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





Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and will most likely be your entry point into New Zealand. Also known as the City of Sails, or as Kiwis themselves name it Little Big City, Auckland is certainly the most vibrant and most happening city in New Zealand. By international standards it's quite small, but it's also one of the world's most exciting waterside cities. Situated in the Hauraki Gulf the city is surrounded by water, and this is reflected in the number of leisure boats per capita, which is the highest in the world. To really appreciate it, you have to take to the waters, sailing on the harbour or taking a ferry to one of the numerous islands, including Waiheke and Rangitoto Islands, or a little bit more off the beaten track, Great Barrier Island.


Bay of Islands


Northland is a region in New Zealand rich with historic significance, and it is also the birthplace of New Zealand. It is one of the first regions settled from Polynesia, and also the place where the European settlers first made contact with the Maori. The main attraction in this region is the sublime maritime park of the Bay of Islands, with no less than 144 islands and secluded bays. Most visitors queue up for the Bay of Islands, but all along the East Coast you'll find scenic, sheltered bays and exquisite beaches.

Also called the "Winterless North", the subtropical climate is pleasant throughout the year, and an aquatic playground for a whole range of leisure and adventure activities such as diving, fishing, sailing, surfing, kayaking and dolphin swimming. The main gateway for these activities is Paihia.




Green rolling hills and lush farmlands are the main decor in Waitomo/Waikatoa, and it is home to some well known icons such as the world class surf breaks in the bohemian seaside town of Raglan, which also happens to be our home. The set for the Shire in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbiton movies in Matamata is a unique experience not to be missed, and the world famous Waitomo Caves are a magical place, with numerous options to explore the caves, whether participating in one of the many adventure activities or marvelling at the wonderful light display created by glowworms.

Rotorua is New Zealand's main geothermal area and a centre where Maori culture thrives. It is situated on the shore of Lake Rotorua, and the whole region offers a mix of pristine lakes to enjoy. Explore the many geothermal wonderlands with boiling mud pools, geysers, steamy and colorful lakes, and unwind at a natural hot spring spa or choose from one of the therapeutic spa and massage therapies



The Coromandel Peninsula is a favourite among New Zealanders themselves, and it's not hard to understand why. Its only a 2 hour drive from the major cities Auckland and Hamilton, but yet it feels quite remote and isolated, so it's an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The fact that is also boasts some of New Zealand's finest and most pristine beaches may obviously play a big role as well!

Lifestyle in the Coromandel is very relaxed and there are many coastal towns each with their own distinct character scattered across the peninsula. It is a haven for those seeking an alternative lifestyle away from the city. 


Taupo - Central North Island


New Zealand's main volcanic area, the Taupo Volcanic Zone, stretches in a line from White Island, north of the Bay of Plenty, through Rotorua and down to Tongariro National Park, which proudly claims the title of dual UNESCO World Heritage Area. The Central Plateau, at the heart of the North Island, is the centre of New Zealand's volcanic activity, and the volcanoes put on a spectacular show from time to time, perhaps once  around every 7 years.

The Ruapehu/Tongariro National Park region is a mecca for outdoor lovers, year round! Summer is a great time to hit the hiking or biking trails, and in winter you can ski down an active volcano, and it is also the largest ski field in New Zealand! The world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing is New Zealand's premier day hike, if not one of the world's! For an even greater appreciation of all the volcanoes, the Tongariro Circuit is a 3-4 day tramp around the volcanoes and is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. The fresh rivers near Turangi provide for world class trout fishing, which can also be found in Taupo.

Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake. In fact, it is the largest fresh water lake in Australasia, and with the plethora of activities on offer (from fishing and boating on the lake or scenic flights over the voclanoes to the adrenaline pumping activities such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jetboating) it is on most traveller's itineraries. Taupo is also the source of New Zealand's longest river, the Waikato River, and the Huka Falls are a spectacular sight to behold.


Hawke's Bay - East Coast


The East Coast of New Zealand is a sun blessed region and receives most sunshine hours annually across the entire country. No surprise it is also one of the largest wine regions in the country, and there's no shortage of world class wine to sample on a variety of available wine tours. 

