Hiking is a popular activity around the world. It’s a great way to get exercise while enjoying spectacular views, natural scenery, and observing wildlife. The incredibly beautiful country of New Zealand offers a huge selection of outstanding hiking trails.
Before starting out on any hike, always ensure you are prepared. Hiking boots are essential, along with several layers of appropriate clothing and a hat. Take plenty of drinking water, emergency food supplies and a medical kit. Don’t forget that your skin can lose a lot of vital moisture during long hikes, so always bring a good moisturiser to keep your skin healthy.
Check the following list of the ten best hiking trails in New Zealand:
- The Abel Tasman Coast Track in the South Island offers one of the best beach hiking trails with 30 miles of sandy beaches offering clear waters, subtropical bush, granite cliffs and the chance to spot fur seals during multi-day hike options.
- The North Island’s Tongariro Alpine Crossing features a truly spectacular 7-hour hike that takes you over a barren landscape of jagged volcanic rock peaks, lava fields, geothermically heated lakes and rolling meadows.
- The South Island’s Mount Cook National Park has one of the best overnight trails on the Mueller Hut Route, taking you up a steep river valley with spectacular views of the river and glacial pools, plus incredible sunsets from the 6,000-ft plateau ridge where you spend the night.
- Set on the largest volcanic cone in Auckland, Rangitoto Island Loop in the North Island takes you through NZ’s largest pohutukawa forest up to the 250-m summit, where you get an amazing view of Auckland City.
- The Mt Victoria Trails are situated in the capital of New Zealand – in Wellington, North Island. Taking about two and a half hours, this loop walk is easily accessible and suited for anybody of average or higher fitness, providing a fantastic view of the city and harbour from the 643-foot summit.
- Visit the Abbey Caves in Whangarei, North Island and marvel at the thousands of glow worms that illuminate the magical, ancient-looking cave formations. You don’t even need to go down into the caves to enjoy the sights – down the Abbey Caves walkway loop, you can view the fascinating cave entrances, the incredible, large limestone outcrops, and an impressive amount of native bush and hardwood trees.
- Te Araroa – meaning ‘the Long Pathway’ in Te Reo Maori – is just that, extending 1,864-miles over both Islands and offering incredible scenic and wildlife viewing. The entire trail takes up to four months to walk but is split into many shorter hikes for you to enjoy.
- Found in Fiordland National Park in the South Island, the Kepler Track is a four-day trek featuring forests, mountain views, hanging valleys, alpine peaks and a Fiordland panorama.
- Also found in Fiordland National park, the four-day, one-way Milford Track allows for campers to stay overnight and takes you on a long past soggy wetlands, lakes and rivers. Make sure you take your camera to capture your exciting journey along rainforests, the Clinton River and Sutherland Falls!
- The 1.5-km Mount Sunday trail in Canterbury of the South Island is fit for both walking and mountain biking. The Mount Sunday trail – made famous through the Lord of the Rings film trilogy – takes you into the spectacular scenery of ‘Middle Earth’ where you can enjoy seeing the Rangitata River enclosed in stunning mountain ranges.
Amazing sights await you in the beautiful, rugged wilderness of New Zealand’s hiking trails. How adventurous do you feel? Choose one or more trails from our list and discover the best of this amazing country.