New Zealand Hiking

 

  Best hiking in 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. 

  New Zealand Great Walks 

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.


 

  North Island day hikes 

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)


 

  North Island Multi-Day Hikes 

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

Poukaia Circuit Mt Taranaki - Mt Egmont National Park

 

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


 

  South Island Day Hikes 

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

Rob Roy Glacier Hike

 

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 Cook Hooker Valley

 

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


 

  South Island Multi-Day Hikes 

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

 Holyford Valley view from helicopter

 

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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Taranaki

 

 

Taranaki might be a slightly less known region in New Zealand, unless you're a keen surfer or windsurfer. The landscape is dominated by the perfectly shaped volcanic cone which is Mt Taranaki, or Mt Egmont. At 2500m not only does it entirely dominate the landscape, but it also creates its own climate. On any given day, the winds may be reaching gale force on one side of the mountain, while on the other side you may be relaxing on the beach without a sigh of wind, such is the impact of the mountain.

In winter you may ski down the mountain in the morning, and in summer there are a number of excellent hiking opportunities, including hikes to the summit or right around the mountain.

Surf Highway 45 offers word class surf and windsurfing conditions and the black iron sandy beaches are wild and beautiful and aplenty.

 

Marlborough

 

When travelling from the North Island to the South Island on the Interislander ferry, the sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds are the first sight. Picton is the destination port, and a good base to go walking, fishing, sailing, kayaking and exploring the many secluded bays in the Sounds. 

The Marlborough region is internationally recognized for its world class wine, most notably its Sauvignon Blanc, and there are many different ways to sample these wines as their are many wineries offering excellent wine tours. By bike, or by luxury old timer cars, the creativity with which these tours are organized is brilliant. The seafood in this region is also sumptuous, great to combine with a glass of the local wines.

Those put off by the large crowds on the Abel Tasman Track will love the Queen Charlotte Track. The beaches are a little less exquisite, but the coastal scenery is still stunning and there are many accommodation options aolong the track.

Nelson - Tasman

 

 

The Nelson-Tasman region is blessed with an incredibly diverse natural beauty, offering no less than three of the finest National Parks in the country. From the golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, dramatic and lush rainforests in Kahurangi National Park, to the alpine environment of Nelson Lakes National Park, this region has it all. The area around Nelson is also one of the sunniest in the country, due to the protecting surrounding hills, so it's a popular region with travelers.

Nelson is the South Island's second largest city, noted for its fruit-growing industry in the Motueka Valley, wineries and micro-breweries. It also has an energetic local arts and crafts community with local artists exhibiting their products on the famed Nelson market every Saturday. Nearby Rabbit Island boasts great swimming beaches, boating fishing and forest walks. 

Further west, Motueka is the centre of a green tea, hops and fruit-growing area, and is a good base to explore the nearby parks. The drive over Takaka Hill takes you into Golden Bay, whre you may find the biggest cave in the Southern Hemisphere as well as New Zealand's largest freshwater spring, the Waikoropupu Springs, simply called "Pupu Springs", with reputedly the clearest water in the world.

Kaikoura

 

Kaikoura is a unique place by the sea where marine wildlife lives in abundance, against the backdrop of the impressive Kaikoura mountain ranges. It is well known for its range of eco-tourism activities and getting up close with the main inhabitant along its shores, the giant Sperm Whale.

Whale watching in Kaikoura is simply a must-do as you're guaranteed to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, and along the way you're most likely to see a pod of bottlenose or duksy dolphins play in the water, be impressed by the take-off and water landing of the Royal Albatross, and see a bunch of sea lions lazing about on a rock, suc is the diversity.

The ocean here also provides some spectacular seafood, and a stay in Kaikoura may not go by without having tried the crayfish

Aoraki - Mt Cook

 

 

The approach to new Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt Cook, via the blue lake of Lake Pukaki is something you will remember for a lifetime. At 3754m Mt Cook entirely dominates the landscape and as you draw ever closer, its imperious glaze on you only gets more and more impressive.

Mt Cook National Park, along with Aspiring and Westland National Parks, have been incorporated into a World Heritage Area extending from the Cook River in Westland down to the base of Fiordland. Of the 27 mountains in New Zealand which are over 300om, 22 of them are in Mt Cook National Park. The park also boasts New Zealand's longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier.

