Introduction New Zealand Walks & Hikes

When traveling to New Zealand, one of the must-do activities for visitors is to experience the great walks and hikes that the country has to offer. In this blog, we will provide you with insider travel tips on how to plan and make the most of your walking and hiking adventures in New Zealand. With 13 national parks, 54 conservation and forest parks, and a wide range of options available. It’s important to plan ahead and make key decisions before your arrival. Whether you have a short time or several weeks to explore. This guide will help you navigate through the main national parks and forest parks, highlighting some of the best walks and hikes in each region.

The North Island of New Zealand

Starting in Auckland, most visitors have one or two nights to spend in the city before venturing out to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand. Some popular options near Auckland include visiting the islands like Waiheke Island for wine tasting or Rangitoto or Motutapo Island for hikes. Another great area to explore is the Waitakere Ranges, located on the western side of the city. These forest parks are easily accessible and offer a variety of walks and hikes that can be enjoyed either by car or by joining a local tour. The best part is that all these walks are free of charge, though there is an overall conservation surcharge when you arrive in New Zealand. These walks offer a fantastic first impression of New Zealand and are a great way to start your hiking journey.

As you travel further south in the North Island, you’ll come across the Coromandel Forest Park. While not a national park, this forest park offers beautiful walks and hikes depending on whether you’re staying on the western or eastern side. Most people prefer to stay on the eastern side, with popular spots like Hot Water Beach and Hahei Beach. The highlight of this area is Cathedral Cove, a famous location that provides stunning views. It’s important to check with your accommodation hosts for availability and any closures before planning your hikes in this region.

Hikes and Walks in the North Island

Continuing south, you’ll find treasures like the Karangahake Gorge, a famous walk and cycle trail. One of the key differences between Australia and New Zealand is that even short distances in New Zealand offer a wealth of hikes and walks. It’s always helpful to talk to locals and get recommendations on the best walks to explore along your route. Take advantage of swing bridges and old railway tunnels, and make sure to check the parking situation before starting your hike.

In the middle of the North Island, there are several places that are off the beaten track and worth exploring. One such place is the Mount Egmont/Taranaki National Park, which offers a unique experience. The area is a volcanic region and is home to Mount Egmont, a resting volcano. The national park is a favorite among locals, with lush green forests and great hikes. It’s important to come prepared with good hiking boots, rain jackets, and enough food and water for longer hikes. The Department of Conservation provides visitor centers that offer valuable information. Especially during the winter season when conditions may be different.

The South Island of New Zealand

The South Island of New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes and is a favorite among many visitors. The Abel Tasman National Park, located at the top of the South Island, is one of the most popular national parks in the country. While it is the smallest national park, it offers a coastal track with golden beaches that are simply breathtaking. Many visitors choose to take a water taxi to access the park and enjoy day hikes that range from a few hours to a full day. Anchorage Bay is a key point for water taxis, and there are also options for combining kayaking and walking for a unique experience. For those interested in overnight hikes, it’s important to pre-book the huts in advance, especially during the busy summer season.

Nelson Lakes National Park is another underrated gem in the South Island. It offers day trips and great walks from the village of Nelson. The park is home to stunning forests and beautiful hikes. Local guides and accommodation providers in the area can provide valuable information. Recommended hikes based on weather conditions and individual fitness levels.

Hikes and Walks in the South Island

As you travel further south, you’ll come across the Paparoa National Park, famous for its Pancake Rocks. While many tourists visit this spot, there are also lesser-known walks in the area that are worth exploring. The Greymouth area is known for its stunning forest walks, and it’s worth talking to locals to discover hidden gems. The west coast of the South Island is known for its rain, but it also offers breathtaking scenery that is worth experiencing.

Arthur’s Pass National Park, located in the mountains, provides a completely different feel compared to other national parks. With high mountains and stunning views, it’s a popular destination for day trips. Hiking sticks are recommended for downhill hikes in this area. The park offers a variety of walks, including boardwalks that protect the fragile environment and keep your socks dry. The views and landscapes in this area are truly unique and offer a different hiking experience.

Heading further south, you’ll come across Aoraki National Park, home to the highest mountains in New Zealand. The park offers a range of beautiful walks, including the Tasman Glacier Lake and Hooker Valley walks. Guided walks are recommended for a more immersive experience, as guides can provide valuable insights and help visitors make the most of their time in the park. The Aoraki area can be busy, so it’s important to plan ahead and pre-book any necessary accommodations.

Stewart Island – the Third Island of New Zealand

Located in the southern end of New Zealand, Stewart Island is a remote and rugged destination that offers a unique wilderness experience. While not as frequented by tourists, it’s a favorite among those who want to explore off the beaten track. One popular walk is the Ruakuri Track, a loop track that offers stunning views and can be accessed from Oban Village. There are also options for longer walks, such as the Northern Circuit and the Masons Bay loop. Stewart Island is home to a diverse range of birdlife, including kiwi birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. In a separate video, we will provide more detailed information on walking and hiking options on Stewart Island.

Planning Tips for Hikes and Walks in New Zealand

When planning your walks and hikes in New Zealand, it’s important to plan ahead and make informed decisions. If you’re interested in multi-day hikes, it’s necessary to pre-book huts and accommodations in advance, as they have limited capacities. Day hikes can be added to your itinerary based on availability and weather conditions. It’s essential to talk to locals and gather information about recommended walks, fitness levels required, and current weather conditions. Layered clothing, good hiking boots, rain jackets, and sufficient food and water are essential for any hiking adventure in New Zealand.

New Zealand offers a wide variety of walks and hikes, each with its own unique landscapes and experiences. The key is to plan ahead, gather information, and make the most of your time in this beautiful country. Whether you choose to explore the North Island or the South Island. You’ll be treated to stunning views, lush forests, and unforgettable adventures. So pack your bags and get ready for the trip of a lifetime in the land of walks and hikes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Articles
Get a free quote