow Falls.


It is a 1.2 km walk from the Bow River Bridge to the Bow Falls. The is a segment of the Bow River Trail.

There are separate trails for pedestrians and cyclists. Bicycles are not permitted on the clifftop part of the track. The clifftop part of the track is closed during the winter.

The Bow Falls is adjacent to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The waterfall itself is rather wide and shallow.

It is a nice walk from Banff township along the riverbank to the falls.

If you don’t want to walk the trail there is a parking lot off Bow Falls Drive.






Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain is a mountain in the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.


It is a popular walk to climb up to the summit of Tunnel Mountain, which provides amazing views over Banff and the Bow and Spray River valleys.

If you begin at Tunnel Mountain Drive it is a 3.6 km (2.2 mile) trip up and down. There is limited parking near the track entrance so you may have to find a park along the road and walk up. Note: Tunnel Mountain is closed to vehicles during winter.

If you start at the Banff township (end of Banff Ave Rd) it is approximately a 4.3 km (2.7 mile) return trip.

The track is well maintained and although it is a steep climb at some points generally it is a gentle climb up. Bikes are not permitted on the trail.

So where is the tunnel? In 1882 there was a suggestion of putting a railway tunnel through the mountain for the Canadian Pacific Railway. This idea was quickly rejected due to the cost and the time involved. But the name Tunnel Mountain stuck.

Local resident Anne Ness reportedly climbed the mountain more than 8,000 times during a 40 year period. Sometimes Ness even climbed the mountain twice in one day.

So follow Ness’ example and give it a go!





Princes Rock Track – Blue Mountains National Park

The Princes Rock track in the Blue Mountains National Park offers stunning views over Wentworth Falls.


Wentworth Falls

This historic track was built in 1868 for a visit by Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred – hence the name. It has been used by sightseers ever since.



Princes Rock Track

The track is well maintained and is less than a kilometre long, so it is popular walk for visitors that have limited time or are not willing to commit to longer walks.

It is a 20 minute return walk to Princes Rock Lookout, which offers views of Wentworth Falls.

The track begins at the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, at the end of Falls Road.



Princes Rock Lookout

Pahurehure Esplanade Walkway

The Pahurehure Boardwalk and Esplanade Walkway is a walk around the Pahurehure Inlet in Papakura.

Pahurehure Inlet at sunset

Pahurehure Inlet at sunset

Pahurehure is reported to mean ‘angry water’ in Māori, because of the wild and turbulent waters of the Manukau Harbour.

I started the walk at Wharf Street Reserve, next to Prince Edward Park, at the end of Wharf Street (off Queen Street).

The path between Ray Small Park (off Elliot Street) and Wharf Street Reserve is currently closed due to unstable cliff conditions. There are plans to upgrade this section of the walkway by building a new 2.2 metre wide concrete path and 2.2 metre wide boardwalk.



The pathway from Wharf Street Reserve follows the Pahurehure Inlet and Prince Edward Park. This part of the walkway offers plenty of shade from the green leafy trees. The walkway comes out at Katavic Park, off Gills Ave.

Before following the footpath along Gills Ave cross the road to Ernie Clarke Pond to see the ducks and pukeko roaming the grassy slopes and water. There is a viewing platform built looking out over the pond.


Ernie Clarke Pond

Ernie Clarke Pond

After seeing the ducks I walked along the Gill Ave footpath to where the pathway runs alongside the other side of the Pahurehure Inlet.

This part of the walkway, which was built by Rotary Club of Papakura, comes out by Young’s Park and the Papakura Sea Scout Den. Young’s Park has a children’s playground, public toilets and BBQ facilities.



Young's Park / Papakura Sea Scout Den

Young’s Park / Papakura Sea Scout Den

Greymouth Floodwall Walk

A floodwall built along Grey River not only protects the township of Greymouth but also offers a pleasant walk with a memorial, sculptures and other historic points of interest.


The floodwall that lines the southern side of the Grey River can be accessed at several points along Mawhera Quay. Locals jokingly call it ‘the Great Wall of Greymouth’.

It is the starting point of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, a 139 km (86 mi) 4 day cycle trail that runs from Greymouth to Ross via Kumara, Cowboy Paradise and Hokitika.

The floodwall includes a memorial to the miners who have lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast. This memorial was unveiled on January 19, 2013, the 46th anniversary of the Strongman Mine disaster that killed 19 men.


Memorial to those you lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast

Memorial to those you lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast

A striking feature of Mawhera Quay is the clock tower that was erected by the Greymouth Rotary and Lions clubs in 1992. The clock is from the former Post Office and is dated from 1903.

