The 9 Best Great Walks in New Zealand

Best great walks in New Zealand

New Zealand has hundreds of breathtaking hiking trails (or tramping as we call it here), and there are a few extraordinary ones known as ”the Great Walks in New Zealand”.

These are located on both the North & South Island, and some tramps are extremely popular, with a set allocation of people allowed on them each day. Below is a quick overview of each of the nine great walks in New Zealand! 🏞😍

The Best North Island Great Walks

1. The Lake Waikaremoana Track

Lake Waikaremoana is 46 km long and is located in a remote part of the North Island.

The track stays near the lake, and walking takes 4 to 5 days.Β 

Take your togs (swimsuit) and fishing rod, as there is ample opportunity for both on this walk.

Lake Waikaremoana Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • 🌲 Scenic Beauty: The trail offers breathtaking views of the pristine Lake Waikaremoana and lush landscapes.
  • 🚢 Duration: The walk spans 46 km and is designed to be completed in 4 to 5 days, allowing for a leisurely exploration of the area.
  • 🎣 Recreational Activities: Pack your fishing rod, as the track provides ample opportunities for fishing, letting you enjoy the serenity of fishing in a remote setting.
  • πŸŠβ€β™‚οΈ Swimming Spots: Don’t forget your togs (swimsuit) as there are inviting spots along the lake where you can take a refreshing dip.
  • 🌳 Nature Immersion: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the North Island, with the track taking you through diverse ecosystems and landscapes.
  • 🏞️ Remote Location: The track offers a peaceful and secluded escape from urban life in a remote part of the North Island.
  • πŸ•οΈ Camping Opportunities: The trail provides designated camping areas, allowing you to experience the outdoors and spend nights under the starry sky.
  • 🐦 Wildlife Observation: Keep an eye out for native flora and fauna, including various bird species that inhabit the region.
  • πŸ“… Seasonal Considerations: Check the best time to visit, considering weather conditions and seasonal changes, for a more enjoyable experience.
  • πŸŒ… Sunrise and Sunset Views: Capture stunning sunrise and sunset moments over Lake Waikaremoana, creating unforgettable memories.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Waikaremoana Track

Accommodation Details
Te Urewera Treks & Accommodation Offers accommodation options and guided treks in the Lake Waikaremoana area.
Lake Waikaremoana Motor Camp Lake Waikaremoana Motor Camp is Located near the track’s starting point at Hopuruahine Landing. Provides camping sites and basic cabins. Contact for availability and reservations.
Waikaremoana Holiday Park Offers a range of accommodations, including cabins and camping sites. It is located near Lake Waikaremoana.Β Website:Β Waikaremoana Holiday Park
Hotunui Campsite A DOC-managed campsite near Lake Waikaremoana. Provides basic facilities for campers.
Holiday Homes and Bach Rentals Some locals may offer holiday homes or baches (cottages) for rent in the Lake Waikaremoana area. Check online accommodation platforms for potential rentals.

2. Tongariro Northern Circuit

This trackΒ takes 3 to 4 days and is based in the central volcanic plateau region, incorporating Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngaruahoe, and Mt Tongariro.

Part of the walk takes you over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of our most beloved day walks.

If the weather is clear, you can look to the ocean at the top of the pass and across to Mt Taranaki.

