New Zealand Hiking

  Best Hikes New Zealand


We've compiled a list of New Zealand hikes here below which we believe are the best the country has to offer, though we understand this is personal. That said, we're sure that there's something to accommodate everyone, so if you're keen on including one of the below hikes in your tour of New Zealand, just let us know and we'll make it happen! And the best part is, many of the hikes you can just simply do for free. 

 

  • The Great Walks of New Zealand
  • New Zealand's premier hikes are categorized as the Great Walks of New Zealand. Scattered across the country through an incredible variety of diverse and spectacular landscapes, and we dare to say some of the best on the planet, there are 9 Great Walks, with the 10th opening in 2019. These are multi-day hikes which require you to carry your own pack of about 15kg each day. The tracks are generally well formed, but a reasonable level of fitness is required. For a little more comfort, you may also choose to embark on a guided hike.

    The Milford Track in Fiordland National Park is often labelled the finest walk in the world, and that's no exaggeration. The other famous walks such as the Routeburn Track and Abel Tasman Coast Track are also extremely popular, and it is required to book well ahead to guarantee a spot in one of the huts or campsites on these tracks. The Department of Conservations only starts accepting bookings for the next season around July, so it's worth keeping an eye on this.

    These are the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand :

    1. Milford Track - Fiordland National Park

    2. Routeburn Track - Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks

    Routeburn Track Great Walk - New Zealand

    3. Kepler Track - Fiordland National Park

    4. Rakiura Track - Stewart Island

    5. Abel Tasman Coast Track

    Abel Tasman Coastal Track - New Zealand

    6. Paparoa Track - Paparoa National Park

    7. Heaphy Track - Westland and Kahurangi National Parks

    8. Whanganui River Journey - Whanganui National Park

    9. Tongariro Northern Circuit - Tongariro National Park

    10. Lake Waikaremoana Track - Urewera National Park

    Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk - New Zealand

     

    It is simply impossible to try and list all of the amazing hikes New Zealand has to offer, but the list shown below are great alternatives in case you are shorter on time, or should you have missed out on booking one of the Great Walks. In some cases you can still enjoy sections of the Great Walks.


  •  Day Hikes North Island
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing :  Be ready for a day of sensory overload on this incredible one-day trek across a dramatic volcanic landscape that will leave you in awe...The contrasts are amazing with glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, steaming vents, vivid crater lakes and a true alpine experience, all with stunning views from start to finish. This IS one of the best day hikes in the world, and simply must be on your itinerary in New Zealand...full stop!

    Duration : 7-8 hours (19.4km)

    Grade : Intermediate Tramping Track

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing - New Zealand

     

    The Pinnacles (Coromandel Forest Park): This is a popular walk among Kiwis themselves. The hike steadily climds leading up to Pinnacles Hut, and on to the summit of the Pinnacles with spectacular views of the Coromandel Peninsula. If you want to get a Jurassic Park feeling, then this is the hike for you! It can be completed as a day or overnight walk.  

    Duration : 6-7 hours return

    Grade : Intermediate Tramping Track

    Cape Brett Coastal Track (Bay of Islands): This trek traverses rugged terrain for 16km and offers spectacular coastal scenery and view of the Bay of Islands. Towards the Cape, walking alongside the dramatic cliff-face, you can see abundant fish and bird life below - often dolphins and seals will come close to shore.

    Duration : 8 hours

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

    Lake Waikareiti (Urewera National Park) : The Lake Waikareiti Walk is a short 2 hour return trip starting at the Lake Waikeremoana Visitor Centre. The walk climbs gently to Lake Waikereiti, where an incrediblly untouched wilderness awaits you. The serenity of the lake with its turquoise clear waters are simply spell bounding and is one of our favorite locations on the North Island. You may hire a dingy from the Department of Conservation and go for a paddle on the lake, or you may choose to continue walking along its shores. The tranquility is something you will never forget!

    Duration : 2 hours return + spending time around the lake

    Mt Urchin Track  (Kaimanawa Forest Park) : Mount Urchin in Kaimanawa Forest park just east of Tongariro National Park off Desert Roead offers an easily accessible wilderness of beautiful beech forest, incredible views and a real alpine environment. 

    Duration : 3-4 hours return

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

    Cathedral Cove Coromandel : A 45-minute walk from the carpark leads down to one of the most iconic and pristine beaches of New Zealand. The walk is easy and the coastal views are amazing, and the reward is a stunning white sandy beach with rocky outcrops and the famous arch. Bring your swimming gear!

    Length : 45 minutes one way

    Grade : Easy Walking Track)

     

     

  • Multi-Day Hikes North Island
  • Te Paki Coastal Track (Cape Reinga) : At the very top of New Zealand, this coastal track is Northland's answer to the Rakiura Great Walk on Stewart Island. Enjoy sweeping views of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean along the rugged coastline with its pristine beaches and huge sand dunes. There is self sufficient camping available along this track at various locations.

