The Comprehensive List of New Zealand’s Greatest Hikes: 2019 Edition –

New Zealand is one of the perfect locations to hike anyplace on the planet. The scenery is beautiful and ever-changing, the national parks are in depth, and greatest of all, a network of backcountry huts means you don’t even have to deliver a tent whereas mountaineering in New Zealand.

In reality, there are so many implausible New Zealand treks out there that your biggest drawback shall be selecting which of them to pattern. From glaciers, fiords, and towering peaks to lush rainforest and golden-sand seashores, New Zealand has a wealth of numerous wilderness just ready to be explored.

Fortunately, this guide has narrowed down hundreds of kilometers of trails into the most effective of one of the best. From straightforward day hikes to gruelling week-long wilderness adventures, you’re positive to seek out the right monitor to suit your travel plans on this complete listing. Novice hikers will feel snug making an attempt fashionable, well-marked trails, whereas skilled outside adventurers can easily escape the crowds on some of New Zealand’s most remote and inaccessible routes.

The information about every trail consists of climbing time, distance, problem degree, execs and cons of the trail, methods to entry the trailhead, and other issues to remember of when planning your New Zealand trek.

These prime New Zealand hikes are unfold throughout the North and South Islands, so if you have already got a climbing vacation spot in thoughts, you’ll be able to merely select the trail that most accurately fits your itinerary.

New Zealand’s well-known Nice Walks are addressed individually, as they’re much costlier than other hikes in New Zealand and have to be booked far prematurely. Nevertheless, they showcase some of New Zealand’s most dramatic surroundings, in order that they shouldn’t be discounted for these causes alone.

At the finish of this guide, one can find ideas specific to mountaineering in New Zealand, from staying at backcountry huts to crossing flooded rivers.

The Greatest Day Hikes in New Zealand

Straightforward New Zealand Day Hikes

Rob Roy Glacier Monitor

The Rob Roy Glacier Monitor is probably probably the most rewarding brief day hike in New Zealand. Starting in the dramatic West Matukituki Valley, the place the path crosses a swing bridge over the turquoise waters of the Matukituki River, the Rob Roy Glacier Monitor ascends via pristine beech foret before emerging at the foot of the hanging glacier.

Waterfalls cascade from the face of the glacier, which perches excessive on a rocky mountain face; the breathtaking alpine scene is corresponding to Earnslaw Burn, made well-known as the destination of an unique (and very expensive) helicopter tour. Here you’ll be able to take pleasure in your fill of alpine splendor without the hefty price tag.

With mild grading and a well-maintained path, the Rob Roy Glacier Monitor is appropriate for nearly anybody.


Most rental automobiles aren’t allowed on the street to Raspberry Flat Automotive Park, so you will want to arrange a shuttle, rent a automotive from Adventure Automotive Leases Wanaka, or hitchhike to succeed in the trailhead.


Trail Identify on DOC Web site Rob Roy Monitor Distance 10 kilometers (return) Climbing time 3-4 hours (return) Nearest city Wanaka Elevation achieve Average, well-graded Execs
  • Superb views for comparatively little effort; one of the only easily-reached hanging glaciers in New Zealand
  • Near prime destinations comparable to Queenstown and Wanaka; a simple brief hike that can match into most travel schedules
  • Great-quality path, often with no mud
  • Widespread and may be crowded at occasions
  • The street is tough and has fords near the top; most rental automotive corporations don’t permit their automobiles to drive to the trailhead. Ebook a shuttle or lease a automotive for the day from Journey Automotive Rentals Wanaka to get around this.
Mountaineering season Yr-round, depending on climate Huts and hut charges None Trailhead Raspberry Flat Automotive Park

Key Summit

Of the various brief walks on supply along the well-known Milford Street, the Key Summit Monitor is probably the most rewarding. This path follows the ultimate leg of the Routeburn Monitor as it climbs to a wide ranging viewpoint over Fiordland National Park, with a mirror-like pool at the prime reflecting the encompassing peaks.

Most of the Fiordland terrain is steep and inaccessible, so Key Summit is the one place the place you’ll be able to shortly and simply achieve sufficient elevation to take pleasure in panoramic views.

The Key Summit Monitor is well-graded and doable for most hikers.


As the Key Summit Monitor is located within Fiordland, you possibly can anticipate rain most of the time. Deliver lots of waterproof layers, and think about postponing or forgoing the hike if visibility is poor, since you gained’t be capable of see the encompassing mountains from the peak if the cloud cover is low.