The park offer numerous hikes to get up close with Mt Cook, but also offer many other exciting adventure activities, such as mountaineering, helicopter flights, heli-skiing and sea-kayaking on glacial waters.

West Coast - Glaciers

 

 

The West Coast or Westland is a rugged and wild land with rocky beaches, deep river gorges,  bush-clad hills and towering icy-peaks. Extending across a 600km long stretch on the western side of the Southern Alps, a visit here takes you through a myriad of five National Parks, yes five!!, including the World Heritage Area - Te Wahipounamu. Each of the national parks - Kahurangi, Paparoa, Arthur's Pass, Westland and Mt Aspiring National Parks - have their their own unique and distinct features. You'll find New Zealand's highest mountains, most dense and lush rainforests, natural rivers, glacial lakes, deepest gorges,  and of course the two phenomenal Glaciers themselves, Fox and Franz Josef.

Wanaka

 

 

Wanaka receives slightly less attention than it's more famous neighbour Queenstown, only about an hour away, but one may argue which of the two towns is nestled in the most impressive scenery. While that may be a very difficult question to answer, Wanaka boasts a similar range of adrenaline activities, but with some more serenity about it all.  The town offers fine dining and living and is the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park and the Treble Cone, Cardrona, Harris Mountains and Pisa Range ski areas. Every second Easter, Wanaka hosts the incredibly popular Warbirds over Lake Wanaka, a huge international air show that sees the town swell with visitors.

The central feature of the region is Mt Aspiring, surrounded by the national park with the same name. The alpine scenery does not get any more dramatic than this in New Zealand, and offers some of the best hiking in the country. The park has wide valleys, secluded flats, more than 100 glaciers and towering mountains. The southern end of the park around Glenorchy receives most visitors and includes popular hikes such as the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand's great walks, but there are also excellent shorter walks and more demanding hikes in the Matukituki Valley close to Wanaka. 


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Millenniumm Queenstown

 Image result for millennium queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, Millennium Hotel Queenstown is just minutes from Queenstown central shopping, entertainment and outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating. The popular ski destinations of Coronet Peak, Remakables, and Cardrona are also close by. 

This luxury hotel also offers accessible rooms for special needs guests with their friendly staff on hand to assist you anytime. Most of this accommodation also offers scenic views of Queenstown city and mountains, providing the perfect backdrop to your trip. Millennium Hotel Queenstown is a 4-star plus and Enviro-Gold Qualmark rated hotel, with an Environmental Sustainability Plan for the future. 

Citylife Wellington (Heritage)

 Image result for citylife wellington

Wellington prides itself on being not only the country’s capital, but also its cultural capital – and there’s no better place to soak up the atmosphere than CityLife Wellington, with hotel accommodation located right in the heart of the city. Situated on Lambton Quay, you’ll find the best shopping, tourist attractions and cultural landmarks all within easy walking distance.

When you want a breather, the hotel offers plenty of ways to make the most of your downtime. Enjoy a hotel experience unlike other Wellington hotels.

Whether you’re seeking Wellington accommodation for work, rest or play, our spacious rooms offer you the comforts of home - with the added benefits of housekeeping and room service.

Offering a range of one and two bedroom serviced apartments, After an exciting day of sightseeing or business, you can now enjoy an even better night's sleep with extra comfy beds in all rooms.

 

Rutherford Nelson (Heritage)

 Image result for rutherford nelson a heritage hotel

Whether you’re visiting our incredible region for business or pleasure, Rutherford Hotel Nelson is the obvious choice for luxury accommodation in Nelson.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson is Nelson’s only 24-hour fully-serviced hotel, offering luxurious rooms and suites – ideal for corporate travelers, families and conference delegates. The central location means Nelson’s many galleries and City attractions are just a stone’s throw away. All rooms have a view of the harbour, city, historic South Street or Nelson’s beautiful cathedral.

The stylish accommodation will suit anyone looking for a great place to stay in Nelson, whether you’re here on holiday, in town for a wedding or visiting Nelson for a conference. 

 

Distinction Hotel Lake Te Anau

 

Get away from it all, and escape into the serene surroundings of Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Lake Te Anau before heading out to explore the world-famous beauty of Fiordland including Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. With its range of modern hotel accommodation options, 2 on-site restaurants, FREE unlimited WiFi, complimentary guest car parking and an excellent standard of service, the team at Distinction Luxmore Hotel will make your stay in Te Anau comfortable and enjoyable.
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Conveniently located in the heart of Te Anau's town shopping centre and a short stroll from Lake Te Anau, the South Island's largest lake and launching pad for many water based activities. The 180 room Distinction Luxmore Hotel offers guests a wide range of modern, refurbished hotel accommodation.

