With Spring well and truly here, what better time to get on those hiking boots and walk some of our beautiful Marlborough Tracks.
Tirohanga Track - Picton
A must do walk in Picton is Tirohanga Track, a good climb up through stunning regenerating native forest that offers extensive views of Picton, Waikawa and the Marlborough Sounds. We usually enter the walkway from Newgate street. It only takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit lookout, before returning the way you came, or heading down the other side and returning through the streets of Picton. (The track can be walked from Garden terrace) Along this walk you will usually encounter plenty of Tui’s singing to you and fantails to dive after the insects in front of your feet. It can be a bit slippery after a rain, but regardless the view for this short walk is just beautiful and worth every step.
The Snout Track – Picton / Waikawa
Expect an eyeful of views when you walk Picton’s Snout Track, which begins at the Snout Track car park, above Endeavour Park.
You will walk first to the Queen Charlotte View Lookout, and can carry on from there to a picnic area at the end of the headland. The track is easy to walk but does have some steep sections between the lookout and the snout. If your timing is right, you will get some great views of the ferry coming from or going to Wellington. This walk is sometimes thick regenerating native bush, with nothing but the track, trees and birds…nice! Then the rest of the track the views of the sounds are to die for.
There are many small adjoining tracks within Victoria Domain to reach the start of this track, including via Lower Bob's Bay Track, Upper Bob's Bay Track and the Picton-Waikawa Walkway. Whilst most walkers head to the Queen Charlotte Track, this is an ideal walk for those who only have a few hours, but still want to get some stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds. From the end carpark in Victoria Domain allow 4 hours return.
Whites Bay - Rarangi
Start by doing the Monkey Bay Walk (a short 20 minute return). This starts at the northern end of Rarangi Beach around a rocky point and into Monkey Bay. Here there is a short cave you can explore and a small beach to play on. A lookout point at the start of this track offers nice views along the coastline and over Cloudy Bay.
The Whites Bay Track begins at Rarangi Beach (Near the Monkey Bay Track entrance) and climbs steeply through indigenous coastal forest before following the Port Underwood road for a short distance (about 500m), then descending, zigzagging through an area of pine forest, then native vegetation, to Whites Bay, a popular swimming beach and camping area – don’t forget your togs!
Allow an hour each way with the family in tow, or a camera in hand! Where the track follows the road, good views of Cloudy Bay and the Wairau Plain are possible.
There are DOC campsites located at both Rarangi and Whites Bay…maybe take the tent and turn it into a weekend?
Wairau Lagoon Walkway – Blenheim
The main access point to the Wairau Lagoons Walkway is from the end of Hardings Road, which leaves State Highway One 5km from Blenheim. Unlike any other walk I have done in New Zealand, this walk is totally flat! This is one of the few places along the eastern coast of the South Island where it is possible to enjoy the richness and beauty of a large estuary.
The walkway passes through the ecologically significant salt marsh habitat of the Wairau Lagoons. (Estuaries play an important role as breeding and living places for many bird and fish species.) The area is flat and exposed, and parts of the walkway can be wet due to the low lying nature of the environment.
A feature of the walk is the Waverley wreck, an old rusting hulk abandoned in the lagoons. The Waverley was towed from Wellington by the SS Wairau to the mouth of the Wairau River where she was to be sunk to form a breakwater. Before being scuttled, she was swept up the channel in a flood to where she now lies, in the Wairau Lagoons.
There are opportunities to see birdlife, and explore the unique salt marsh habitat. Bring your binoculars. Due to the flat nature of the walkway, it is suitable for any level of fitness. DOC estimates three hours to walk the full loop track to the Waverley and back, although the track can be completed in considerably less time if desired. A picnic table is available at the Waverley.
Hope you and your family enjoy these short walks as much as we do!