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Hiking in New Zealand Complete Guide

An individual’s idea of “The Great Outdoors” takes on a whole new meaning when they come to New Zealand. With beautiful scenery, untouched wilderness, coastlines that disappear into the horizon – it really is an idyllic part of the planet unlike anywhere else in the world.

That’s what makes New Zealand an amazing place to do some hiking with thousands of international visitors every year making the journey to do precisely that.

It’s a country that’s spoilt for choice when it comes to its ‘Great Walks’ and hikes so we decided to create this guide that describes these in detail so you can choose the ones that’ll be right for you and your next trip!

  • Manawatu-Whanganui Region

    Manawatu-Whanganui Region

    The Manawatu-Whanganui Region occupies a large section of the lower half of the North Island and covers some spectacular parts of the country. This includes the Whanganui River, the longest navigable river in the country and most of the Tongariro

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    The Manawatu-Whanganui Region occupies a large section of the lower half of the North Island and covers some spectacular parts of the country. This includes the Whanganui River, the longest navigable river in the country and most of the Tongariro National Park, home to the highest peaks in the North Island including Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro.

    The peaks are famously known for being iconic backdrops in Sir Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, which also attracts and excites fans of the films from all around the world. Beautiful and highly accessible, it’s a popular region with nearby tourist hot-spots like Rotorua and Taupo not too far away.

  • Nelson Tasman Region

    Nelson Tasman Region

    At the top of the South Island, you’ll find the Nelson Tasman region, a quiet little corner of the country known for its pristine golden beaches and more. The region boasts not one, but two Great Walks within its boundaries. These are

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    At the top of the South Island, you’ll find the Nelson Tasman region, a quiet little corner of the country known for its pristine golden beaches and more.

    The region boasts not one, but two Great Walks within its boundaries. These are the Abel Tasman Coastal Track with epic views of some of the best sand and sea in New Zealand and the Heaphy Track with the stunning wilderness of the Kahurangi National Park.

    Another highlight is the Nelson Lakes National Park which many say has some of the clearest waters in the world.

  • Fiordland

    Fiordland

    You can’t exclude Fiordland when talking about the best regions for hiking in New Zealand. It is simply one of the most magical and wondrous places in the world. There are three Great Walks that come through the Fiordland National Park (w

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    You can’t exclude Fiordland when talking about the best regions for hiking in New Zealand. It is simply one of the most magical and wondrous places in the world.

    There are three Great Walks that come through the Fiordland National Park (we’ll talk more about these later) and for anyone who’s ever had the privilege, you’re left in no doubt as to why. The scenery is simply stunning from one turn to the next. With peaks that disappear into the clouds, cascading waterfalls, countless streams and rivers, not to mention the bird and wildlife, it really does showcase the very best of what New Zealand is all about.

Like we said earlier, there are many parts of the country that could be included as great hiking regions including the likes of the East Coast of the North Island, the West Coast of the South Island and the Otago Peninsula. Within these regions, you can expect to find remote beaches, raging seas and lush surroundings.

The 10 Great Walks of New Zealand

New Zealand’s Great Walks are hikes that have been classified by the country’s Department of Conservation (DOC) as premier tracks that pass through diverse and spectacular scenery. This description is an understatement if anything given what you encounter when you experience them.

What’s fantastic about the walks is that there’s a wide range of tracks across different terrains and environments. That basically means no two tracks are the same and that there is something for everyone!

The Great Walks are multi-day walks during which you stay in DOC managed huts which need to be booked in advance. Some walks also have private accommodation and have guided tours available.

Best one day walks in New Zealand

With the Great Walks covered, we move onto the best one day walks in the country. Again, there is no shortage of these and they’re just as awesome, scattered in different parts of the country.

They can be just as memorable as the ones above but a little less gruelling without the need to carry 3+ days worth of gear on your back. We’ve actually written an independent blog about these hikes already, which we’ve summarised below.

New Zealand’s most spectacular hiking views

Just in case we haven’t sold the idea of hiking in New Zealand enough, below you’ll find a selection of some of the best views on offer around the country.

They say pictures speak a thousand words but these will leave you speechless!

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