Alpine Resort Wanaka (Distinction)

 Image result for alpine resort wanaka


Distinction Wanaka Alpine Resort is nestled in a quiet Lake Wanaka location and guests can enjoy access to the resort facilities whilst staying in the serviced apartments. The stylish, self-contained, serviced apartments each provide a high level of personal comfort and convenience, perfect for all seasons.

They offer a fully equipped kitchen, televisions with 50+ channels of SKY channels, free WiFi, under-floor heating in the bathrooms, private & secure car garages, perfect for storing additional equipment such as skis and bikes. Enquire about daily, weekly and longer term servicing options..

Scenic Hotel Napier

 Image result for scenic hotel napier

We invite you to enjoy quality 4-star hotel accommodation of an international standard. From the moment you step into our spacious, light-filled lobby, you will experience our commitment to quality and customer service. If you fancy waking up to serene ocean views, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is the perfect place to start your day in Hawke’s Bay. Simply leave the curtains open, roll over in bed, and soak it all in. 

Hawke's Bay is one of the first places in the world to see the light each day, with Napier hotel enjoying a premium waterfront location on Napier's Marine Parade. The hotel’s slender curved form echoes the shape of the bay and guests are treated to sweeping views out over the water. A fresh, contemporary style hotel, Scenic Hotel Te Pania is just a short stroll from Napier’s main art deco style street and is located in close proximity to many of Napier's attractions..

 

Scenic Franz Josef

 Image result for scenic hotel franz josef

In the heart of the village and edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier is only a breath away from the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. 

This hotel offers everything you need to be able to explore this dramatic region in style and comfort. With an exceptional restaurant, serving hearty, West Coast fare, and the Moa Bar with its open fireplace, you are never without choice. Plus, with the private hot pools and our Amaia Luxury Spa close by, you can enjoy time out to rejuvenate after a day taking in the many walking tracks and other outdoor pursuits. 

Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel, plus a guest information and booking service will ensure that you can make the most of every minute you spend in the Westland region.

 

Funyaks + Jet Boat

  Image result for funyak + jet boat queenstown

This day in and around Queenstown takes you deep into "Paradise", near Glenorchy in Mt Aspiring National Park.

An unmissable experience with the exhilaration of a wilderness jet boat ride combined with a leisurely downstream float on easy to use Funyaks (inflatable kayaks) awaits you. This trip is a must-do to explore the truly unique Dart River. Your amazing journey begins with an exhilarating jet boat ride up the Dart River deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. From here you’ll then travel back down river at your own pace in our unique Funyaks exploring pristine waters as they flow from the Southern Alps to Lake Wakatipu, hidden side streams with amazing rock pools and dramatic chasms.
Just when you think your Funyaks adventure is over, you will enjoy a gourmet buffet lunch before heading via 4 wheel drive coach to locations used in the movies to illustrate Middle Earth from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

Milford Sound Cruise

  Image result for milfors dound cruise

Description: A spectacular two-hour cruise to the mouth of the fiord on a spacious, classic vessel with excellent viewing opportunities. The Haven has large windows, spacious decks and beanbag lounges which offer uninterrupted views of towering peaks and surging waterfalls. Keep a look out for seals basking on the rocks, dolphins and penguins. Enjoy scenic highlights such as Mitre Peak and Stirling Falls. Informative commentary from the captain explains the history and highlights points of interest during the cruise. Suitable for all ages.

Departure Point: Milford Sound Visitor Terminal, Milford Sound.

Peppers Bluewater Resort - Lake Tekapo

 Image result for peppers bluewater resort

Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world.

Peppers Bluewater Resort is set amongst the purest natural landscape. Romantic and secluded, your accommodation in Lake Tekapo reflects the beautiful landscape surrounding you.

You can explore the natural wonders of Mount Cook and the Mackenzie region from here. Marvel at an International Dark Sky Reserve with millions of stars. Ride horses through the mountains, catch a scenic flight to Franz Josef glacier, go skiing, or immerse yourself in the Tekapo Springs Day Spa and Hot Pools.