Kia Ora! In my last tramping related blog post I mentioned I had done most of the easy weekend tramps near Auckland. As I’m often asked which tramps can be done within a weekend, including driving from Auckland, I have neatly collated them for you. I am basing this list solely off my personal experience, so tramps I have done first hand. My qualifications for compiling this list include; years’ of tramping experience, commuting from Auckland and former DOC Auckland Visitor Center ‘Ranger.’
The criteria for tramping tracks to meet this list include:
- Able to do in a weekend, including travel time
- Is suitable for a beginner-intermediate tramper
- Has a hut, so no tent required
The Best Easy Weekend Tramps Near Auckland
Pinnacles Track (South, Kauaeranga Valley)
This was the first ever tramp I did, aged 13 or 14! I’ve since done the overnight tramp a further 3 times. It’s so easy and so worthwhile. Each time I’ve hiked this it’s gotten easier and faster. The stairs are a bit of a killer at first, but you’ll soon get in to the flow. The last time I hiked to the Pinnacles Hut I had come straight from Crosbies Hut. I couldn’t believe how fast it felt in comparison to my previous tramps up the mountain. The tracks to The Pinnacles can be done as a long day hike, but the hut is so well equipped you may as well make it an overnighter. If you stay overnight it also means you can hike up to The Pinnacles and watch the sunset/sunrises (pictured). Located just out of Thames, this is pretty obvious starting place for an overnight tramp.
Crosbies Hut (South, Kauaeranga Valley)
Another easy overnighter located in Thames, there are two tracks leading up to the hut so it’s easy to go up one and come down the other. I made a 3 day weekend tramp out of hiking to Crosbies and then hiking back down to the valley and up to the Pinnacles Hut for a night. It was a pretty comfortable hike. A side note, a Swedish couple were murdered near this area in the late 80s, so if you’re easily spooked I wouldn’t suggest this hut! My friend’s and I stayed at the hut alone on a very windy night, a few days after someone had left a multi page entry in the hut book talking about seeking revenge for the murders. My friend and I struggled to sleep that night! It’s a very clean and new hut though!
Leitch’s Track (South; Waikato)
This is a very child friendly track to Leitch’s Hut. Located in the Waikato, the track itself is about 3 hours through farm land and regenerating forest. Admittedly it’s not the most memorable track, but it’s all about the company and food though right?! For a more detailed track review check out Tramping NZ.
Waitawheta Track (South; Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park):
Completely flat, family friendly, located 2 hours drive away in the Karangahake Gorge. The hut is about 2 hours tramp away from the road end and is bookable online, so you’re guaranteed a space. I wrote a blog post about this stunning and relaxed track here. Pack your togs and bug spray!
Daly’s Clearing Hut (South; Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park):
Located about an hour walk away from Waitawheta Hut, you can easily combine these two huts to make a family friendly multi-day hike. Daly’s Clearing Hut is also only a couple of hours hike from the same road end as Waitawheta Track. This hut is not bookable, but is not as popular as Waitawheta (despite being an amazing electric blue with matching long drop).
Te Rereatukahia Loop Track (South; Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park):
This was an unsuspecting tramp that was really enjoyable. The hike back to the carpark was so fast that I was back in Auckland early afternoon to go to a political meeting (without smelling bad too!). More detailed blog write up can be found here.
Waihaha Track (South; Pureora Forest Park)
A super flat and easy track to a pretty decent hut! It’s a decent drive to the start of the track, but because the tramp is so quick it can be squeezed in to a weekend. Full blog post here. I highly recommend taking the time to go to the near by Waihora Lagoon (pictured). It’s one of DOC’s top 40 wetlands to visit in the country, and it was my favourite part of the trip.
Pahautea Hut (South, Pirongia Forest Park)
I’ll be upfront with this one, I don’t recommend this hike for beginners! This hike is up a boggy mountain (my friend’s and I refer to it as the swamp mountain track) which may or may not give you stunning views, depends on if the weather is generous. Also I haven’t been back to Pirongia since the new hut was built, as I was quite put off by the tramp which I lost my toe nail to (I promptly bought new boots afterward)! My friend who did this tramp with me went very recently and said she didn’t recall it being that hard. So I recommend this forest park/hut for more experienced or fit people! One day I’ll bring myself to tackle it again. The park does have some amazing trees and views from the top though. Also there’s climbing chains which are quite a novelty.
Peach Cove Hut (North; Whangarei Heads)
Located along the stunning Whangarei Heads the Peach Cove hut can be reached by a short 1 hour hike, or a 3 hour hike. I hiked from Urquharts Bay and hiked out the following day to Ocean Beach car park. My friends left a car at each end of the tracks to do this. Peach Cove hut needs to be booked online and sleeps 8 people. Bonus is there is swimming at both ends, even Peach Cove (although it was too windy and cold when I went)! Full blog post about my hike here.
Aotea Track (Great Barrier Island)
Theoretically this one shouldn’t qualify for a weekend hike, as it makes it a bit of an expensive fast tramp. It is totally possible to fly to this glorious island and hike to Mt Heale hut (picutred) in a weekend, but you’d really want to spend longer. When I did my tramp on the island I actually spent 10 days (7 of which were spent hiking) and went over on the ferry (which takes about 5 hours). I highly recommend taking the time to visit GBI, which is technically still in Auckland. Pro tip: it is super easy to hitch hike on the Island, but at the same time you might not pass any cars for a very long time. Locals often pull over and offer a ride if they see you, and I always got picked up on the first ride I put my thumb out for. Also there’s a natural hot spring on the Island, I strategically planned this to be at the end of my hike. This was easily one of my favourite tramping trips, ever, and that’s saying a lot!
Let me know if you have done any awesome tramps near to Auckland, they don’t have to include a hut at the end; I feel like my tramping tent could use some fresh air!
Also please let me know if you want to see more tramping related blog posts. That might help motivate me to organise some cool trips, although after writing this I am definitely keen.
Happy summer holidays!