New Zealand's Great Walks: When to Go and Which one to Choose
'Tramping' (that’s Kiwi for 'hiking') is a favourite national past-time and small wonder why - New Zealand’s awe-inspiring natural landscapes invite enthusiastic hikers to stretch their legs on a collection of short walks and multi-day tracks. We have put together a collection of some of New Zealand’s great walks:
The essentials: 55km (3 days of walking or 2 days mountain biking). Best enjoyed May to September.
The newest addition to New Zealand’s “Great Walks” (opening December 2019) is designed for keen hikers and experienced mountain bikers (on the advanced Grade 4 ride). Traversing the Paparoa Range, the walk showcases spectacular scenery - from the Southern Alps to the Tasman Sea on the South Island’s rugged west coast. Hikers can expect dramatic limestone landscapes (including the Pororari River Gorge), secluded swimming holes, beech forests and rainforests on the three-day hike.
The Milford Track
The essentials: 53km (4 days). The track can also be enjoyed in sections as a collection of day walks. Open year round, advanced bookings are essential between October and April as the track is limited to 40 ‘trampers’ starting the walk each day.
One of the finest and most iconic walks in the world, the Milford Track explores and reveals deep valleys carved by glaciers, ancient rainforests and cascading waterfalls. Traversing alpine and Fiordland landscape, over boardwalks and suspension bridges, the Milford Track has been attracting hikers from around the globe for more than 150 years. Walkers can enjoy well-appointed wilderness lodge accommodation with expert-guided touring.
The essentials: 19.4km (approx. 6-8 hours). Open all year round although only experienced hikers should attempt a guided walking option during the winter months when the region may be snow covered. The best time to enjoy this walk is between November and April.
One of New Zealand’s most popular one-day hikes travels through dramatic volcanic landscapes, past sparkling Emerald Lakes, steaming hot springs and old lava flows.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track
The essentials: 60km (3-5 days). The one-way track can also be enjoyed in sections as a collection of day walks. Open year round.
On board walks and over suspension bridges, past waterfalls and natural rock pools, through pristine forests and along golden stretches of sand, the Abel Tasman Coast Track offers stunning scenery at every bend in the path. Stop and swim in crystal clear waters (or even kayak part of the way to see seals and penguins).
The Heaphy Track
The essentials: 82km (4 days). The track can also be enjoyed in sections as a collection of day walks. Open year round.
This ancient Maori Trail travels through lush and tranquil forests and over sub-alpine grasslands to the wild and rugged West Coast, showcasing a diversity of dramatic untouched scenery along the way.
The Routeburn Track
The essentials: 32km one way (2-4 days). Open October to April.
The ultimate alpine adventure hike, the Routeburn track in the centre of the South Island links the Mt Aspiring National Park with the Fiordland National Park as it weaves over mountains and through valleys, over meadows, past waterfalls and sparkling lakes, through beech forests and over open alpine plains.
The Hokkey Valley Track
The essentials: 10km (3 hours). Open year round.
One of New Zealand’s most dramatic day hikes showcases iconic views of New Zealand’s tallest Mountain (Mt Cook / Aoraki). A snapshot of the Southern Alps, the Hokkey Track reveals refreshing mountain streams and awe-inspiring glacial landscapes.
Ask the Southern Crossings Travel Designers (firstname.lastname@example.org) to tailor a hiking tour to suit your interests, timings and fitness level. In addition to these popular Great Walks, Southern Crossings can take you off-the-beaten track to enjoy a collection of spectacular private guided walks that you won’t find on any maps or in any well-thumbed guidebooks. We take great pride in introducing visitors to hidden corners of the country, shared only with the local fauna and flora.
Across the Tasman, hikers are equally-well rewarded with a collection of Australia's great walks and spectacular multi-day hikes.; including the New Spicers Rim Walk.