‘Unique’ is overused in the world of travel but if there’s one country that truly deserves the title, then it’s New Zealand. With everything from golden beaches and forests to glaciers and snow-capped mountains, the variety and magnitude of the landscapes in New Zealand is awe-inspiring. In our opinion the best New Zealand trekking tours are those that let you sample as much of this diverse landscape as possible.
Across both islands there are thousands of treks and hikes to explore. Although you can do many independently, some are difficult to get to and others require an experienced guide. So we recommend you go with a reputable and experienced tour provider.
Flying Kiwi provide tours of New Zealand, visiting many of the top treks along the way. They combine this with an excellent selection of beautiful accommodation, once in a lifetime activity options (everything from dolphin swimming to skydiving), optional bikes rides and access to genuine off the beaten path experiences.
The best New Zealand trekking tours should allow you to take in the stunning scenery, flora and fauna whilst experiencing some of the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. By no means exhaustive, here’s our top five hikes in New Zealand that every trekking tour should include.
Tongariro Alpine crossing
One of the finest one-day hikes in the world, at around 17km this is a manageable trek that takes in some scintillating volcanic scenery and terrain. Pass by steam vents, emerald lakes and sulphurous craters, all with views of Mount Tongariro (aka Mount Doom). This is also one of only two World Heritage Sites in New Zealand.
Kauri Forest hikes
In the heart of the topical north there are some excellent shorter hikes. A recommended highlight is to take in Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), the country’s largest living tree. Walk through the forest canopy to see this mighty tree and learn all about the Maori mythology that all the creatures of the forest are its children.
A South Island trek leading up the Hooker Valley to Mount Cook, crossing the river and passing the glacial lake, this is a very accessible walk with some of the most spectacular views in the South Island. You can even try a dip in the lake, although it’s not for the faint-hearted.
At 32 km long, and passing through the Mount Aspiring & Fiordland National Park, this varied hike includes steep climbs, swing bridges and river crossings. You can stay in huts along the way but need to carry everything that you’ll need with you. Spaces on this route are limited so it’s recommended that you book early. Many consider the Routeburn trek to be the best of New Zealand’s great walks.
Abel Tasman track
New Zealand’s only beachside national park, this is home to beautiful bays full of turquoise water and some of the most unique flora and fauna in the whole country. The 51km coastal trek takes 3 to 5 days but can be explored in segments by catching a ride in a water taxi. You can also combine the trek with sailing or kayaking to experience the national park from the water.
Flying Kiwi provide access to all 5 of these routes on un-guided hikes, however they come complete with full information and briefings beforehand. You can take on as much or little of the hiking as you want, choosing your own accommodation and combining with other activities to create the best New Zealand trekking tours.
If you’re looking for a tour of New Zealand that takes in some of the best hikes then we highly recommend Flying Kiwi. We aren’t alone either, they are the top rated New Zealand tour operator in National Geographic’s ‘Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth’ for customer satisfaction in hiking, biking, multisport, nature & wildlife and cultural encounters.
All photos used in this article were taken by guests on the Flying Kiwi Tours.