Path identify on DOC website Routeburn Monitor: Key Summit Monitor Distance 6.Eight kilometers (return) Mountaineering time 3 hours (return) Nearest town Te Anau Elevation achieve Average, well-graded Execs
  • Easily accessed off the Milford Street; an awesome addition to a day trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound
  • A rewarding strategy to sample the highlights of the Routeburn Monitor even in the event you aren’t mountaineering the complete Three-day Nice Stroll
  • Key Summit provides some of the perfect views of Fiordland Nationwide Park without too much time or effort
  • Fashionable and may be crowded at occasions
  • Not value doing if foggy, as there will probably be no views from the summit
Mountaineering season Yr-round, dependant on climate Huts and hut charges None Trailhead The Divide Automotive Park

Routeburn Falls Hut

South Island | Mount Aspiring Nationwide Park

Views from Routeburn Falls Hut on the Routeburn Monitor

Of all of the Great Walks, the Routeburn Monitor is greatest fitted to breaking into day-hike sections. Why? Because the surroundings is so assorted and modifications so shortly that even the shortest stroll alongside the Routeburn Monitor provides chic surroundings.

Routeburn Falls Hut is an obvious stopping level for an inexpensive day hike on the Routeburn Monitor, however it is equally worthwhile to hike to Routeburn Flats (the place the atmospheric beech forest opens up to reveal views of the encompassing mountains) or simply comply with the forest trails to take pleasure in ringing birdsong, peaceable woods, and dramatic views down into the gorge where the Routeburn River cuts by means of stone.

In the event you do stop at Routeburn Falls Hut, make sure you go to the balcony of the Nice Walks hut, which overlooks the valley under, and proceed five minutes farther up the path to see Routeburn Falls and the alpine valley past.


Trail identify on DOC website Routeburn Monitor
Distance 7.5 kilometers one approach to Routeburn Flats; 9.8 kilometers one solution to Routeburn Falls Hut
Mountaineering time 1.5-2.5 hours one approach to Routeburn Flats; 3-Four hours one strategy to Routeburn Falls Hut
Nearest city Glenorchy (simply 45 minutes from Queenstown)
Elevation achieve 500 meters to Routeburn Falls Hut, well-graded
  • Superb views, regardless of how far you hike
  • Wonderful path high quality, no mud
  • Take advantage of the shelter provided at Routeburn Falls Hut for a lunch stop if weather is poor
  • Straightforward to entry from Queenstown
  • In style and may be crowded
Mountaineering season October by way of Might, depending on climate
Huts and hut charges Routeburn Falls Hut: This can be a Great Walks Hut, which suggests in case you wish to keep the night time to break up your hike or proceed farther along the Routeburn Monitor, that you must e-book nicely prematurely. Value is NZD$130 per individual per night time for non-residents.
Trailhead Routeburn Shelter

Average New Zealand Day Hikes

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

North Island | Tongariro Nationwide Park

Tongariro Alpine Crossing day hike

Views from the very best point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing day hike

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is called one of the top day hikes on the planet, which suggests it attracts all method of hikers, together with those that are usually not fit enough to finish the 750-meter climb.

But for these prepared to courageous the crowds and the bodily challenge, the Tongariro Crossing is elegant. From twisted lava formations and moonscape-like craters to jewel-bright lakes and towering volcanic cones, the Tongariro Crossing presents some of the world’s most arresting volcanic surroundings.

In case you can someway finesse your climbing time to keep away from the crowds (when you have two automobiles and may organize your personal transport between trailheads, one choice is climbing the path in reverse and beginning in the late morning), the opposite hikers will clear away and you’ll have the raw majesty of Tongariro National Park all to your self.


You will have to rearrange a shuttle between the trailheads. The automotive parks at both ends have instated maximum parking deadlines through the summer time season (October via April), so you’ll need to both park in a single of the personal tons offered by a shuttle firm or in a single of the shuttle office places or gateway cities (Nationwide Park Village, Turangi, Taupo, and so forth.).

In case you hike in winter, you will have to e-book a guided trip, which can supply you with the required crampons, ice axes, and other gear required.