Tongariro Northern Circuit

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • πŸŒ‹ Volcanic Landscape: The circuit takes you through a unique and dramatic volcanic landscape, including views of the iconic Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom from “The Lord of the Rings”), and Mount Ruapehu.
  • πŸ₯Ύ Challenging Terrain: The track covers diverse terrains, from alpine meadows to active volcanic areas. Hiking can be challenging, so proper gear and preparation are essential.
  • 🌲 World Heritage Site: Tongariro National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its outstanding natural values and cultural significance.
  • 🏞️ Emerald Lakes:Β The circuit passes by the stunning Emerald Lakes, known for their vibrant green color, resulting from volcanic minerals in the water.
  • πŸ”₯ Thermal Activity: Hikers may encounter geothermal features along the track, including steam vents and hot springs, adding to the otherworldly experience.
  • πŸ“† Seasonal Considerations: The weather can be unpredictable, and conditions vary throughout the year. It’s crucial to plan your hike according to the season and be prepared for changing weather.
  • 🚢 Multi-Day Adventure: The Tongariro Northern Circuit typically takes 3 to 4 days to complete, providing a multi-day adventure with opportunities to stay in backcountry huts.
  • πŸŒ… Sunrise at Red Crater: Hikers often aim to reach the Red Crater at sunrise, offering a breathtaking view and a memorable start to the day.
  • 🌿 Alpine Flora and Fauna: The circuit allows you to observe unique alpine vegetation and, if you’re lucky, spot some of the native bird species that inhabit the area.
  • πŸŒ„ Cultural Significance: The region holds cultural significance for the Māori people, and hikers may come across cultural markers and learn about the area’s rich history.
  • ⚠️ Safety Measures: Due to the challenging nature of the track and the potential for rapidly changing weather, hikers should be well-prepared, informed about the conditions, and adhere to safety guidelines.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Tongariro Northern Circuit

Accommodation Details
National Park Village Accommodation Several accommodation options are available in National Park Village, the gateway to Tongariro National Park. Check local hotels, motels, and lodges.
Whakapapa Village Accommodation Whakapapa Village is another nearby option with accommodation facilities. Explore hotels, lodges, and chalets in the village.
Chateau Tongariro Hotel A historic hotel located in Whakapapa Village, offering a luxurious stay with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Discovery Lodge A lodge situated in National Park Village, providing comfortable accommodation and amenities for visitors exploring Tongariro National Park.
Tongariro National Park Backpackers For budget-friendly options, consider backpacker accommodations in the area. Check for availability and book in advance.

3. The Whanganui Journey

This is not a hike…it is a canoe or kayak ride down the stunning Whanganui River andΒ can be as long as 145 km. The trip can begin in Taumaranui andΒ take around five days, or you can shorten it by starting further south.

The Whanganui Journey

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • πŸš£β€β™‚οΈ Canoeing Adventure: The Whanganui Journey is primarily a canoeing or kayaking experience, allowing you to paddle down the Whanganui River, one of New Zealand’s longest navigable waterways.
  • 🏞️ Landscape Diversity: The journey takes you through diverse landscapes, from remote native forests to deep gorges and picturesque valleys, providing a rich tapestry of natural beauty.
  • πŸ›Ά Duration: The trip typically takes 3 to 5 days to complete, depending on your pace and the starting point, offering a leisurely exploration of the river and its surroundings.
  • 🌿 Whanganui National Park: The river journey is within the Whanganui National Park, a protected area known for its lush native forests and unique flora and fauna.
  • πŸ•οΈ Camping Along the Riverbanks: The Whanganui Journey provides designated campsites, allowing you to camp amid nature and experience the tranquility of the surroundings.
  • πŸŒ… Bridge to Nowhere: A notable feature along the journey is the historic “Bridge to Nowhere,” an abandoned bridge in the wilderness with a fascinating history tied to early settler attempts.
  • 🐦 Birdwatching Opportunities: The journey offers excellent birdwatching opportunities, with a chance to spot native New Zealand birds in their natural habitat.
  • 🌲 Cultural Significance: The Whanganui River holds cultural importance for the local Māori people, and you may come across sites of historical and cultural significance during your journey.
  • β›Ί Hut Accommodations:Β Outside camping, there are also Department of Conservation (DOC) huts along the route, providing shelter for overnight stays.
  • 🌊 Rapids and Whirlpools: The river journey includes some sections with rapids and whirlpools, adding an element of excitement and adventure to the experience.
  • πŸš— One-Way Journey: The Whanganui Journey is typically a one-way trip, and transportation logistics need to be considered, such as arranging a pick-up at the journey’s end.
  • ⚠️ Safety and Preparation:Β Given the nature of the journey, it’s essential to be well-prepared, have suitable equipment, and be aware of safety guidelines for river travel.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Whanganui Journey

Accommodation Details
Whanganui City Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Whanganui City, the starting or ending point of The Whanganui Journey. Look for hotels, motels, and B&Bs.
Pipiriki Accommodation Pipiriki is a small settlement along the Whanganui River. Check for lodges, cottages, or camping options for a stay in this scenic area.
Ohakune Accommodation Ohakune is another town close to the journey. Find hotels, motels, or chalets for a comfortable stay before or after your river adventure.
Whanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park A holiday park near the Whanganui River provides camping sites and various accommodation options.
Bridge to Nowhere Lodge For a unique experience, consider the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge. Accessible by jet boat, it offers accommodation and guided tours.

The Best South Island Great Walks

1. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track

This is one of the easier Great Walks, and at 50 km in length,Β most people take 2–4 days to walk it.

You can pack away your heavy hiking boots and enjoy this walk wearing comfortable, lighter shoes.

You mustΒ arrange your transport to get to the start and end of the track.

Β There is an array of accommodation options, including campsites. This track is trendy to mix and match with sea kayaking.

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • πŸ–οΈ Coastal Paradise: The track is renowned for its stunning coastal scenery, featuring golden sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush native bush.
  • πŸ₯Ύ Great Walk Designation: The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, a collection of premier hiking tracks known for their exceptional beauty and well-maintained paths.
  • 🚀 Water Taxi Access: The track is unique as it offers the option to use water taxis for transportation to different points along the trail, providing flexibility in trip planning.
  • πŸ•οΈ Camping and Hut Options: Hikers can choose to camp at designated campsites or stay in Department of Conservation (DOC) huts, offering a range of accommodation options.
  • 🌊 Secluded Coves: The track meanders through secluded coves and bays, such as Bark Bay and Awaroa Bay, where you can relax, swim, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
  • 🦜 Abundant Wildlife: The coastal environment is home to various wildlife, including native birds and marine species. Watch for seals, dolphins, and the playful antics of the native birdlife.
  • πŸ‘Ÿ Varied Terrain: The trail encompasses a mix of easy coastal paths and more challenging sections, providing a variety of hiking experiences suitable for different skill levels.
  • 🌳 Native Flora: Hikers can appreciate New Zealand’s native flora, including native bush, ferns, and towering coastal trees.
  • πŸŒ… Sunrise and Sunset Views: The coastal setting allows for spectacular sunrise and sunset views over the Tasman Bay, creating memorable moments for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
  • πŸ“… Seasonal Considerations: The track is enjoyable year-round, but the summer months (December to February) are trendy due to warmer weather and longer daylight hours.
  • πŸŒ„ High Tide Route: Some sections of the track may be impassable at high tide, so it’s essential to plan your hike accordingly and consult tide timetables.
  • ⚠️ Conservation Efforts: The track is subject to conservation efforts, and visitors are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the pristine natural environment.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Abel Tasman Track

Accommodation Details
Marahau Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Marahau, the gateway to The Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Look for lodges, holiday parks, and B&Bs.
Motueka Accommodation Motueka is a nearby town with various accommodation options. Check for hotels, motels, and vacation rentals for a comfortable stay.
Kaiteriteri Accommodation Kaiteriteri is a popular base for visitors. Find beachfront accommodation, resorts, or camping options for your Abel Tasman experience.
Abel Tasman National Park Lodges Within the park, there are lodges and huts along the track. Bookings are essential for overnight stays. Check with the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Awaroa Lodge Awaroa Lodge is located within the park and offers a unique accommodation experience. Accessible by water taxi, it provides a tranquil setting.

2. The Heaphy Track

At around 80 km, this walkΒ takes most people around five daysΒ and covers an array of scenery, including the West Coast beaches, beech forests, and tussock downs.

Depending on your chosen direction, it starts and finishes in Golden Bay and the West Coast, soΒ you must arrange transport at either end.

The Heaphy Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • 🌲 Diverse Landscapes: The track traverses diverse landscapes, including dense native forests, alpine meadows, expansive tussock fields, and rugged coastal areas, providing a rich variety of scenery.
  • πŸ₯Ύ Great Walk Status: Like the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, the Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, showcasing its exceptional beauty and well-maintained trails.
  • 🦚 Unique Flora and Fauna: Hikers can encounter unique flora and fauna, including ancient podocarp forests, rare bird species such as the cheeky kea, and the chance to witness the flightless takahΔ“.
  • 🏞️ Hut Accommodations: The track offers a series of Department of Conservation (DOC) huts for overnight stays, strategically placed along the route, providing shelter for hikers.
  • πŸŒ… Sunset at the Heaphy River Mouth: One of the highlights is reaching the Heaphy River Mouth at the Tasman Sea, where you can experience stunning sunsets over the ocean.
  • 🦌 Wildlife Viewing: The Heaphy Track is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, which can often be seen in the grassy clearings along the trail.
  • 🌿 Botanical Diversity: Botanical enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse range of plant life, from towering rimu and totara trees to delicate alpine flowers in the high country.
  • πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ One-Way Journey: The track is typically walked in one direction, from Brown Hut to Kohaihai, or vice versa. This one-way journey enhances the sense of progression through different ecosystems.
  • 🌊 Wild West Coast: The trail follows the wild and remote West Coast, providing dramatic views of the Tasman Sea and a sense of solitude and wilderness.
  • 🌧️ Weather Considerations: Weather conditions can vary, and hikers should be prepared for changing weather, especially in alpine areas. Rain gear and layers are essential.
  • πŸ“† Seasonal Considerations: The track is open year-round, but the summer months (December to February) are popular due to milder weather and longer daylight hours.
  • ⚠️ Conservation and Respect: Conservation efforts are in place to protect the natural environment. Visitors are encouraged to practice responsible hiking and follow Leave No Trace principles.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Heaphy Track

Accommodation Details
Karamea Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Karamea, the gateway to The Heaphy Track. Look for lodges, motels, and guesthouses for a comfortable stay.
Westport Accommodation
Collingwood Accommodation Collingwood is another town close to The Heaphy Track. Find options ranging from cozy B&Bs to self-contained cottages for your accommodation needs.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Huts Along The Heaphy Track, there are DOC huts for overnight stays. Bookings are required, and these huts provide basic facilities for trampers.
Karamea Village Hotel A local hotel in Karamea offering accommodation and dining services. Check for availability and amenities.

3. The Kepler Track

The Kepler Track is a captivating journey through diverse landscapes, combining alpine grandeur, lush forests, and the tranquility of Lake Te Anau, making it a memorable experience for hiking enthusiasts, and coming into our list as one of the best Great Walks in New Zealand.

The Kepler Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • πŸ”οΈ Alpine Splendor: The Kepler Track is known for its breathtaking alpine scenery, offering panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and lush forests.
  • πŸ₯Ύ Great Walk Designation: Like the Heaphy and Abel Tasman Coastal Tracks, the Kepler Track is recognized as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, ensuring well-maintained paths and exceptional hiking experiences.
  • πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ Circular Track: Unlike some other Great Walks, the Kepler Track forms a loop, allowing hikers to start and finish at the same point. The loop spans approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles).
  • 🌲 Beech Forests: Hikers traverse through enchanting native beech forests, where the towering trees create a serene and atmospheric environment.
  • πŸŒ… Luxmore Hut Panorama: A highlight of the track is the Luxmore Hut, situated on the Luxmore Saddle. From here, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of Lake Te Anau and the surrounding mountains.
  • πŸ’¦ Iris Burn Waterfalls: The Iris Burn Hut area features beautiful waterfalls, providing a refreshing and picturesque stop along the track.
  • 🌺 Floral Diversity: The Kepler Track showcases a diverse range of flora, from alpine flowers to native New Zealand plants, adding to the visual appeal of the hike.
  • 🏞️ Lake Te Anau: The track skirts the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island, providing stunning reflections and opportunities for lakeside relaxation.
  • 🌧️ Variable Weather: Fiordland is known for its unpredictable weather, and hikers should be prepared for rain and rapidly changing conditions. Proper gear is essential.
  • 🚁 Helicopter Option: For those seeking a shorter experience, there’s the option to take a helicopter ride to Luxmore Hut, bypassing the initial ascent and allowing more time to explore higher elevations.
  • πŸ“† Seasonal Considerations: While the track is open year-round, the summer months (December to February) are the most popular, offering milder weather and longer daylight hours.
  • πŸ“· Photography Opportunities: The Kepler Track presents numerous opportunities for photography, capturing diverse landscapes and stunning vistas.
  • ⚠️ Conservation Awareness: Like other Great Walks, conservation’s emphasized. Hikers are encouraged to respect the natural environment and adhere to responsible hiking practices.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Kepler Track

