View over Hanmer

Image: BackpackersGuide.NZ | Creative Commons


Short and easy walks in Hanmer Forest range from a 5 minute amble from the picnic area to a one hour return walk to a lookout.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

Various under 1 hr Easiest: Short walk

Dog access

Dogs allowed. Keep dog under control at all times.

About this track


Not all of the short walks listed here are managed by DOC, but are included to provide the full range of recreational opportunities in Hanmer. 

Arboretum Track

Time: 5 min return

Track starts at Arboretum Picnic Area and passes through exotic stands of spruce, Ponderosa pine and larch.

Nature Trail

Time: 20 min return

From the carpark on Mullans Rd the trail leads up the left bank of Mt Isobel Stream, crosses over and returns down the other side. It features mountain beech with its associated understorey of broadleaf, putaputaweta, and five-finger/whauwhau. Points of interest are illustrated at stops on the track.

Fir Trail 

Time: 30 min return

Commence at the carpark on Mullens Road, accessed via McIntyre Road. The track loops back to the carpark passing through true fir, Douglas fir and larch stands. It connects with the Waterfall Track at the top end of Mullens Road.

Forest Amble 

Time: 30 min return

A short enjoyable walk set in exotic woodland adjoining Dog Stream Reserve. Stops 1–4 located along the track are described in the Forest Walks description. This walk was developed by Carter Holt Harvey Forests and Wai Ora Conservation Corps. The predominant species is European larch (planted in 1904), which is one of few conifers that are deciduous. The track passes through a stand of 1904 Norway spruce. Continue straight on to Herdmans Ave and follow out to the carpark, or turn off through 1978 plantings of larch and Ponderosa pine that replaced trees blown down in the 1975 nor’west gales.

Woodland Walk

Time: 1 hr return

Start 1 km along Jollies Pass Road. This pleasant walk, suitable for families, passes through typical woodland forest, meadowland and stands of exotic trees including Douglas fir, poplar and redwood. It features a stream,  flax wetland and ponds with associated bird and aquatic life. This area is picturesque in all seasons and returns to a footbridge leading to a picnic area below the carpark.

Camp Track

Time: 45 min return

A loop walk can be made by starting from Jollies Pass Rd car-park and walking up Pawson Rd to Camp Track. Emerge onto McIntyre Rd and turn right onto Jollies Pass Rd, then back to the carpark.

Dog Stream Reserve

Time: 30 min one way

Access from the village is closest from the end of Cheltenham Street. You can also enter it from Scarborough Terrace, the end of Bath or Leamington Streets, or the west side of the bridge on Jollies Pass Rd. This pleasant track along Lower Dog Stream winds through alder and willow trees. There are two entry or exit points to the Forest Walk area.

Forest Walk

Time: 1 hr return

Begin 1 km along Jollies Pass Road. The walk threads its way through some of the oldest stands in the forest with a variety of exotic conifers and broadleaf species. Understories of sycamore, oak, silver birch, and rowan provide a colourful display in autumn.

Stop 1: European larch (Larix decidua), planted 1904. One of few deciduous conifer species in the world. Widely used in early plantings, it has been replaced by the versatile fast-growing radiata pine. Uses include sawn timber, chipwood, furniture and speciality products such as wood panelling.

Stop 2: Corsican pine (Pinus nigra var. larico), planted 1904. A slow-growing tree producing good hardy timber. Uses include fence posts, power poles and chipwood.

Stop 3: European alder (Alnus glutinosa), planted 1904. Moisture-loving trees planted in swampy areas. Drains that were hand dug are still used today. Alder has little commercial value but attracts birdlife. Growing among them are fine oak specimens (Quercus spp.), often used to fill in blank spaces from former planting failures.

Stop 4: Silver birch (Betula pendula) Initially planted for their aesthetic value and to shelter the newly planted forest. The clean, white bark of these trees smells sweet because of an oil stored in special cells in the outer layers. Clusters of bright red Amanita fungi may be seen under the birches in autumn. These highly poisonous mushrooms are also known as fly agaric because of their traditional use as a poison to kill flies.

Stop 5: Austrian pine (Pinus nigra var. austriaca), planted 1904. Because of its uneven growth, this species is no longer planted; it cannot compete with the more versatile Corsican pine.

Stop 6: Along Mansfield Road. This lane typifies the early planting style, with silver birch lining the narrow road and a mixture of conifers and deciduous hardwoods on either side. A photographer’s paradise in autumn.

Stop 7: Radiata pine (Pinus radiata), planted 1907. The versatility of this fast-growing species, a native of the Monterery Peninsula in California, makes it the most important timber tree in New Zealand. Uses include sawn timber, fence posts, pulp, and panel products such as plywood and chipboard. In this stand the largest tree has a volume of 11.2 cubic metres and height of 45 metres. Although normally logged when 25–30 years old, this stand is being kept as a demonstration unit because of its condition and interest.

Stop 8: Norway spruce (Picea abies), planted 1904. Planted on a trial basis but has proved to have little commercial value in New Zealand.

Stop 9: Natural regeneration. This is an example of natural seed dispersal – yew, holly and rowan (tree seeds and berries dispersed by birds), and sycamore (plane like seeds spun to the earth by the wind) have appeared under European larch planted in 1904.

Conical Hill Walk

Time: 1 hr return

Early this century Conical Hill was covered in tussock. Later a zigzag track was cut to reach the 550-metre summit with its magnificent view. A variety of exotic trees replaced the tussock – western hemlock, Lawson’s cypress, giant fir, Japanese cypress. Atlas cedar and laburnum are some of the more common species. At the summit a lookout offers a resting place and good shelter to view the Hanmer Basin. A plaque commemorates the work of Duncan Rutherford, an early settler who helped develop the Hanmer district. The track down from the summit on the other side meets up with Pawsons Road, which leads to Woodland Walk.

Majuba Walk 

Time: 1 hr return – to Conical Hill lookout

Start at the northwest end of Woodland Walk and gradually climb through a stand of Douglas fir (planted in 1961). The walk meets Conical Hill Track and continues to the summit. Majuba Walk takes its name from the massacre at Majuba Hill, prior to the Boer War, where Hanmer men fought. For some time after 1903 Conical Hill was locally known as Majuba Hill.

Getting there

Hanmer Springs, at an altitude of 385 metres, is 135 kilometres north of Christchurch, off Lewis Pass Highway.


Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
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