11 - The Centre of New Zealand

An iconic walk for locals and visitors, the Centre of New Zealand is on Botanical Hill at the start of the Maitai Valley.


Time: 30 - 60 minutes

Area: Nelson Central

Start Location: The Botanical Reserve. You can park your car on Hardy Street East, or start your walk at the Millers Acre Centre and follow the Maitai Walkway (which runs alongside the river) to the Hardy Street footbridge. Cross the footbridge to reach the Botanical Reserve.

Download the Centre of New Zealand map (72KB PDF)

Route directions

Walk across the Botanical Reserve, the site of the first ever rugby game in New Zealand! See the interpretive panel next to the toilets for more information. At the sign near the poplar trees, in the north-eastern corner of the reserve, take the track to the left (the Kauri Track) to the summit.

There are about three link points to the main track on the way up, and a detour to the Ridgeway Track via the wishing well - this also leads to the summit.

Continuing up you pass the kauri tree, planted in 1951, which gives this track its name. When the Kauri Track ends as it meets the main track, continue to the summit of the Centre of New Zealand. At the summit of the Centre of New Zealand there are native plantings and a platform built (in 1996) to complement the trig point that was presented to the city in 1968. Enjoy the stunning view from the seats around the platform and pick out the features of Nelson's geography from the interpretive panels. Return to the base of the hill via the main track.

Option: For a longer walk (an extra hour or so), a sign directs you to the Sir Stanley Whitehead Reserve - this walkway goes along the face of the Malvern Hills to the track down through the gum trees to Founders Park on Atawhai Drive. See Walk 10 for more details.