Accommodation Details
Te Anau Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Te Anau, the gateway to The Kepler Track. Look for hotels, motels, and lodges for a comfortable stay.
Manapouri Accommodation Manapouri is another town near The Kepler Track. Find options ranging from lakeside cabins to B&Bs for your pre or post-track stay.
Fiordland National Park Lodge Located in Te Anau, this lodge offers accommodation and amenities for travelers exploring Fiordland National Park, including The Kepler Track.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Huts Along The Kepler Track, there are DOC huts for overnight stays. Bookings are required, and these huts provide basic facilities for trampers.
Luxmore Hut – Kepler Track The Luxmore Hut is a key stop along the track, offering accommodation with scenic views. Booking through the DOC is essential for overnight stays.

4. The Routeburn Track

This track covers almost 40 km, and you will see waterfalls, mountain lakes, and beautiful New Zealand flora and fauna.

There are two starting and finishing points, one close (68 km) to Queenstown and the other 85 km from Te Anau.

The Routeburn Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • 🌲 Alpine Wonderland: The Routeburn Track showcases New Zealand’s alpine beauty, featuring snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and lush forests. The track is located in both Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks.
  • πŸ₯Ύ Great Walk Designation: Like the Kepler, Heaphy, and Abel Tasman Coastal Tracks, the Routeburn Track is designated as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, ensuring well-maintained paths and exceptional hiking experiences.
  • 🏞️ Diverse Landscapes:Β Hikers traverse diverse landscapes, from ancient beech forests and vibrant alpine meadows to towering mountain passes and glacier-fed rivers.
  • πŸ”οΈ Key Highlights: The Harris Saddle, where hikers can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views, and the Routeburn Falls, a stunning waterfall along the track.
  • πŸ’¦ Blue Lake: Blue Lake, located near the Harris Saddle, is often hailed as one of the clearest lakes in the world, with its vibrant blue hues. It’s a mesmerizing spot for hikers to take in the scenery.
  • πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ One-Way Journey: The Routeburn Track is a one-way journey, typically walked from the Routeburn Shelter to The Divide or vice versa. This layout allows hikers to experience different terrains and ecosystems along the way.
  • 🌺 Floral Beauty: During the summer months, the track is adorned with colorful alpine flowers, creating a vibrant and picturesque landscape.
  • πŸ•οΈ Hut Accommodations: Like other Great Walks, the Routeburn Track provides Department of Conservation (DOC) huts for overnight stays, offering hikers a comfortable and sheltered experience.
  • πŸ“· Photography Opportunities: The track offers numerous photo opportunities, including the reflective waters of Lake Mackenzie and the dramatic mountain scenery along the entire route.
  • 🌧️ Weather Considerations: As with many tracks in New Zealand, weather conditions can be changeable, and hikers should be prepared for rain and variable weather patterns.
  • πŸ“† Seasonal Considerations: The summer months (December to February) are the most popular for hiking. Still, the track can be enjoyed during other seasons, each offering a unique perspective on the landscape.
  • ⚠️ Conservation and Respect: Conservation efforts are emphasized, and hikers are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural environment.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Routeburn Track

Accommodation Details
Te Anau Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Te Anau, a common starting or ending point for The Routeburn Track. Look for hotels, motels, and lodges for a comfortable stay.
Glenorchy Accommodation Glenorchy is another town in proximity to The Routeburn Track. Find accommodation options ranging from lakeside cabins to B&Bs for your pre or post-track stay.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Huts Along The Routeburn Track, there are DOC huts for overnight stays. Bookings are essential, and these huts provide basic facilities for trampers.
Queenstown Accommodation Consider staying in Queenstown, a vibrant town near The Routeburn Track. Look for lodges or hotels with convenient access to transportation.
Routeburn Falls Hut The Routeburn Falls Hut is a key stop along the track, offering accommodation with scenic views. Booking through the DOC is essential for overnight stays.

5. The Milford Track

This is one of the our most famous Great Walks in New Zealand, andΒ has an international reputation.

It is based in Fiordland, begins in Lake Te Anau, and finishes at the stunning Milford Sound. You have the option of a guided and unguided walk on this track.

