The 9 Great Walks in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most amazing countries in the world. Some of the best ways to explore this country’s stunning and breathtaking scenery is through hiking. You have tracks that only take a couple of hours or 1 day. But the most amazing tracks in New Zealand are the 9 Great Walks. These multi-day premier tracks and trails pass through diverse and spectacular nature. From forests, rivers and lakes to mountain peaks, gorges and valleys. These tracks have a minimum of 2 days up to a maximum of 6 days. You have to prepare for these tracks and make sure to book accommodation and get all the up-to-date information on the site of the Government of New Zealand. Because I was only for five weeks in New Zealand I didn’t have time to do all these tracks, but hopefully I will walk them in the future.

These 9 Great Walks are very well formed and easy to follow and they are highly recommended if you are a nature and hiking lover. The tracks are accessible from major towns and are well serviced by local operators and accommodation and transport providers.

Just to make it even easier for you, I will provide you with the basic key information on these tracks. This way you can discover New Zealand by walking these 9 Great Walks. Just make sure you got the right shoes and hiking equipment with you!

North Island

Lake Waikaremoana

Where: Te Urewera Park
Interesting Fact: Together with the neighbouring Whirinaki Forest Park this is the largest remaining area of native forest in the North Island.
Duration: 3-4 days
Distance: 46 kilometres
Environment: You will walk along the scenic shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana, with beautiful forest and plenty of remote beaches along the way.

Tongariro National Circuit

Where: Tongariro National Park
Interesting Fact: This is the first national park of New Zealand and it includes three active vulcanoes.
Duration: 3-4 days
Distance: 43 kilometres
Environment: The diverse landscape that you will see during this track ranges from alpine fields to active volcanoes and crater lakes.

This track includes one of the top 1-day walks in the world, namely the Tongariro Alphine Crossing. This track is 19 kilometer long and will also take you to a beautiful alpine valley, ascending onto a volcanic plateau, lakes and native bush. Because of bad weather I couldn’t do this 1-day walk. One extra reason why I want to go back to this country.

Whanganui Journey

Where: Whanganui National Park
Interesting Fact: This park incorporates areas of Crown Land, former State Forest and a number of former reserves.
Duration: 3-5 Days
Distance: 145 kilometres
Environment: The walk will bring you through green hilled landscape and beautiful valleys. You can even travel via canoe or kayak (which means less walking and more paddling).

South Island

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Where: Abel Tasman National Park
Interesting fact: This park is the smallest national park of New Zealand and it is named after the first European explorer to set eyes on NZ.
Duration: 3-5 days
Distance: 55.2 kilometres
Environment: This coastal track brings you along crystal clear waters, beautiful sand beaches and green forest. You can walk, kayak, sail or water taxi to various parts of the track or walk the whole trail.

Heaphy Track

Where: Kahurangi National Park
Duration: 4-6 days
Distance: 78.4 kilometres
Environment: When you are walking this track you will encounter breathtaking views, amazing beaches and roaring seas of the West Coast.

Routeburn Track

Where: Fiordland National Park
Duration: 2-4 days (most common is 3 days)
Distance: 33 kilometres
Start/Finish: Routeburn Shelter (Mt Aspiring end of the track), The Divide (Fiordland end of the track).
Environment: This trail will bring you across the majestic Southern Alps of both Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks.

Kepler Track

Where: Fiordland National Park
Duration: 3-4 days
Distance: 60 kilometer
Start/Finish: Close to Te Anau
Environment: This circuit takes you along the spectacular shores of Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri. It can be walked in either direction (but anti-clockwise is recommended).

Milford Track

Where: Fiordland National Park
Duration: 4 days
Distance: 53,5 kilometres
Start/Finish: Head of Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound – can only be walked in one direction.
Environment: This is one of the most famous walks of New Zealand. It brings you past Fiordland’s rugged mountain peaks, canyons and majestic waterfalls and it finishes at Milford Sound. You can also enjoy the beauty of Milford Sound by boot.

Rakiura Track

Where: Rakiura National Park – Stewart Island
Interesting fact: This is the newest park of NZ. It makes up about 85% of Stewart Island’s land area. Ferries to Stewart Island depart from Bluff and the crossing can be quite rough.
Duration: 3 days
Distance: 32 kilometres
Environment: Idyllic native bush and beaches and a relatively small human population. This makes Stewart Island a very untouched environment and an amazing sanctuary to the almost distinctive Kiwi bird.

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