New Zealand has some of the best trekking in the world, typically it is very well marked and maintained meaning you won’t need to beat your own path across middle earth like Frodo. Have a read of this brief guide to New Zealand trekking holidays to find out why you should plan a visit.
With a low population density there is plenty of space to explore the vast, beautiful and untouched NZ wilderness on foot. Chuck in ancient temperate rain forests, intense blue watered lakes, snow covered peaks, unique flora and indigenous fauna and it’s no surprise that New Zealand trekking holidays are so popular.
Below are some of the best hikes and treks available in New Zealand. But please be aware these are just a small taster of what is available. You could spend a lifetime hiking in NZ and not cover all of the routes available, but these are a good place to start for New Zealand trekking holidays.
Starting in the far south of the South Island, the Routeburn and Milford tracks pass through the Fiordland National Park in the Southland Region offering some of the best New Zealand trekking. In fact the Milford track is often described as one of the world’s most iconic treks.
On the Milford track you’ll take in two national parks, and the chance to see native bird life alongside varied terrains of canyons, lakes, mountains and fiords. Expect some stunning waterfalls, including Sutherland Falls which are the fourth highest in the world.
Some of the most popular treks in New Zealand are based around Mount Aspiring in the Otago region. To reach the summit of Mount Aspiring is a fairly technical ascent across the glacier requiring a guide. However, there is plenty of non technical treks available which are especially enjoyable in the summer months.
We recommend you visit Queenstown, not only does it make a great base for trekking in the Otago region, but there is lots to do in and around the town. There are plenty of great day hikes on its doorstep such as the Devil’s Staircase, Ben Lomond walk and Queenstown Hill plus.
There are also a lot of longer multi-day treks in Otago. Check out the 2-3 day Dingle Burn track in the Hawea Conservation Park, or the 4-5 day Rees-Dart Track or 3-4 day Gillespie Park Circuit both in Mount Aspiring NP.
Those seeking something adventurous and with the physical fitness to accomplish it should walk the Rabbit Pass, also in Mount Aspiring NP. It takes just over a week and includes some of the highest peaks in New Zealand. You will pass through beautiful Alpine scenery and surprises such as the only Alpine parrot in the world.
In the centre of the North Island there are many excellent trails near the stunning Lake Tekapo. Plus Mount Cook, the highest peak in Australasia, has many treks in it’s shadow and would make a great base for a New Zealand trekking holidays.
In the North of the South Island the Abel Tasman track is one of the greatest coastal treks on the planet. It is well worth 3-5 days of hiking, you can even combine it with kayaking. Plus there are many great hikes in the Nelson Lakes region.
The west coast is hard to beat for spontaneous hiking adventures. Driving through it you will see signs for many, parks and short hikes. They are very well marked and there is a beautiful view around every corner.
The North Island also has some amazing treks such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is one of the most popular day treks. Although somewhat challenging, this walk across volcanic landscapes is highly rewarding with the chance to experience turquoise lakes in explosion craters and stunning views as far as Mount Taranaki.
It can be completed in the summer or winter and although it is well marked so does not require a guide. But you will want to book a pick up at the other end which can easily be arranged. This is also good security in case anything goes wrong.
For something more challenging head to the east of the North Island and the Around The Mountain Circuit in Egmont National Park. It takes 4-5 days and is only suitable for experienced trampers with backcountry knowledge and good navigation skills.
The Coromandel Peninsula offers some stunning hikes including famous sites such as Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. The Pinnacles walk in the Coromandel Forest Park is a good overnighter, this area holds many shorter trails too. For example Wires track which takes about three hours and includes two beautiful waterfalls.
Further north and close to Auckland try the Aotea Track on Great Barrier Island. It’s suitable for fit beginners and takes 2-3 days of trekking through a range of spectacular landscapes. Expect superb views through the surviving kauri forests and a rich history.
As we warned at the outset this is just a brief guide to New Zealand trekking holidays, there are so many options this is really just to whet your appetite! For more information check out the New Zealand Parks and Conservation website: http://www.doc.govt.nz/
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