Centre of New Zealand

Centre of New Zealand


15 Rankers Reviews

15 Face-to-Face

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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The monument at the top
View of the Port from the top
A bit of bush on the way up


50 minutes return | 2.4 km return

Although not really the centre of New Zealand, you can forget about the mis-naming and get up here anyway. For a relatively short climb, the views are great.

This the centre of New Zealand - sort off... It was used back in the day as a central survey point to do a geodetic survey of the country using triangulation methods and other fancy things.

All brainy stuff aside it's a great walk up the hill from Botanical Reserve. the track is steep, but 4-wheel drive style push chairs can make it up. It's a popular spot for exercisers. The view from the top is awesome and worth the moist brow.


From the city centre, the walk is signposted via Trafalgar Street. Take the 6th on the left onto Hardy Street (the crossroads with the museum). Stay on Hardy Street until just after crossing the Maitai River. There is parking on the left by the large grass reserve.

The start of the track is on the far side of this reserve, by the information panels.


The track is well signposted on the ascent to the monument and viewing area at the summit of Botanical Hill (147m). A network of tracks lead through the native forest gully and regenerating scrub, with a signposted detour to a kauri tree. Only at the top of the hill are there clearings in the vegetation with views out in every direction.


Views stretch all over Tasman Bay to the Kahurangi Ranges, with Nelson City and the Port in the foreground.

European History

The Centre of New Zealand is not the geographical centre of New Zealand. It is named such thanks to the John Spence Browning, Chief Surveyor of Nelson in the 1870s. His job was to fix the map of New Zealand by combining the disparate surveys already undertaken with a geodetic survey. By taking into account the curvature of the earth, a more accurate grid of the country could be anchored. He chose this high point as the ‘centre’ from which all other surveys were related.

The actual centre of New Zealand was determined in 1962 as a point on the Spooners Range in Golden Downs Forest to the south.


Feature Value Info


South IslandNelson RegionNelson


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 14.

Sophie NIemann's avatar

Sophie NIemann


Ranking: 10/10

It takes just 20 minutes to get to the top and you have an amazing view of Nelson. If it is a sunny day it is really nice.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Leonie Kraft's avatar

Leonie Kraft


Ranking: 9/10

The walk was quite short but I loved it there. I would recommend it for families and older people. The view is worth it.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Levi's avatar



Ranking: 6/10

Walk was nice enough but not all that interesting. View was good though.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Armand Poulain's avatar

Armand Poulain


Ranking: 8/10

Nice point of view at the top of the hill.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Shannon  Taylor's avatar

Shannon Taylor


Ranking: 8/10

Short but a great view.

Reviewed almost 9 years ago

Susie Christensen's avatar

Susie Christensen


Ranking: 7/10

Nice walk - can be done with a stroller though a little steep at times. Excellent view over Nelson and bay.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Fleur & Nils's avatar

Fleur & Nils


Ranking: 9/10

Nice 45 min walk to the Centre of New Zealand with a lovely view over Nelson and the Abel Tasman Bay.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Graham Swinyard's avatar

Graham Swinyard


Ranking: 8/10

Steep winding path leads to a magnificent view of Nelson and bays.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in February 2012

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Gabriele Achilles's avatar

Gabriele Achilles


Ranking: 7/10

Nice short walk with view over Nelson City, circuit when starting at Founders Park and going back at Matai River.

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in March 2006

Cory Wornell's avatar

Cory Wornell

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful scenery. Very steep but short walk.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Emma Edis-Bates's avatar

Emma Edis-Bates


Ranking: 5/10

Was nice, not amazing. Not a must do.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

David McCallon's avatar

David McCallon

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Short but easy walk with lovely views over Nelson, the Bay and the Maitai valley.

Reviewed over 11 years ago

Vicki Cashmore's avatar

Vicki Cashmore

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

It's quite steep (hard work) but worth the views when you reach the top :D.

Reviewed over 11 years ago and experienced in November 2009

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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner