9 Best Hikes in New Zealand | Hiking Travel Guide

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Best Hikes in New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand is a large island in the southwest Pacific; it consists of two different sections: the North Island and the South Island. It’s an adventure filled island with a lot of opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts and it offers some of the best hiking (and walking) in the world. The trails are all super scenic and photogenic with varying difficulty levels. This is a mix of day hikes and multi-day trips that make up some of the best hiking in New Zealand.

Best Hikes in New Zealand North Island

Mount Maunganui Hike – Mount Maunganui is a green hill at the north end of Tauranga’s long stretch of beach. Known locally as “The Mount,” it offers a relatively easy hike that gives some stunning views over the Bay of Plenty. There is a path that circumnavigates the mount close to the sea shore, but it was closed when I visited. Instead, I did the climb which takes no more than an hour. Some of it is fairly steep but it is absolutely worth the effort. The hike is diverse and the views from the top are absolutely stunning. The best part is the way down facing the long stretch of coast! *Lester Lost*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

Rangitoto Volcano Hike – Rangitoto Volcano is located on an island in the Auckland harbour and is the largest of the city’s 48 volcanoes. A short ferry ride from Auckland brings you to Rangitoto wharf where you can begin your day of hiking. There are several hiking trails of varying difficulties across the whole island and even to the neighbouring island of Motutapu. When I visited, I tried out several of the routes but my favourite was the Rangitoto Summit Track. The trail takes you from black sand beaches through forest, lava fields and bushland and up to the volcano crater; and it takes about an hour each way. The path on this track is wide and relatively even which means most people would be able to make the hike without much difficulty, although it is a steady climb. *The Travel Fairies Blog*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Hailed as New Zealand’s best one-day hike, the Tongariro Crossing is a demanding eight-hour, 19-kilometre hike over some of the most dramatic and varied landscape on the planet. It gets busy during the peak summer months, but if you’re lucky enough with the unpredictable weather and are prepared to start out before dawn, you’ll be rewarded with glorious emerald and blue crater lakes, volcanoes, lava fields, fissure vents and alpine peaks all to yourself. And if you’re a Lord Of The Rings fan, you can even take a three-hour side trip to the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe – aka Mount Doom of Mordor. Best of all, and my favourite part of the hike, is to walk across South Crater and then turn back to marvel at the other-worldly views of Mount Ngauruhoe and Red Crater. Unforgettable. *Above Us Only Skies*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

Best Hikes in New Zealand South Island

Lake Marian Trail – Almost everyone visiting New Zealand’s South Island includes a trip to the beautiful Milford Sound, but it’s a long way to drive without stretching your legs and popping out for a hike before (or after) your boat tour! We ended up doing three hikes in this area, but the trail to Lake Marian was my favourite. This tramp starts with a swinging bridge and goes via an impressive gushing waterfall. I loved hiking up through the lush beech forest and stepping over mazes of tree roots. The pay-off is a bright blue glacial lake which is surrounded by steep mountainsides within a hanging valley. The trail is just under 7km with 480m elevation gain. It’ll take 2.5 to 3 hours. *A Walk and a Lark*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

Kepler Track – This 5-day hike is one of New Zealand’s aptly named ‘Great Walks’. Located in the Fiordland National Park on the South Island of New Zealand, the route begins in the forest (or the ‘bush’ as Kiwis call it), ascends through the tussock grasses to the hills, passes along snowy mountain tops and descends back down to Te Anau. Along the way you’ll see many different types of flora and fauna and probably encounter the Kea, New Zealand’s mischievous alpine parrot. You’ll stay in backcountry huts which are equipped with bunkbeds, gas stoves and an open fire (very welcome in the altitude!) Unlike many other Great Walks, it’s a loop track, meaning you don’t need to organise any transport to pick up your car. Challenging but rewarding, book your place on this ever-popular hike as soon as you can; reservations are made months in advance! *Spin the Windrose*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

Hooker Valley Track – Hooker Valley Track in Mount Cook National Park / Aoraki National Park is one of the most famous and best hikes in New Zealand. The hike is a 10km return trip that takes you through Hooker Valley and ends at Hooker Lake, where you can see icebergs floating around the water of the lake. The hike is fairly easy since the whole trail is pretty flat (there is only a 100m elevation spread across 5km) and the path well beaten. However it’s still pretty long; make sure to get there early so that you have all day to complete the hike if you want to take breaks every now and then. The hiking trail is extremely scenic, surrounded on all sides by towering mountains and snow-capped peaks. I personally loved that there are beautiful views that you can enjoy all throughout the track, not just when you reach the peak as is often the case. *Greta’s Travels*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

Abel Tasman Hike – Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most beautiful places in all of New Zealand. You can visit for a day, but it’s so worthwhile to make it a three day trek. Water taxis from Marahua will take you to the trail head at Totaranui where you can walk the 33 miles back, camping or “glamping” at one of several options along the way. On the hike you need to forge two streams at low tide so planning for that is essential. That part was also one of the highlights of the hike. Other highlights are the crystal turquoise water, beautiful flora and quiet solitude. There are several operators who will provide you your gear, transportation and even meals so you can walk worry free and enjoy the spectacular scenery. We recommend using Abel Tasman Guides. *My Fab Fifties Life*

Length: 33 Miles *Three Days from Totaranui to Marahau
Difficulty: Moderate

Best Hikes in New Zealand

The Routeburn Track – The Routeburn track is one of the nine (soon to be ten) “Great Walks of New Zealand” and is definitely one of the best. The track is 32km long and takes you through the greatest hits of New Zealand’s stunning scenery: snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, electric blue rivers, lush green forest and countless epic views. You can choose to do this in either two (moderate difficulty) or three (easy) days as there are several huts along the track where you can sleep overnight. Why did we love it so much? It might be a popular track, but it still has that feeling of being out in the wild. The scenery is breathtaking at every turn and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve landed a role in The Lord of the Rings. *Walk My World*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

Roys Peak Hike – Roys Peak, located in Wanaka, South Island of New Zealand is a stunning day hike to experience. It’s challenging, has a steep walking path, and is a round trip distance of 16km (9.9 miles). You’ll push your body through the hills and get rewarded along the way with beautiful views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding peaks. There are plenty of picturesque spots along the route which overlooks the lakes and would be the perfect background for a sunrise or sunset hike. Plus, you can’t help but smile when you see adorable sheep eating grass on the hills. *Life Of Doing*

Best Hikes in New Zealand

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