Take A Hike: Explore New Zealand With The 10 Great Walks

Take A Hike: Explore New Zealand With The 10 Great Walks
New Zealand's trails are the best way to explore the country, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Is your hiking gear packed?

Sahana Iyer
January 02 , 2020
05 Min Read

A country that boasts kilometres of hiking tracks, sweeping views of landscapes and envious wildlife, New Zealand is a treasure trove of natural resources from sunny beaches to enigmatic, dense rainforests. In an attempt to ensure that tourists and citizens alike get a well-rounded experience of all that the country has to offer, New Zealand has constructed and maintained its Great Walks trails since 1993 where one can hike and enjoy natural settings. The trails are developed and maintained by the Department of Conservation and range between 32 and 82 kilometres, taking from anywhere between three to six days to cover. Recently, a 10th Great Walk called Paparao track and Pike29 Memorial Track has been added to the list. This track, like all others, covers beautiful sights. Here’s what you can see on each Great Walk in New Zealand

The track is the newest addition to the Great Walks

Paparao Track And Pike29 Memorial Track

The newest addition to the trails, this track makes up in beauty what it lacks in experience. Three days are required to walk this trail. Biking will shorten your trip to two days. Gorgeous limestone cliffs of the Pororari river gorge, rich sunsets over the Tasman Sea, the Lone Hand rock formation and the gold-mining remains of Garden Gully can be found on this trail.

Stunning view of a lake on the Lake Waikaremoana track

Lake Waikaremoana

The homeland of the TÅ«hoe people, it is the earliest natural feature recognised as a legal entity in the country. On this trail, you will walk to Te Urewera. The area speaks of the storied culture and history of the people. Look for Panekire Bluff which has beautiful views. Those who prefer dense thickets are in for a treat at the Korokoro Falls which are in the middle of a rainforest. You will also view a range of lakes formed by natural disasters.  

Discover Tongariro National Park through this trail

Tongariro Northern Circuit

On this track, you will cover the Central North Island region of the country. Tongariro National Park is home to native beech forests, emerald green lakes, lush meadows and panoramic views of volcanic topography, all of which will be visible on the trek. The grand Mount Tongariro and Ngauruhoe will also be on your way. And obviously, the wildlife will greet you with fervour.

Travel as the river takes you on the Whanganui track

Whanganui Journey

You are in for serious adventure as you paddle through the Wanganui river on either a canoe or kayak. The famous Bridge to Nowhere stands amidst dense rainforests of Whanganui National Park. From the bridge, you can see steep valleys (people with vertigo, beware!). The journey also holds cultural significance as you’ll see a Maori meeting house disguised as a hut. 

Explore golden stretches of sand beaches on the Abel Tasman Coast trail

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Goa’s crowded beaches are passe. Especially when competing with the Abel Tasman Coast Track in New Zealand which consists of golden stretches of beaches. If walking tires you out, you can try the water taxi or kayaks. This is considered to be a more leisurely walk compared to the rest of the trails. The inlet to Falls River has a spectacular view.    

The west coast of New Zealand welcomes you on the Heaphy track

Heaphy Track

Explore the west coast of New Zealand as you traverse through Kahurangi National Park. Wildlife is in abundance here and will be the focal point of your trip. Get a glimpse of the great-spotted kiwi or the nocturnal carnivorous land snail while you bike through the region or walk over the Gouland Downs.  

The alpine environment is the focus of the Routeburn track

Routeburn Track

Mujhe na pahad bohot pasand hai, by god. The line from the movie Jab We Met has been engraved in every hill lover’s brain since its release. If you are one of the many who share the sentiment, the Routeburn Track just made it to your bucket list. The trek focuses on the mountainous region in the Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. Weave through the Hollyford valley, Darren Mountains, and Routeburn Gorge. The spectacular Routeburn Falls will be engraved in your memory!

Traverse through the wilderness of the Fiordland National Park on Kepler Track

Kepler Track

Another trail in the Fiordland National Park, the Kepler Track focuses on covering the grassroots. The circuit starts at Te Anau and leads you to tussock lands, meadows, lakes and the Luxmore Caves. You will also witness the Iris Burn Falls in all their glory. 

The Milford Track is one of three trails in the Fiordland National Park

Milford Track

If you cover the two trails mentioned above and still cannot get enough of Fiordland National Park, don’t fret, there’s one more track you need to know about. The Milford Track will take you back in time as you retrace the steps of early explorers through the wilderness. You will walk through the Mackinnon Pass that flaunts ancient valleys, the steep drop of Sutherland Falls and the calming waters of Clinton River.

A pier on the Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track 

Rainforests? Check. Waterfalls? Double check. Beaches? You guessed it. However, there are still the islands left to explore. Enter, the Rakiura Track. Exploring southern New Zealand, this trail will take you through Stewart Island. Rakiura National Park sprawls over 80 percent of the island. The track takes you to the heart of the wildlife as you spot Rakiura totoeka and kiwis. Some of the earliest Maori settlement sites will give you a sense of historic significance. 

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