Opposite the clock tower on the corner of Mawhera Quay and Tainui Street is the historic Bank of New Zealand building, built in 1924, which now houses the Left Bank Art Gallery.

Clock tower and Bank of New Zealand building

Clock tower and Bank of New Zealand building

Toward the Port of Greymouth end of the floodwall is the Coal River Heritage Park. The park is a partnership between the Greymouth Heritage Society, Grey District Council and Port of Greymouth.

The park includes gardens; a drill point sculpture to celebrate coal mining and industry; three restored Q wagons; and the heritage passenger wharf, which has been re-decked.

Heritage passenger wharf and restored Q wagons

Heritage passenger wharf and restored Q wagons

Restored Q wagon

Restored Q wagon

Opposite the Heritage Park on Gresson Street is the Harbour Board Offices and the Grey County Chambers building. The Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building was built in 1885 and opened in November 1886. It was restored in 2002.

Grey County Chambers building, built in 1924, is now home to the History House Museum. The museum located at 27 Greeson Street is open Monday to Wednesday 10 am – 4 pm, Thursday 1 pm – 4 pm and Friday 10 am – 4pm. Adults are $6, children $2.

Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building

Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building

Grey County Chambers (History House Museum)

Grey County Chambers (History House Museum)

The floodwall walk ends at the Port of Greymouth. It is only a 10 minute walk along Mawhera Quay part of the floodwall. Those wishing to explore further can follow the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail.

The trail veers away from the river and follows the Blaketown Lagoon, a fishing basin. Blaketown is named after Isaac Blake, an early shopkeeper in the district. After Blaketown Fishermans Wharf the trail follows the coast offering views of the west coast beach and Tasman Sea.

Blaketown Fishermans Wharf

Blaketown Fishermans Wharf

West Coast

West Coast

Sun setting on the walk back

Sun setting on the walk back

Port of Greymouth on the walk back

Port of Greymouth on the walk back

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

The Rotorua Lakefront Walkway is part of the larger Rotorua Walkway.

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

The entire Rotorua Walkway spans 26 km and is split up into eight sections. This blog post will address two sections of the walk – Rotorua Lakefront and Motutara. Click here for a brochure on the entire walkway.

One of the first sites on the lakefront located opposite the Rotorua Central Scout Group hall is Te Arawa Waka Taua, a war party vessel built by hand in 1989 by local carver Lyonel Grant. The Waka, which is constructed from totara wood, is approximately 20 metres in length and weighs approximately 2.5 tons.

Te Arawa Waka Taua

Te Arawa Waka Taua

A dirt track and boardwalk travel around the lakefront to Motutara Point offering views of Mokoia Island. The island, which is administrated by four Te Arawa sub-tribes, was originally set aside as a wildlife sanctuary in 1921. In 1953 the island become a wildlife refuge. Three endangered native birds, the North Island Robin, North Island Saddlebacks, and stitchbirds have been introduced since 1991. Wekas were first introduced in 1958 and only recently have become common on the island.

The track is lined with kanuka and manuka bushes. It can be difficult to tell the two tea trees apart. But there are some key differences. Kanuka trees traditionally grow taller than manuka and the kanuka tree’s leaves are softer to touch. Also the flowers of the kanuka tree grow in clusters, whereas the flower of the manuka grows singly.

Looking out to Mokoia Island on a grey winter morning

Looking out to Mokoia Island on a grey winter morning

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

Motutara Point is on the eastern end of the Rotoroa Lakefront Walkway. It takes approximately 15 minutes to walk from the lakefront to Motutara Point.

As I continued around past Motutara Point the water became quite milky in colour. This is the start of Sulphur Bay, which is the southern most bay on Lake Rotorua and stretches from Motutara Point to Ngapuna.

Off the Motutara Peninsula is Timanga and Moturere Islands. Timanga Island was originally much larger and offered living space for a number of families. This small inlet is now home to roosting and nesting birds. Moturere Island was once host to a geothermal bath that was used for treating many illnesses. Lake levels rose over the years and today only a small part of Moturere remains above water.

Sulphur Bay

Sulphur Bay

From Motutara Point to the Polynesian Spa it is approximately 25 minutes walk. I exited the track and walked to Government Gardens and Rotorua Museum.

The Rotorua Walkway can be entered and exited at any point along the track and it is an excellent way to explore some of Rotorua’s geothermal areas, native wildlife, and historic sites.