New Zealand Walks/Hikes

New Zealand tree fern
Standing under a tree fern

Most of the Great Walks of New Zealand are looked after by the Department of Conservation (DOC) who do an amazing job maintaining tracks and huts, getting rid of pests and all things conservation.

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Abel Tasman National Park

60 kms (or 37 miles). This beautiful walk is located within the Abel Tasman National Park and is located at the top of the South Island.

I did this walk many years ago and loved it! It’s a great combination of beautiful bush and golden sandy beaches with a mixture of huts and camping grounds.

Lake Waikaremoana

This walk is on the east coast of the North Island and consists of rain forest, remote beaches and great views. It took us 4 days to walk it but there are also shorter walks you can take in the area. Just don’t do what I did – I had put our water bottles in the fridge the night before and it was only when we got to the start of the track that I realised the bottles was still in the fridge keeping nice and cool! Fortunately we managed to find some discarded bottles at the start of the track so were able to use those, as you definitely need water!

Queen Charlotte Walkway

70 kms (43.49 miles) – 3-5 days walking. This track is at the top of the South Island in a beautiful and remote part of the country. I have only done part of this track and my aim is to one day go back and complete the whole thing as it is spectacular. It is located in the Marlborough Sounds and can only be reached by boat so it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re miles from anywhere.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Crossing is located in the middle of the North Island. I have completed this crossing 3 times now – twice the way that most people do it and once in reverse. The most common/popular way to walk the crossing is from the Mangatepōpō Road end, however once we did it from the Ketetahi Road end. This way you avoid the crowds but it was really challenging, particularly climbing up the scree-covered banks.

One thing that’s really important to take note of on this walk is that you are climbing up really high and even on a summer’s day the temperature can plummet when you get up so high. So many people get caught out by not taking enough warm clothes (even though there are plenty of warnings) so layers layers layers!

Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake Walk

Made it!

This is a challenging but well adventurous walk to do in the snow! You need to have a guide to lead you as the way is not marked and because it’s covered in snow and ice, it can be a bit tricky in parts. The guides cut out snow steps for us, built a rope ladder for us to get up the steep bits and helped us down the tricky bits on the way back down the mountain. One of the great things about doing it in the snow is that you can slide down many parts of the hills which gets you down really quickly!!!

This walk was well outside my comfort zone but definitely worth it for the amazing views. You can do the whole walk which is 10 kms and takes about 7 hours or take the chair lift part way up the mountain and walk 7 kms which takes about 5 hours.

Heaphy Track

78.4 kms (48.71 miles) This 4-5 day walk starts at either Golden Bay at the top of the South Island or the West Coast of the South Island. It is a combination of lush bush, Nikau palms and tussock.

Milford Track

53.5 kms (33.24 miles). This 4 day walk is situated in the Fiordland National Park on the southwest coast of the South Island. It is a combination of valleys, rain forest and waterfalls.

Kepler Track

60 kms (37.28 miles). This 3-4 day walk includes tussock-covered ridgelines, lakes and beech forest.

Routeburn Track

33 kms (20.50 miles). This walk is located in the Fiordland and the Mt Aspiring National Parks in the deep south of the South Island.

Rakiura Track

32 kms loop (19.88 miles). This walk is on Stewart Island which is at the bottom of the South Island.