The best of New Zealand’s hiking tracks, featuring sprawling coastline beaches, dense rain forests, alpine terrains and much more

Most – if not all – of the hiking tracks in New Zealand offer some of the best trails in the world, but only a select few hold the official title as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, a set of popular tramping tracks maintained to a high standard by the country’s Department of Conservation.

Below, we look at the nine New Zealand Great Walks that bring you through vast wilderness and lets you experience beautiful landscapes first-hand.

 

Day Walks

 

CABLE BAY WALKWAY

 

 

Experience sweeping coastal scenery, rolling pastures, and native bush on the Cable Bay Walkway. This iconic walking track takes approximately 3.5 hours from one end to the other, and is a great warm up for beginner hikers. Don’t be fooled though – it takes you through a couple of hills which can get steep, so be sure to pack strong footwear.

 

LAKE MARIAN TRACK

 

 

This tramping track is for the ones with a penchant for scenic views. Your goal is Lake Marian, where you’ll be greeted by stunning turquoise alpine waters sitting in a valley surrounded by mountain peaks and waterfalls.

 

ROBERTS POINT TRACK

 

 

It’s a bit of a hike at Roberts Point Track, which measures a round-trip distance of 11 kilometres and 5 hours to complete. At the end of its suspension bridges, a clip-on cliff bridge, and scrambling rock faces, you’ll be rewarded with unrivalled views of the Franz Josef Glacier.

 

ULVA ISLAND

 

 

The Ulva Island Walking Track offers a series of short tracks perfect for bird watching, botanical experiences, and wildlife interaction. Generally considered an easy route, the track takes the average hiker about 1 hour and 17 minutes to complete.

 

Multi-Day Hikes

 

ABEL TASMAN COAST TRACK

 

 

Boasting a mild climate, golden beaches, and lush coastal forests, the Abel Tasman Coast Track truly has it all. With its relatively flat terrain, the track is ideal for beginners and families with children. This trek, which takes an average of three to five days to cover, is more than worthwhile with the amount of photography opportunities it presents at every turn.

 

HEAPHY TRACK

 

 

Cross over tussock downs, lush forests, and through Nikau palms on this ancient Maori trail that opens up to the roaring seas of the West Coast. Though in order to arrive at that beautiful destination, you’re in for 82 kilometres of hard walking across four to six days. But fret not, the vivid scenery contrasts at each section are bound to take your mind off your feet and thighs.

 

MILFORD TRACK

 

 

Popularly known as “The Finest Walk in the World”, the Milford Track leads you across suspension bridges and boardwalks while showing off pristine lakes, sky-scraping peaks, and sweeping valley views. You’ll also get to inhale the misty breath of the Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand, that measures a drop of 580 metres. The walk sells out faster with each passing year, so we highly recommend that you diligently camp out on their site when booking opens.

 

RAKIURA TRACK

 

 

New Zealand's southernmost Great Walk takes you through Steward Island, which is a sanctuary for a huge bird population, including the country’s national bird – the kiwi. The island is also the world's fifth international Dark Sky Sanctuary, making it a great spot for catching the magical Aurora Australis, otherwise known as the Southern Lights.

 

ROUTEBURN TRACK

 

 

Head to Routeburn Track for an epic alpine adventure that spans three days on average. Expect soaring mountain peaks, huge valleys, towering waterfalls, and jewel-like lakes that link Fiordland National Park and Mt. Aspiring National Park. The track peaks at 1,255 metres above sea level, so expect heart-racing, but mightily spectacular, views.