If hiking independently, you must book into a hut (at approximately $54 a night) for the three-night walk.

You will also need toΒ arrange transport to the start and from the end of the track.

The Milford Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • πŸ₯Ύ Great Walk Designation: The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, offering well-maintained paths, stunning landscapes, and a premier hiking experience.
  • 🌳 Beech Forests: Hikers journey through ancient Southern Beech forests, where towering trees create a magical and serene atmosphere. Sections of the track are enveloped in moss and ferns.
  • πŸ’¦ Waterfalls: The track features several impressive waterfalls, including the iconic Sutherland Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in New Zealand. The sight and sound of cascading water add to the trail’s allure.
  • πŸŒ… Glacial Valleys: Hikers traverse glacial valleys, experiencing the remnants of past ice ages, with U-shaped valleys and stunning alpine scenery.
  • πŸ•οΈ DOC Huts and Camping:Β The Department of Conservation (DOC) provides huts along the track for overnight stays and designated camping areas for those who prefer to camp. Advanced bookings are essential.
  • πŸ›Ά Mitre Peak and Milford Sound: The track culminates at Milford Sound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its breathtaking beauty. The towering Mitre Peak is a prominent feature of the landscape.
  • 🌧️ Variable Weather: Fiordland is known for its unpredictable weather, and hikers should be prepared for rain and changing conditions. Proper gear is crucial for a comfortable experience.
  • 🚀 Transportation Options: The track is typically walked in one direction, and transportation is arranged to/from Te Anau and Milford Sound. Boat transport is often used to access the trailhead or exit point.
  • πŸ“· Photography Opportunities: The Milford Track offers numerous opportunities for photography, capturing the grandeur of the landscapes, reflections in pristine alpine lakes, and the unique flora and fauna.
  • πŸ“† Seasonal Considerations: The summer months (December to February) are the most popular for hiking, but the track is open year-round, with each season offering a distinct and captivating experience.
  • ⚠️ Conservation Awareness: Conservation efforts are crucial, and hikers are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural environment.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Milford Track

Accommodation Details
Te Anau Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and The Milford Track. Look for hotels, motels, and lodges for a comfortable stay.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Huts Along The Milford Track, there are DOC huts for overnight stays. Bookings are essential, and these huts provide basic facilities for trampers.
Fiordland National Park Lodge Located in Te Anau, this lodge offers accommodation and amenities for travelers exploring Fiordland National Park, including those preparing for The Milford Track.
Milford Sound Accommodation Consider staying in Milford Sound, a stunning destination near the end of The Milford Track. Look for lodges or cabins with scenic views.
Luxmore Hut – Milford Track The Luxmore Hut is a key stop along the track, offering accommodation with breathtaking views. Booking through the DOC is essential for overnight stays.

6. The Rakiura Track

The Rakiura Track offers a tranquil and immersive experience, allowing hikers to explore the natural beauty and unique ecosystems of Stewart Island, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path adventure in New Zealand.

The Rakiura Track

πŸ” Insights about the Track

  • 🏞️ Island Wilderness: Stewart Island is known for its pristine and relatively untouched wilderness, offering a unique and remote hiking experience.
  • πŸ₯Ύ Great Walk Designation: While not officially designated as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Rakiura Track is recognized for its stunning landscapes and is a popular choice for hikers seeking a more secluded adventure.
  • 🌊 Coastal Views: The track takes hikers along the coastline, providing panoramic views of the rugged southern seas, secluded bays, and the surrounding islands.
  • 🌲 Native Bush:Β The trail winds through native bush, including podocarp and hardwood forests, showcasing the region’s diverse flora.
  • 🦜 Birdwatching: Stewart Island is a haven for birdwatchers, and hikers on the Rakiura Track may encounter native New Zealand bird species, including the iconic kiwi, bellbirds, and kaka.
  • 🏞️ Maori Cultural Significance: Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island, and the track holds cultural significance. Hikers may come across historical and cultural sites along the way.
  • πŸŒ… Sunrise and Sunset: The remote location of Stewart Island provides excellent opportunities to witness stunning sunrises and sunsets, creating memorable moments for hikers.
  • 🚢 Variety of Tracks: The Rakiura Track offers a variety of tracks, including coastal sections, forested areas, and climbs to vantage points, providing a diverse and engaging hiking experience.
  • πŸ•οΈ Camping and Huts: The Department of Conservation (DOC) provides camping areas and huts along the track, allowing hikers to choose between camping under the stars or staying in the huts for a more sheltered experience.
  • πŸ“† Seasonal Considerations: The track is open year-round, but the summer months (December to February) are the most popular due to milder weather and longer daylight hours.
  • πŸ›₯️ Ferry Access: Access to Stewart Island is by ferry from Bluff. Hikers often take the opportunity to explore the charming village of Oban on Stewart Island before or after their trek.
  • ⚠️ Weather Preparedness: The weather on Stewart Island can be changeable, and hikers should be prepared for rain and varying conditions. It’s advisable to check weather forecasts and come equipped with suitable gear.

