Centre of New Zealand

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  • Reviews  81%
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South IslandNelson RegionNelson

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.

Photos

Maps

Contact

Email: enquiry@ncc.govt.nz

Access

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.

Track

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.

Geology

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.

14 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

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 😍

Sophie NIemann's avatar

Sophie NIemann

Germany

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 over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Leonie Kraft's avatar

Leonie Kraft

Germany

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 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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Levi's avatar

Levi

Australia

Ranking: 6/10

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

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Armand Poulain's avatar

Armand Poulain

Canada

Ranking: 8/10

Nice point of view at the top of the hill.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in February 2013

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Shannon  Taylor's avatar

Shannon Taylor

Australia

Ranking: 8/10

Short but a great view.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Susie Christensen's avatar

Susie Christensen

Denmark

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 6 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Fleur & Nils's avatar

Fleur & Nils

Netherlands

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 6 years ago and experienced in February 2012

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

Graham Swinyard's avatar

Graham Swinyard

England

Ranking: 8/10

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

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Gabriele Achilles's avatar

Gabriele Achilles

Germany

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 7 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 7 years ago

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Emma Edis-Bates's avatar

Emma Edis-Bates

England

Ranking: 5/10

Was nice, not amazing. Not a must do.

Reviewed almost 8 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 8 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 almost 9 years ago and experienced in November 2009

14 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

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 😍

Sophie NIemann's avatar

Sophie NIemann

Germany

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 over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Leonie Kraft's avatar

Leonie Kraft

Germany

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 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 74 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Levi's avatar

Levi

Australia

Ranking: 6/10

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

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Armand Poulain's avatar

Armand Poulain

Canada

Ranking: 8/10

Nice point of view at the top of the hill.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

Get deals pass

Shannon  Taylor's avatar

Shannon Taylor

Australia

Ranking: 8/10

Short but a great view.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Susie Christensen's avatar

Susie Christensen

Denmark

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 6 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Fleur & Nils's avatar

Fleur & Nils

Netherlands

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 6 years ago and experienced in February 2012

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

Graham Swinyard's avatar

Graham Swinyard

England

Ranking: 8/10

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

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in February 2012

Gabriele Achilles's avatar

Gabriele Achilles

Germany

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 7 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 7 years ago

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

Emma Edis-Bates's avatar

Emma Edis-Bates

England

Ranking: 5/10

Was nice, not amazing. Not a must do.

Reviewed almost 8 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 8 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 almost 9 years ago and experienced in November 2009