Explore the magical fairy doors on Hanmer Springs Fairy Door Walk

Fairy Doors Walk at Lower Dog Stream Track 

This Hanmer Springs walk was a HIT with my kids (6,4 and 1)  They just loved walking through the forest and finding the beautifully painted fairy doors along the track.  This walk is stroller accessible, but you will find it hard to keep your toddlers in it, as they will just love opening the little doors to see if there is anything inside.

Along the way the kids found cute little messages, some painted rocks and even a coin inside the doors.  While they were disappointed that they didn’t find any actual fairies, we reminded them the fairies flew through the doors, just like Harry Potter walked through Platform 93/4 in the films (also a fav of there’s)  We lost count of how many fairy doors there were along the trail, but there were more than a dozen, and probably less than 20.

Tip:  To continue the magic, bring a little something to leave behind for other children to find after you leave.  We love to share a little kindness and joy where we can.

Emilia from Backyard Travel Family opens her mouth in delight after she discovers a fairy door on the Hanmer Fairy Door Walk, Canterbury
Jen and Emilia from Backyard Travel Family inspects the wooden fairy door up high in the tree in the Hanmer Fairy Door Walk
Emilia innocently opens the fairy door on the Hanmer Springs Fairy Door Walk, Canterbury
Green fairy door balcony high up in the trees on the Hanmer Fairy Doors Walk

Where is the Fairy Doors walk in Hanmer Springs?

The fairy doors section of the Dog Stream Track starts at Brooke Dawson Park. You can drive there by going to the end of Bath Street, heading down the hill and parking in the reserve.  

Once in Brooke Dawson Park, head over the little bridge and head straight ahead (the left track goes to the Bike pump track) and before you know it there will be magical fairy doors everywhere.  The majority of the fairy doors go as far as the next bridge but you could keep walking straight and loop back. There are another 2-3 fairy doors along here that we found, but we enjoyed just walking back along the original trail. The fairy doors walk on the Dog Stream Track is the best short family walk in Hanmer Springs and one I can guarantee the kids will do without whinging.

The Fairy Door Walk will take about 20-30 minutes return for little legs to toddle.  An adult would take about 15 mins to walk the track, but it isn’t very long at all.  A lovely beginners walk for kids that they will ask to do again and again.

Other things to do in Brooke Dawson Park
  • Have a picnic on the picnic tables
  • Build a dam or bridge in Dog Stream
  • Bike on the nearby Pump Track or on the flat paths here in Dog Stream Reserve
  • Take a dip or paddle in the stream
  • Throw a frisbee or play backyard cricket
  • Hide under the little bridge and scare your mum (Kippy thinks I should add that.  He also thought it was hilarious when he did it) 


Combining the Art Sculpture Trail on the Forest Amble Walk and the Fairy Door walk

We chose to combine both the Forest Amble Walk (see photo below) and the Fairy Door Walk, to do both walks in one morning.  Our 4 and 6 year olds are quite used to walking and in total, this took us around an hour with lots of exploring along the way.  

We started at the beginning of the Forest Amble Walk, turning right and following the signs at the entrance to the Forest (rather than going straight ahead)  We followed the track all the way to the turnoff to the township (just after the eagle and the rats) You could have continued the track back to the beginning, but we were told there were only the mushroom sculptures along this section, so felt ok to skip it.

Following the village track, we headed down the narrow track and turned left (at the closed bridge), walking along Dog Stream.  Head over the bridge and follow the Dog Stream track. Once you head over the bridge at the end of the big field, you will be on the lower Dog Stream Track and you can start looking around for fairy doors.  You will end up in a reserve at the other end of the trail and the opposite end of town. We walked back through the township, a great chance for coffee or snacks.

Below: Forest Amble Walk

Other awesome things to do in Hanmer Springs

If you love Fairy Door Walks, Canterbury has another few beautiful fairy door walks that the kids will love


Founder of Backyard Travel Family

Jen is a super organiser when it comes to travel. Having travelled extensively in Europe and Africa, has lived in London and the USA and holidayed in many parts of Asia, she is not a newbie to the travel space

Jen has three young children, 5 and under and travels around New Zealand with them.

Backyard Travel Family New Zealand. Lets share these articles and spread the love

what you need to know


- Starts at the end of Bath Street in Brooke Dawson Park

The walk

- 20-30 minutes return for little legs
- very short forest walk
- fairy doors as the base of trees (and a few up in the trees)

Suitable for kids?

- Yes this is the perfect short walk for all kids. Easily the best short walk for toddlers and young children. - Stroller accessible and wheelchair accessible


- Free Parking
- Toilets
- Grassy area on the lakeside
- Picnic tables in Brooke Dawson Park
- Track is shaded
- Shallow stream in nearby Brooke Dawson Park to play in

What to bring

- Camera for all their cute faces as they find the colourful doors
- Picnic for lunch in Brooke Dawson Park

Food options

Only a few minutes from Hanmer Springs Village, you have access to the 4 Square Supermarket and many cafes, restaurants and bars.

What the critics thought

Emilia often joins us on walks in the backpack, as at 18 months old, she is just too small to walk at a decent pace. This walk for perfect for her. Flat and easy, she ran from tree to tree searching for the doors. More, More she said as she ran ahead. We did this walk 3 times in the week we were here. I think now she expects fairy doors on all the trees. You can't miss this for young kids... and the 4 and 6 year old loved it too!
Backyard Travel Family / Your go to for practical advice for active families travelling around New Zealand
Jen and Emilia
Big fans of this walk
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