πŸ• Accommodation near The Rakiura Track

Accommodation Details
Oban Accommodation Explore accommodation options in Oban, the main settlement on Stewart Island and a common starting or ending point for The Rakiura Track. Look for lodges, B&Bs, and motels.
Stewart Island Lodge A lodge in Oban offering accommodation with views of Halfmoon Bay. Check for availability and amenities for a comfortable stay before or after your track adventure.
South Sea Hotel The South Sea Hotel is a historic hotel in Oban, providing accommodation and dining services. Consider this option for a convenient stay near the track.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Huts Along The Rakiura Track, there are DOC huts for overnight stays. Bookings are essential, and these huts provide basic facilities for trampers.
Rakiura Lodge Rakiura Lodge offers accommodation in a secluded setting on Stewart Island. Check for availability and transportation options for a tranquil stay.

Activities & Tours near the Great Walks in New Zealand

Before embarking on any activities or tours,Β check with local visitor centers, tour operators, and accommodation providers for the latest information and availability.

Ensure that your chosen experiences align with your preferences and the current conditions of the Great Walks.

⭐ Most popular Activity & Tours providers are Viator and BookMe.

  1. Guided Walks and Hikes: Many tour operators offer guided walks on the Great Walks, providing insights into the local flora, fauna, and cultural history. Knowledgeable guides can enhance your experience with informative commentary.
  2. Heli-Hiking: Experience the Great Walks from a unique perspective with heli-hiking tours. Helicopter rides allow you to access remote areas and enjoy breathtaking aerial views.
  3. Wildlife Tours: Join wildlife tours to observe native bird species, including kiwi, tui, and kea. Some tours may focus on birdwatching, allowing you to appreciate New Zealand’s unique biodiversity.
  4. Kayaking and Canoeing: Explore lakes and rivers near the Great Walks by joining guided kayaking or canoeing tours. Paddle through pristine waters surrounded by stunning landscapes.
  5. Scenic Flights: Take a scenic flight over the Great Walks and surrounding landscapes for panoramic views. Capture aerial perspectives of mountains, lakes, and forests.
  6. Cultural Tours: Learn about the cultural significance of the areas surrounding the Great Walks. Join guided cultural tours to gain insights into Maori history, traditions, and stories.
  7. Mountain Biking: Some Great Walks have sections suitable for mountain biking. Join guided biking tours to explore these trails and enjoy the thrill of riding through scenic landscapes.
  8. Photography Workshops:Β Participate in photography workshops designed to capture the Great Walks’ beauty. Learn techniques and tips from experienced photographers.
  9. Fishing Excursions: Enjoy fishing tours in lakes and rivers near the Great Walks. Test your angling skills while surrounded by pristine natural settings.
  10. Multi-Day Adventures: Combine activities and explore multiple Great Walks on extended guided tours. Some operators offer customizable multi-day adventures catering to various interests.
  11. Stargazing Tours: Experience the clear night skies near the Great Walks with stargazing tours. Learn about southern hemisphere constellations and celestial phenomena.
  12. Adventure Challenges: For those seeking an adrenaline rush, consider adventure challenges such as zip-lining, rock climbing, or canyoning in the nearby areas.
  13. Cruise and Boat Tours: Explore lakes and coastal areas with boat tours. Cruise along scenic waterways to appreciate the landscapes from a different perspective.
  14. Local Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in local communities by participating in cultural experiences, including art galleries, traditional performances, and local festivals.

