Best Walks in New Zealand
The best way to appreciate the grandeur and beauty of New Zealand’s magnificent landscapes is to put on your walking boots and get out there. Tramping (Kiwi for hiking) is one of New Zealand’s most popular pastimes and a great reason to travel here. Coastal walks, alpine treks, forest hikes… there are so many stunning areas of New Zealand to discover, and so many different ways to do it on foot, that it can be hard to know where to begin. But that’s where Flight Centre comes in.
Whether you’re looking to embark on one of New Zealand’s great walks, join a guided walking holiday in New Zealand, or just head outdoors for a bit of casual tramping, we’ve rounded up the best options that the Land of the Long White Cloud has to offer:
Abel Tasman Coastal Track, Abel Tasman National Park
Gorgeous sandy beaches carpet the secluded bays you’ll pass through on this leisurely three-day coastal route. There is lots of wildlife to spot on the way, including dolphins and fur seals, making this a great walk for nature lovers. Key highlights include Cleopatra’s Pool – a glittering rock pool, complete with a natural, moss-lined waterslide – and a 47-metre suspension bridge which straddles the Falls River and a beautiful inlet to the waterway.
Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park
Stretching from mountains to sea for 35 miles, the dramatic Hollyford Track offers an off-the-beaten-track adventure. Starting from Queenstown, it takes in some really picturesque parts of Fiordland National Park – think snow-capped peaks, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls and rainforests aplenty – with backcountry huts peppered along the trail. The full route takes between four and eight days but there are also overnight options for families or those who are short on time.
‘Mount Doom’, Tongariro National Park
Okay, so it’s not really called Mount Doom, but the climb to the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe is perfect for any Tolkien buff who wants to embark on a Lord of the Rings walk-inspired in New Zealand. The peak is also a focal point in the volcanic Tongariro National Park – 214 miles south of Auckland – and a great way to add a bit more time here, beyond the Tongariro Alpine Crossing itself. That said, even on its own the Crossing is known for being the best and most rewarding one-day trek in the heart of the North Island. And with its active craters, moon-esque landscapes and vivid emerald lakes, it’s easy to see why.
Milford Track, Fiordland National Park
The country’s most famous walk, and easily one of the best walks in the South Island of New Zealand, is a five-day classic showcasing the best of the Fiordlands – in particular Milford Sound. The Milford Track is stunning in the sunshine; however, some avid trampers claim the real beauty appears when torrents of rain cascade down the mountainsides. Find out more about tramping the Milford Track in our blog.
Routeburn Track, Queenstown
Ready to embark on an Alpine adventure? Well this is it. With views across the Southern Alps and a patchwork of meadows, valleys and lakes, the Routeburn Track – one of New Zealand’s Great Walks – rewards the intrepid. Best enjoyed between October and April, the 20-mile, one-way route takes around three days to complete. While some of the higher altitude sections can be tough at times, the views are more than worth the effort.
Kepler Track, Te Anau
New Zealand Great Walks don’t get much greater than this. Man-made by those wanting to soak up magnificent vistas across the vast Fiordland, the Kepler Track runs for 37 miles and showcases a confection for forest, glacier-sculpted valleys and thunderous waterfalls. Stop to take in panoramic views of the Te Anau Basin, Takitimu Mountains, and the Snowdon and Earl Mountains. Bird lovers will also appreciate the varied avifauna here – in particular alpine parrots and kiwis.
Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough Sounds
Located to the very north of New Zealand’s South Island, around 320 miles from Christchurch, the Queen Charlotte Track is nestled deep within the Marlborough Sounds. Our favourite way to start this route is by sea kayaking from Anakiwa to Ship Cove before heading out on foot. The track itself is relatively flat – ideal for hikers and bikers alike – and is peppered with great spots to reward yourself with the region’s tantalising food and wine. The views of the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds are the highlights here.
Rakiura Track, Stewart Island
Flung off the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Stewart Island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. And the Rakiura Track, a 20-mile loop along the coastline, is the perfect way to soak it up. This easy route takes three days and meanders through the Paterson Inlet, as well as some Maori land at Port William, making it one of the most distinctive of New Zealand’s walks. Learn all about New Zealand’s history and heritage as you wander through verdant forests, and listen for the call of the native kiwi bird.