New Zealand is home to stunning landscapes and an abundance of national parks.
With so much to explore in the great outdoors, it’s hard to look past our picks for the best hiking trails in New Zealand.
Tapeka Point Track
For those seeking a family-friendly adventure, Tapeka Point Track is the trail for you. This narrow, grassy track takes you to the top of a hill, providing stunning views of the whole Bay of Islands. It’s short and gentle, but worth it at the top with amazing sites overlooking the water. Plus, you can bring your dog along too, so everyone can enjoy the great outdoors.
One of the most popular day hikes on the South Island, Roy’s Peak is an 1128-meter ascent. You’ll pass through farmlands and meadows on this four-hour hike to reach the summit, where you’ll discover panoramic views of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand’s fourth-largest lake, and its surrounds in Mount Aspiring National Park. This walk, while amazing, does cross over private property, so make sure to be extra respectful on your journey.
Mueller Hut Route
Found in the Mount Cook national park, the Mueller Hut Route is perhaps one of the most challenging hikes in the country, taking around 8 hours to complete. Begin by climbing an easy 1882 steps before ascending a gravel slope up the mountain. Once you reach the Alpine Hut, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the country, featuring ice cliffs, rock faces, and some of New Zealand’s highest peaks. Make sure to bring plenty of snacks and water!
Tongariro Alpine is known as one of the best day hikes in the world, found in New Zealand’s oldest national park, the Tongariro National park. As an active volcano area, the terrain is beautiful and unique, with awe-inspiring views over lakes and mountains. Ending at an elevation of 1196 meters, this 19.4km trip should be at the top of every adventurer’s bucket list. To really understand the beauty of the area, you’ll need to check it out for yourself.
Taranaki Falls Walk
A loop track with excellent mountain views, Taranaki Falls Walk is less intense than some of the other hikes on this list. It descends into the forest, where you’ll pass by Cascade Falls while surrounded by beautiful natural flora and fauna. On the trek, you’ll discover the Taranaki Falls, tumbling 20 meters over the edge of a large lava flow that erupted 15 000 years ago. The return track crosses gullies and volcanic soils, and native birds can be heard in the area as you take in the surroundings.
Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve
Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve takes you along a beach from Clifton to the Plateau colony. The reserve is the home of several gannet colonies, so visitors can spot nesting gannets while discovering amazing views over Hawke’s Bay. Following the path, you will see many cliffs and beaches. The geology of the site is what makes it such a popular walk, however this also makes it dangerous, as the area is subject to landslides.
Sealy Tarns Track
Known as the “stairway to Heaven,” the Sealy Tarns track is a steep climb of over 2,200 steps. The track leads you directly to the freshwater lakes of Sealy Tarns, and provides spectacular views of Hooker Valley below. If you’re climbing during the Summer, don’t forget to look out for the abundance of Alpine flowers sprouting in the region. This walk is guaranteed to get your legs burning and your heart pumping.
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