πŸš΅β€β™‚οΈ If you like adventure activities, you may consider checking the following post: The 14 Best Adventure Activities in New Zealand

Activities near the Great Walks

Frequently Asked Questions about the Great Walks in New Zealand

1. What are the Great Walks in New Zealand?

The Great Walks are a collection of premier hiking trails that showcase the stunning landscapes and natural beauty of New Zealand.

These tracks are maintained by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and offer a unique and immersive outdoor experience.

2. How many Great Walks in New Zealand exist?

There are currently ten Great Walks in New Zealand, each located in diverse regions across both the North and South Islands.

3. What makes a walk a “Great Walk”?

Great Walks are selected based on their exceptional scenery, well-maintained tracks, and the overall hiking experience they offer.

They are designed to provide a high-quality outdoor adventure while promoting conservation and sustainable tourism.

4. Can I camp along the Great Walks?

Yes, most Great Walks provide designated campsites, allowing hikers to camp along the tracks.

Department of Conservation (DOC) huts are also available for overnight stays, and advanced bookings are usually required.

5. How long does it take to complete a Great Walk?

The duration varies for each Great Walk. Most tracks take multiple days to complete, with average durations ranging from three to six days.

The length depends on the specific trail and the pace of the hiker.

6. When is the best time to hike the Great Walks?

The summer months (December to February) are generally famous for hiking the Great Walks due to milder weather and longer daylight hours. However, each track has its own seasonal considerations; some are accessible year-round.

7. Are the Great Walks suitable for beginners?

While some Great Walks are more challenging, many are suitable for beginners with a reasonable fitness level.

Researching the specific track and choosing one that aligns with your hiking experience and capabilities is essential.

8. How do I book huts or campsites on the Great Walks?

Bookings for huts and campsites on the Great Walks can be made through the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.

Due to their popularity, making reservations well in advance is advisable, especially during the peak season.

9. What amenities are available on the Great Walks?

The tracks are equipped with well-maintained huts that provide basic facilities, including sleeping quarters, cooking areas, and toilets.

Some tracks also offer water taxis or boat transport for certain sections.

10. Is wildlife commonly seen on the Great Walks?

Yes, the Great Walks provide opportunities to encounter New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.

Native bird species, such as kiwi, tui, and kea, are often spotted, and the tracks traverse diverse ecosystems, showcasing the country’s biodiversity.

11. Are guided tours available for the Great Walks?

Guided tours are available for some Great Walks, providing an informative and supported experience.

These tours often include knowledgeable guides, meals, and pre-arranged accommodation.

12. How do I get to the trailheads of the Great Walks?

Access to the trailheads varies. Some Great Walks are easily accessible by road, while others may require water transport or additional logistics.

Transportation details for each specific track can be found on the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.

13. Can I combine multiple Great Walks in one trip?

Combining multiple Great Walks in one trip is possible, primarily if they are relatively close. However, careful planning is required to account for transportation and the varying durations of each walk.

14. Is there a cost associated with hiking the Great Walks?

Yes, there is a fee for using the Department of Conservation (DOC) huts and campsites on the Great Walks.

The fees contribute to the maintenance and conservation efforts of these iconic trails.

15. Can I bring my dog on the Great Walks?

Generally, pets, including dogs, are not allowed on the Great Walks to protect the natural environment and wildlife.

It’s important to check the specific rules for each track, but in most cases, leaving pets at home is recommended.

These FAQs provide a general overview of what to expect when planning a hiking adventure on the Great Walks of New Zealand.

Before embarking on any Great Walk, it’s advisable to check the official Department of Conservation (DOC) website for the most up-to-date information and track conditions.

Bottom Line

Suppose you cannot get the dates you want on the tracks you wish to…do not despair. There are hundreds of other track options in New Zealand.

They are not as popular or well-known as the Great Walks, but many locals would like to tell you that they offer an experience equal to the Great Walks.

Several companies around New Zealand offerΒ guided walks. These will cost you more than hiking independently, but can be the preferred option for less experienced hikers…as well as those who might not want to carry a heavy pack for days.

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Kiwilanders is a directory and blog featuring informational and recreational content about New Zealand.