Exploring New Zealand’s walking and hiking trails is one of the most rewarding ways of seeing New Zealand’s outstanding natural beauty.


With thousands of kilometres of tracks, walking options are available to suit all levels of fitness and experience. Walk one of our recommended day walks for a few hours or a day or plan a multi-day hike through national parks, native forests and stunning coastal regions.


Whether you'd like to explore on your own or learn more about the local habitat and wildlife on a guided tour, we have something for you. We will also ensure that after a lot of fresh air and exercise that you don't have to travel far to your accommodation and a nice hot bath!

We highly recommend taking a look here if you plan on incorporating some hiking into your holiday. As well as the Great Walks listed below, and other lesser known and shorter walks, there are a number of private walks that are for the hiker who would rather be on the road less travelled.


The Nine Great Walks


The New Zealand Great Walks are a set of popular tramping tracks. They are New Zealand's premier tracks, through areas of some of the best scenery in the country. The tracks are maintained to a high standard, making it easier for visitors to explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand's backcountry.


The backcountry huts are conveniently located, comfortable and well-equipped. Both the huts and the tracks on the Great Walks are of a higher standard than other tramping tracks in the country. Many of the Great Walks have booking systems to manage visitor pressure. There are guided walks available through private operators along many of the walks. There is no charge nor any permit required for walking access to the Great Walks. Charges and restrictions apply, rather, to overnight accommodation, whether in huts or tents.


Lake Waikaremoana Walk -The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk is 44 kilometre long . The track follows the southern and western coast of Lake Waikaremoana in the North Island of New Zealand. It passes through several types of forest, and grassland, the track often provides excellent views over the lake. To find out more click on this link.


Tongariro Northern Circuit - The Tongariro Northern Circuit is a three to four day tramp in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. The hike includes the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a day's hike that incorporates the Northern Circuit's most stunning scenery. The complete trail forms a 50 kilometres long loop trail that circumnavigates Mount Ngauruhoe. Approximately 7,000 trampers complete the walk each year. This compares to the approximately 25,000 who walk only the Tongariro Crossing section. For more information click on this link. 


Abel Tasman Coast Track -The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 60 kilometres (37 mi) long walking track within the Abel Tasman National Park. It extends from Marahau in the south to Wainui in the north, with many side tracks. It is one of two main tracks through the park, the other being the Abel Tasman Inland Track, which stretches for 38 km between Tinline Bay and Torrent Bay off the main coastal track. The coastal track is well sheltered, and with mild weather in all seasons, it is accessible and open throughout the year. It is well formed and easy to follow. It is the most popular tramping track in New Zealand, with most of the approximately 200,000 visitors to Abel Tasman National Park walking at least part of the track. It can be walked independently or with commercial operators with guiding, camping, lodge stay and boat stay options. Following a protected coastline, many people combine walking and sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. To walk the entire track takes from 3 to 5 days. Single-day walks are popular, as many points are accessible by boat from beaches along the track. For more information click on this link 


Heaphy Track -The Heaphy Track is a popular tramping track in the north west of the South Island. It is located within the Kahurangi National Park. Named after Charles Heaphy, the track is 78.4 kilometres (48.7 mi) long and is usually walked in four or five days. The track runs from Kohaihai, north of Karamea on the northern west coast of the South Island to the upper valley of the Aorere River, inland from Golden Bay. For more information click on this link 


Routeburn Track -The Routeburn Track is a world-renowned tramping (hiking) 32 km track found in the South Island. The track is usually completed by starting on the Queenstown side of the Southern Alps, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, and finishing on the Te Anau side, at the Divide, several kilometres from the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. The New Zealand Department of Conservation maintains four huts along the track: Routeburn Flats Hut, Routeburn Falls Hut, Mackenzie Hut, and Howden Hut; in addition there is an emergency shelter at Harris Saddle. The track overlaps two National Parks; the Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park with the border and highest point being the Harris Saddle. This area gets much less rain than the Milford Sound, and the forests are very different, especially on the eastern side of the saddle, which due to less rainfall is predominantly made up of New Zealand red beech and mountain beech, with relatively few ferns. The track spends a long time on the high ridges around Harris Saddle, with great long-distance views in many directions. The track has a long history of use dating back to the 1880s.  For more information click on this link 


Milford Track -The Milford Track is a widely known tramping (hiking) route. It is located amidst mountains and temperate rain forest in Fiordland National Park in the southwest of the South Island. The 53.5 km hike starts at Glade Wharf at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes in Milford Sound at Sandfly Point, traversing rainforests, wetlands, and an alpine pass. For more information click on this link


Kepler Track- The Kepler Track is a 60 km (37 mi) circular tramping track which travels through some spectacular scenery of the South Island of New Zealand and is situated near the town of Te Anau. The track passes through many landscapes of the Fiordland National Park such as rocky mountain ridges, tall mossy forests, lake shores, deep gorges, rare wetlands and rivers. For more information click on this link 


Whanganui Journey -The Whanganui Journey is slightly different. It is a river journey along the Whanganui River in the North Island travelling by canoe or kayak. The route, starting at Taumarunui and finishing at Pipiriki, is 145 km long and usually takes 5 days to complete. The route is managed by New Zealand's Department of Conservation under its Great Walks programme, and much of the route travels through land which is part of the Whanganui National Park. Paddle right through the Whanganui National Park, a remote and impenetrable region rich in Māoritanga (Maori culture). Deep jungles and incised rivers extend for 700 square kilometres and there is almost no road access. Canadian canoes are a comfortable and classic choice for this journey. Explore and enjoy the mighty Whanganui River - the life force of the area as it weaves its way from the mountains to the sea. For more information click on this link. Or for information about a guided tour click here


You don’t have to hike one of the famous Great Walks but you should definitely take in the natural beauty of the country with a hike. Check out some shorter, but just as stunning, walks here.

If you'd prefer to do a guided walk or tour, check out these great options which we can include in your personalised itinerary.
Cycle, Kayak or Hike around New Zealand with Adventure South
Hike around New Zealand with Hiking New Zealand 
For small and personal hiking trips in Fiordland we recommend Trips and Tramps.  

Three Islands NZ - Personalised Travel Planning. Dunedin, New Zealand. Email: pippa@threeislandsnz.com

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