    Length : 48km one way  (3-4 days)

    Grade : Easy Walking Track

    Poukaia Circuit Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont National Park) : This is Mt Egmont's National Park premier 2-3 day hike with spectacular views of the perfectly shaped cone that is Mt Taranaki. Pass through forests, alpine tussock fields and even a swamp on this unforgettable journey. The weather is very changeable on Mt Taranaki, so do prepare yourself for alpine conditions. 

    Length : 25km (2-3 days)

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

     

    Mt Urchin - Umukarikari Circuit : This overnight tramp offers spectacular views of Lake Taupo and the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park and provides a real Alpine experience, as you'll spend most of the time above the bush line.

    Length : 30km (2 days)

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

     

  •  Day Hikes South Island
  • Key Summit (part of Routeburn Track) : Enjoy panoramic and dramatic views of mountains and alpine lakes on this section of the Routeburn Track which starts off Milford Road. For those with less time, this hike is an excellent option to experience what the Great Walks of New Zealand are all about. This track is also suitable for children.

    Duration : 3-4 hours return

    Grade : Intermediate Tramping Track

    Key Summit - Fiordland National Park

     

    Abel Tasman Coastal Track : The beauty of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is that you can decide which section of the 4 day Great Walk you would like to do, as water taxis can drop you off at different locations on the track, as well as pick you up again. And you can't go wrong on this coastal paradise. Golden beaches, lush native forests, and an abundance of marine wildlife. All set in one of the sunniest places in New Zealand. Enjoy!

    Duration : Choose from half day to full day options

    Grade : Easy Walking Track

    Roy's Peak (Wanaka) : A steep climb through Alpine tussock fields and alpine meadows takes you to the summit with breathtaking views over Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring. This is a popular track and one of the very best day hikes New Zealand has to offer

    Duration : 5-6 hours

    Grade : Easy Walking Track

    Roy's Peak Climb Wanaka

     

    Rob Roy Glacier Walk (Matukituki Valley, West of Wanaka) : Sheer rock cliffs, waterfalls, alpine landscapes with snowfields, and of course the Glacier at the end of the track! A great option showing you a diverse alpine enviromnent.

    Duration : 3-4 hours (10km return)

    Grade : Easy Walking Track

     

    Isthmus Peak (Matukituki Valley, West of Wanaka) :  An amazing day hike rewarding you with views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. It's a more strenuous option to the Roy's Peak and Rob Roy Glacier walks.

    Duration : 5-7 hours return

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

    Lake Marian (Fiordland National Park) : Lake Marian is an alpine lake in a hanging valley formed by glacial action, in one of the most beautiful settings in Fiordland. The lake is above the bush line and is surrounded by mountains with magnificent reflections if the weather is calm. Note that the track is steep and muddy in places.

    Duration : 2.4km return

    Grade : Easy Walking Track

    Muller Hut (Mt Cook National Park) : The climb up to Muller Hut offers views of New Zealand's most imposing landscapes and with 360 degree views of the country's highest peaks, including Mt Cook.

    Duration : 4-5 hours (5.4km one way)

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

     

    Mt Robert Circuit (Nelson Lakes National Park) : A great day option (including for the kids) in Nelson Lakes National Park is the Mt Robert Circuit Track with expansive views of Lake Rotoiti and the Southern Alps. A little bit of the beaten track as well, which adds to the appeal here.

    Duration : 5 hours (9km loop)

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track 

    Lake Gunn Nature Walk (Fiordland National Park) : A 45-minute return nature walk through beautiful beech forest alongside Lake Gunn and the backdrop of the phenomenal Fiordland wilderness starting from Milford Road. There is wheelchair access and is suitable for all ages.

    Length : 45 minutes return

    Grade : Easy Walking Track

     

     

  •  Multi-Day Hikes South Island
  • Hump Ridge Track (Fiordland National Park): This 3 day loop track in the South of Fiordland National Park provides marvellous views from sub-alpine tops and rugged coastline, and is a fantastics alternative to one of the popular Great Walks in Fiordland National Park. Please note that for this track, hut bookings are also required.

    Duration : 3 days (61 km)

    Grade : Intermediate Tramping Track

    Hollyford Track (Fiordland National Park) : The Hollyford track is taking a step into an ancient world untouched by people! This is perhaps the best alternative to one of the great walks in the region. If you ask us, we even prefer this hike, as you will see a lot less people by far and provides you a better wilderness experience. The hike offers everything, deep valleys, towering waterfalls, hidden lakes and dramatic alpine scenery. Pure New Zealand soul food! brochure

    Duration : 4-8 days (60km)

    Grade : Advanded Tramping Track

     

     

    Copland Track (Westland National Park): Experience Westland's spectacular forest, river and mountain scenery. A soak in the natural hot pools at Welcome Flat will be appreciated by your feet at the end of the day! Brochure

    Duration : 2 days (36km return)

    Grade : Intermediate Tramping Track

    Lake Angelus Circuit (Nelson Lakes National Park): A great alternative if you would like to go a little off the beaten track is the Lake Angelus Circuit in Nelson Lakes National Park. In fact, there are many day hike options as well as other multi-day hikes available. Check them out here

    Duration : 2-3 days

    Grade : Advanced Tramping Track

     

     

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