Ten Best Hikes and Great Walks NZ
Great Walks NZ are tracks that you book and pay to use as they are of a higher standard than most and you must stay in the campsites and huts provided. There are ten of these walks spread throughout the NZ, displaying the best natural scenery our country has to offer. You must book in a time to do these great walks and a guide is recommended, so a reasonable amount of planning is involved. There are also plenty of beautiful day hikes in NZ that are free for everyone to do and take minimal time and planning. We’ve compiled our top five Great Walks NZ along with our five favourite day hikes.
Top Five Day Hikes
Franz Josef Glacier Walk
The Franz Josef Glacier Walk is a 1.5 hour round trip and takes you to the base of the glacier. The track is wide and easy to take children along, guiding you past a stunning waterfall. The glacier has receded back so you cannot get too close, but it is well worth seeing. If you want to get up close to this epic glacier and go inside ice tunnels, you can add a Heli-hike to any of our tours passing through Franz Joseph.
When it comes to Queenstown hikes, this is an epic one to try. Starting in a small car park just off Belfast Terrace, which you can drive to or walk to from the town centre. This is one of the best Queenstown hikes in our opinion! The walk takes three hours round trip and offers some of the best views of the Queenstown area. There is a sculpture called the basket of dreams along the way which is well worth checking out. The walk up requires a moderate level of fitness as it is a decent ascent.
The Skyline circuit is located in Akaroa, a small french village located 1.5 hours drive from Christchurch. The skyline circuit takes four to seven hours to complete taking you through beautiful native bush to a summit view. From this height you have the chance to fully take in the stunning bright blue waters of the Akaroa harbour.
Red Rocks Reserve
The Red Rocks Reserve walk is located just out of Wellington. It takes you along reasonably flat grounds and has epic sea views along the way. This coastal dream follows around to beautiful red rocks after an hour of walking. With plenty of bays for swimming and stopping for a feast, this walk has it all, on a clear day you might even be able to see the South Island.
Rangitoto Summit Track
Hikes in the city of Auckland might sound unobtainable, but this is a natural paradise not to be missed. Rangitoto island is a short ferry ride away from Auckland Harbour, ferries leave from here in 25 minute intervals every day. Rangitoto is a dormant volcano and this hike to the summit begins from the wharf where the ferry drops you. The walk is a 7 kilometer round trip taking you through lava fields, pohutukawa forests and finally 360 degree views of the ocean and over to the city at the summit, making it one of the best hikes in Auckland.
Top 5 Great walks
Tongariro Northern Circuit
This is a three to four day tramp and takes you through dramatic landscapes of active volcanoes, you can pick different paths to make the tramp suitable for the whole family. The position of the volcanoes are central in the north and their high altitude allows for many views of the island. You can also expect to see thermal steaming craters, dense beach forests and unique wildlife.
Abel Tasman Coastal track
This track is 60 kilometers long one way and takes three to five days to complete. This coastal walkway takes you around the gorgeous golden beaches of the Abel Tasman. The track is out of this world, you’ll be walking through paradise the entire time and is the perfect summer activity.
The Routeburn Track has some of the best views otago has to offer. It takes two to four days to complete and you can expect to see stunning scenery such as lakes, rivers and landscapes. From fun swing bridges to beautiful birdlife, this is a hike you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
This Great Walk is a four day adventure starting with an awesome cruise from Te Anau downs. There are lovely swimming holes on this walk – the perfect way to cool off after a long day walking. The walk will provide stunning views of Mackinnon pass, waterfalls and the amazing Pompolona Icefield!
The Kepler track is last, but certainly not least on our list. The Kepler track is the best of the best at providing you with the amazing ridgeline views of Fiordland and takes three to four days to complete. This track will take your breath away, taking you past some secluded lakes and through the Te Anau Wildlife Park. Every step you take there is something new to see.
Photo credit | Miles Holden
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