5 challenging walks to do with school-aged kids
If you’re looking for things to do with the kids that are just the right level of challenging and fun then you’re in the right place – we’ve got 5 awesome walks the whole family can enjoy.
1. Waireri Falls
Based on the edge of the Kaimai’s and only 15 minutes from Matamata, Waireri Falls is a great place to take an active young family. The Falls are the highest in the North Island plunging 153 metres. You have a couple of options, you can hike for 45 minutes to the lower lookout which is well worth it. But if you have the time and the energy, you can hike to the upper lookout which is around 3 hours. It’s a lot more grueling but well worth it.
2. Whirinaki Falls, Whirinaki Forest, Minginui.
If you haven’t been into the Te Urewera mountains you are missing out. It’s a conservation area that’s been protected since the ’80s and is still home to hundreds of old-growth podocarps. There are a lot of options for longer hikes or loops but a great place to start is walking 5km into the Whirinaki Falls. The track is in great condition and through all the great conservation projects by DoC and Meridian energy in the area, you might see (and hear) Kaka (native parrot), Koekoea (long-tailed cuckoo), and Whio (blue duck).
3. The Pinnacles, Coromandel.
This hike has a sense of awe around it. You see photos of the steep jagged peaks and the aggressive landscape. But the good news this is accessible for you and your kids too. We walked this track as a family with an 8 and 10-year-old and they zoomed up it. It doesn’t take long to get great views on the trail. After about 3 hours you’ll arrive at the hut to have lunch, which is a great place to have lunch before you walk back down.
4. Sections of Ngā Tapuwae o Toi, or the ‘Footprints of Toi’ track.
This is a 16 km loop that is broken down by several sections through Ohope and Whakatane. It’s an amazing trail when connected all in one go. For the younger ones, I like the last section that connects Otawaireri Bay to Ohope. Ohope is Beach is magical but if you head over the hill for a 30-minute walk you’ll be surprised that it can be even better. It’s great for swimming and snorkeling. I would advise that it’s better to go at low tide as there’s not much room to recreate at higher tides.
5. Green Quarry Track in the Redwoods.
This 4.5km loop is handy to town and entertaining for the kids. From the Isite, you walk up the purple track stairs and down the Quarry track stairs. The entire track is laden with either 1000-year-old redwoods, ferns, and an array of established exotic trees tactfully planted for an interpretive trail. They are plaques with interpretive descriptions. If the kids aren’t interested in that, they’ll love bounding up and down the large stairs to the old quarry below. And then to Redwoods Isite for ice cream afterward.