Beautiful beaches can be found all along the East Coast, and as the first place to see a new day in the world, the sunrises on show every morning are devastatingly spectacular. Inland you'll find towering forested hills in the Kaweka and Raukumara Forest parks, and a little more inland the majestic Te Urewera Park, taking you back in time with ancient and enchanting forests.

The East Cape is a scenic, isolated and little known region in the North Island where the pace of life is laid back and the settlements are predominantly Maori.  The drive around the Cape offers magnificent views of the wild coast dotted with little bays, inlets and coves that change their mood together with the weather. For a unique, remote experience off the main tourist trail, this is a must place region to visit in New Zealand.




Southland is most famous for Milford Sound, and while a visit to Milford Sound simply cannot be missed, it is well worth spending a little more time in this incredible frontier of rugged fiords, mountains, spectacular coastal scenery and an abundance of marine and bird wildlife.

The spectacular Fiordland National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, includes some of the best walks in New Zealand such as the world famous Milford and Routeburn Tracks. Along the Milford track you'll find a sign somewhere "the finest walk in the world", and we don't argue that. It is right up there and the scenery is jaw-dropping from start to finish. Three of the walks in Fiordland National Park also belong to the Great Walks of New Zealand, the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn. The gateway into Fiordland National Park is Te Anau, beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Te Anau.




Wellington is a destination with many superlatives. It is beautifully nestled between bush clad hills and one of the most picturesque harbours in the world, it was named the best city to live in the world in 2017, and it is also one of the windiest cities in the world. But as Wellingtonians say : You can't beat Wellington on a good day, and we certainly have a soft spot for this fantastic city.

Wellington is the nation's centre for arts and culture, with the National Museum Te Papa one of the main icons of the city.  The city also contains a plethora of restaurants, cafes, bars, nightlife and activities and is also home to New Zealand's parliament. Due to its compact size it is easy to explore the city on foot.




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.




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 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.



Canterbury is the hub of the South Island and contains its largest city, Christchurch. It is also one of the driest and flattest areas of New Zealand. The moisture-laden westerlies from the Tasman Sea hit the Southern Alps and dump their rainfall on the West Coast before reaching Canterbury. The region is dominated by the expansive Canterbury Plains, dead-flat farming land backed by the Southern Alps.

Christchurch was hit by devastating earthquakes in 2011 which damaged a lot of the inner city's infrastructure, but the city is bouncing back remarkably and the creativity and community spirit has made the city a vibrant place once again. The city's botanic gardens receive international acclaim and a great place to relax before you start your journey or have concluded your journey, as you're most likely to start or end your tour in Christchurch. The nearby Banks Peninsula was formed by two giant volcanic eruptions and has a strong French influence. The picturesque harbour of Akaroa is well worth a visit.

In North Canterbury the thermal waters of Hanmer Springs have been attracting visitors for many years, but the region is also popular for outdoor activities including hiking, rafting, bungy jumping and skiiing in winter. All of this action means it is a favourite weekend spot for people from Christchurch.



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. 



For a long time Queenstown in Central Otago has had an international reputation for its spectacular scenery and adventure activities, but the region is now also recognized for its award winning wines. 

Queenstown is the unofficial 'adventure capital of the world', but the entire Wakatipu region with its stunning lake and surrounding mountains alone are a real attraction. The aptly named Remarkable mountains provide the most breathtaking backdrop, whether snow capped in winter, or at sunrise or in the afterglow at dusk.

Facilities in Queenstown are excellent as well, from budget to boutique accommodation options, some of the best dining in New Zealand and a buzzing nightlife with numerous cafes and bars. 

There's also great skiing in winter on Coronet Peak and Cardrona and plenty of substitute adrenaline activities in summer. Bungy jumping was invented in New Zealand and Queenstown offers a plethora of jumping options. There's also skydiving, jetboating, mountainbiking, canyoning, white water rafting, hiking, sledging, parapenting, the list is simply endless.

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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.