Above anything else, New Zealand’s South Island is known for its spectacular scenery – and what better way to appreciate this scenery than by experiencing it up close during one of the many New Zealand walks?
You’ll find plenty of worthwhile ways for trekking New Zealand and its South Island, among which several might be considered some of the best hikes in New Zealand. If you visit the South Island and want to enjoy the best activities nature can offer, try the following hikes, which are generally easy to follow and offer visitors incredible views.
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One of New Zealand’s famed Great Walks, the Routeburn Track is accessible from nearby Te Anau. At 32 kilometres long, the hike takes about three days to complete, passing by lakes and waterfalls and offering hikers some of the best views in the country.
Glenorchy walking trails
If the adrenaline activities hosted by the picturesque city of Queenstown in the South Island aren’t enough of a draw for you, the walking trails in nearby Glenorchy, accessible by driving the stunning Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, might be.
There are plenty to choose from, but if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing than adventurous during your stay, try the Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway. It will take you about an hour and give you the chance to see local birdlife, which is an important activity when hiking NZ.
Photo Credit: Joe Leahy via Unsplash
Pororari River Track
With a hiking time of about an hour, the Pororari River Track on the South Island’s west coast is short and sweet. This New Zealand hiking trail provides views of a fascinating limestone gorge and the river itself, which you’ll follow.
Wharariki Beach Walking Track
Best visited at low tide, windswept Wharariki Beach is a little off the beaten track. Accessed by a route through a local farm, the beach is somewhat of a hidden gem. But don’t let that dissuade you. The short walk will grant you access to scenic views that seem to have been taken straight from a postcard.
Photo by Tobias Keller on Unsplash
Famous among tourists and locals alike for being one of the best hikes in New Zealand, the Kepler track in the South Island’s famous Fiordland is best attempted by hikers who already have a bit of experience in the wilderness.
As it stretches across 60 kilometres, hiking the Kepler Track will take you three to four days. Located near the town of Te Anau, where many hikers choose to stay before beginning their journey, the custom-built hike is one of the Great Walks NZ and is sure to ignite a newfound appreciation for the country’s diverse landscapes.
When to Visit New Zealand Hiking Trails
Many of New Zealand’s hiking trails are suitable for all kinds of weather, but it pays to do your research. For example, during certain times of the year, some tracks might be at risk of avalanches. Much of New Zealand is very isolated.
Therefore, hiking in dangerous weather conditions can be fatal. In adverse weather, official warnings will often be issued in advance to potential hikers. Autumn and spring are enjoyable seasons for New Zealand walks , when there are fewer people around and the weather is not oppressively hot.
Photo by Stas Kulesh on Unsplash
What to Pack for New Zealand Treks
Your packing list will depend on how long you’ll be hiking NZ, but there are a few staples that you should bring with you whether you’ll be walking for two hours or two days.
Unless you’ll have guaranteed access to clean water along the way, you should bring a suitable amount and water bottle with filter for your journey. Many areas of the country get very cold at night, even in summer, so ensure you’re adequately prepared for all kinds of weather conditions. Bring a weatherproof jacket, sturdy boots, change of clothes as well as a first aid kit and a compass.
Photo by Char Beck on Unsplash
How to Travel between Hikes in New Zealand
Unfortunately, New Zealand’s public transport system leaves much to desire, and while you might be able to get around the major cities without a car, it’ll be much more difficult if you’re planning on travelling widely.
Hiring a car will allow you to explore off the beaten track, as well as enable you to hike any track you desire, rather than being limited to those accessible by public transport.
Travel Inspiration for Trekking New Zealand
Some of the areas home to the best hikes in New Zealand double as filming locations or settings of novels, like The Tribe Locations in Wellington.
If you’re more of a reader, mystery The Bone People by Keri Hulme will have you anxious to explore the South Island, while if you’re looking for something a little lighter, A Land of Two Halves by Joe Bennett is sure to please.
Does Hiking NZ Take Multiple Days?
The best hikes in New Zealand aren’t all multi-day treks. You can always choose to walk a little of the way or opt for shorter New Zealand walks. With something for all ability levels and age ranges, why not start making plans to explore the country’s spectacular South Island?
Tell me: Which of these New Zealand walks would make you want to book a plane ticket?
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