Hikes in New Zealand – 10 best Trails

Trails in New Zealand

A hike in New Zealand can be long and difficult or take less than an hour – either way they end up being a memory for life. Both the South Island and North Island offer loads of tracks.

Here is the list of trails you should add to your adventure in Aotearoa – choose the one that suits you and go explore!

Reminder! Just don´t forget to check the weather and bring the equipment you need for each and every hike. Enjoy.

Here you’ll find the 10 best hiking trails of New Zealand

Mount Taranaki, North Island

A sight and a hike you will never forget. The trail up and down Mount Taranaki, also called Mount Egmont, takes about 8-10 hours. It is a tough one, but you can always set your own level.

You can for example choose to do parts of it and stop before the final climb to the summit. Also, this sleeping stratovolcano is actually breathtaking already from the ground. If you hike to the lake Pouakai Tarn you will be at a famous point for photographers all over the world. On a sunny and no-windy day you will see the reflection of Taranaki in the lake and while you are there you can always continue to the Pouakai hut, to spend the night in Egmont National Park.

Franz Josef Glacier Walk, South Island

A guided tour or go by yourself, either way a stop in the small town Franz Joseph and its glacier is worth a visit. Follow the Waiho river and get on the Franz Josef Glacier Walk to get to the 12 kilometer long glacier. After about one and a half hour walk you will be 750 meters within the glacier´s face.

Another idea is to book a heli-hike, then you go with a helicopter to the glacier and experience an adventure with a guide, 300 meters above sea.

But take your chance, because due to global warming the glacier is getting smaller – so see it while you can

Roy´s peak, South Island

Roy´s peak is a moderately difficult hike, with a steeper uphill climb. The trail starts only a few minutes car ride from the city of Wanaka, then a 5-6 hour hike awaits to reach the summit. In this case the 16 kilometer journey is really the goal, because on a nice day you will be able to take in the spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains on your way up. At the same time it is hard to beat the 360-degree view that you well-deserved will be able to enjoy on the summit.

The Centre of New Zealand, South Island

This is not a long hike, but if you have some extra time to spend in town Nelson – this is perfect as a lunch spot or morning routine. Like a spiral staircase the trail goes around the mountain and up to the well known ”Centre of New Zealand Monument”. On one side you look over the city and Tasman bay waters, on the other you can enjoy undulating mountains as far as the eye can see.

From the Centre of New Zealand you can continue on other trails, favorably running, down to Branford park and end with a swim in the Black hole in the Maitai river.

Abel Tasman Coast track, South Island

The coast trail in Abel Tasman National Park is about 60 kilometers long, including turquoise waters, incredible forest and the possibility to have a break at any of the beaches.

You choose if you want to explore the nature on the trail or hire a kayak, but also how long time you want to spend in the park. Maybe it will be a day trip on the water or maybe you want to complete the whole Abel Tasman track by foot in 3-5 days.

Nelson Lakes National Park – Mount Roberts Circuit, South Island

Around the Nelson Lakes there are too many gorgeous hikes to choose from, so let’s not. Go there and pick one yourself. This national park offers both trails you can concur in a day or several days.

One you can do is Mount Roberts Circuit, a four hour hike that starts in St.Arnaud, where there are camping spots and other accommodation to stay in during the night. This is located just by Rotoiti, a lake where you find waterfalls, huts and trails all around. When walking the Mount Roberts trail you will get a magnificent view over the whole lake. You can choose to close the circle and go back the same day or continue even further – for example to Angels hut.

Mount Cook National Park – Mount Cook, South Island

An extremely popular area for hikes in New Zealand is Mount Cook National Park and there is a reason for it. Already on the road to these mountains you will see the majestic snowy summits.

There are several tracks to choose from. The trail to the Mount Cook summit (3,724 meters above sea) can take everything from 12 to 22 hours, depending on the conditions and how experienced the climber is. Besides that killer hike you can manage others in a much shorter time. For example the Hooker Valley track takes about three hours or Sealy Tarns track takes normally around five to six hours.

Fiordland National Park – Milford track, South Island

The four day long hike on Milford Track takes you through unforgettable beautiful nature in the Fiordland of New Zealand. This national park is a part of Te Wahipounamu, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

During the hike you will get in touch with the ancient rainforest in Aotearoa, fabulous waterfalls and the mysterious fjord Milford Sound. Just remember: If you want to book a boat cruise, going on the water in Milford Sound, make sure you secure your ticket in good time during high season.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, North Island

Ready for 19.4 kilometers hike through volcano landscape? Then the Tongariro Alpine Crossing sounds like something for you. This is a challenging walk, but also includes views and a wide variation of environments that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. The turquoise lakes pop up between the charred lava stones and dark mountains, then transform to a landscape with active craters and panoramic views. This majestic national park is also the place where they filmed Mordor, the fictive land in J.R.R Tolkiens “Lord of the rings” – another reason that this place is famous all over the world!

Cape Brett Track, Bay of Islands, North Island

Cape Brett Track is an eight hour advanced hike, located in the beautiful Bay of Islands. This area is well known for its fantastic views from the northern east coast. One of the things that makes this hike worth the effort is when you reach the Cape Brett peninsula, where you can see the iconic “Hole in the rock”. According to the legend of the indigenous people Māori the warriors paddled through the hole in the mountain with their canoes before they went out to war. This was because the drops from the water were considered a good omen.

Written by: Lina Conrad Andersson

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