Trail identify on DOC web site Tongariro Alpine Crossing Distance 19.4 kilometers Climbing time 7-Eight hours Nearest towns Turangi, Nationwide Park Village, and Ohakune Elevation achieve 750 meters, well-graded Execs
  • Breathtaking views of the volcanic landscapes of Tongariro Nationwide Park
  • Stairs and straightforward grading mean the hefty elevation achieve is doable for many hikers
  • Convenient, low cost shuttles mean you don’t have to fret about accessing the separate trailheads
  • New Zealand’s hottest day hike; could be extraordinarily crowded
  • Views are ceaselessly restricted by fog
Mountaineering season Yr-round (it is advisable hike with a guide in winter) Huts and hut fees Mangatepopo Hut: This can be a Great Walks Hut, which suggests should you wish to stay the night time to break up your hike or continue alongside the Tongariro Northern Circuit, it’s essential e-book properly prematurely. Value is NZD$36 per adult 18+ per night time through the Nice Walks season, or NZD$15 per grownup per night time in winter. Trailheads
  • Begin: Mangatepopo Automotive Park
  • End: Ketetahi Automotive Park

Roy’s Peak

South Island


Roy’s Peak is a particularly fashionable day hike–at the prime, you’ll typically see individuals queuing for the long-lasting photograph searching over Lake Wanaka. If you want to avoid the crowds, think about climbing Isthmus Peak or Grandview Peak, each of that are situated nearby and supply comparable views with less company.


Path identify on DOC website

Ben Lomond


Bream Head Monitor

North Island

Bream Head Track on New Zealand's North Island

Climbing to the ridge on the Bream Head Monitor


Routeburn Monitor to Harris Saddle

South Island | Mount Aspiring Nationwide Park

Climbing toward Harris Saddle on the Routeburn Track

Climbing towards Harris Saddle on the Routeburn Monitor


Difficult New Zealand Day Hikes

Avalanche Peak


Wye Creek


The Greatest 2-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Straightforward 2-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Aspiring Hut

South Island | Mount Aspiring National Park

Winter hike to Aspiring Hut

Winter hike to Aspiring Hut


Pinnacles Hut


Average 2-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Mueller Hut


Copland Monitor


Brewster Monitor


Challenging 2-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Mt Brown Hut


Breast Hill Monitor

South Island

Looking over Lake Hawea and Wanaka from the Breast Hill Track

Wanting over Lake Hawea and Wanaka from the Breast Hill Monitor


Mt Owen

South Island | Kahurangi Nationwide Park

Granity Pass Hut on the Mt Owen Track

Granity Move Hut on the Mt Owen Monitor


Liverpool Hut

South Island | Mount Aspiring National Park

Liverpool Hut perched above the West Matukituki Valley

Liverpool Hut perched above the West Matukituki Valley


The Greatest Three- to 4-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Straightforward 3- to Four-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Greenstone-Caples Monitor

South Island

Greenstone Hut on the Greenstone-Caples Track

Greenstone Hut on the Greenstone-Caples Monitor


Hollyford Monitor

South Island | Fiordland Nationwide Park


Queen Charlotte Monitor

South Island

Queen Charlotte Sound from the Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Sound from the Queen Charlotte Monitor


Average 3- to 4-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Travers-Sabine Circuit

South Island | Nelson Lakes National Park

Upper Travers Hut on the Travers-Sabine Circuit

Upper Travers Hut on the Travers-Sabine Circuit


Rees-Dart Monitor


Two Thumb Monitor

South Island

Looking over Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps while hiking the Two Thumbs Track

Wanting over Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps while climbing the Two Thumb Monitor


Challenging 3- to Four-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Cascade Saddle Route


Gillaspie Cross Circuit


The Tararuas

North Island

Hiking in the Tararua Range

Climbing in the Tararua Range


The Greatest Long Hikes in New Zealand

Straightforward Long Hikes in New Zealand

There are not any really straightforward hikes longer than Four days in New Zealand. This is partly as a result of many longer hikes ultimately cross a high mountain cross, and partly as a result of the trouble of carrying more than 4 days’ value of meals adds to the challenge of any backcountry enterprise.

Average Lengthy Hikes in New Zealand

Around the Mountain Monitor at Mt Ruapehu


Hollyford-Pyke Circuit


Difficult Lengthy Hikes in New Zealand

Dusky Monitor

South Island | Fiordland Nationwide Park

Hiking the Dusky Track

Mountaineering the Dusky Monitor


Waiau Move Route

South Island | Nelson Lakes Nationwide Park

Climbing Waiau Pass

Climbing Waiau Move


Richmond Vary

South Island

Climbing Mount Rintoul while hiking in the Richmond Range

Climbing Mount Rintoul while climbing within the Richmond Range


Te Araroa Path

Both islands


Mountaineering New Zealand’s Famous Great Walks

New Zealand’s nine (quickly to be ten) Nice Walks are internationally renowned—and heavily advertised abroad. For first-time or solo backpackers, these are an ideal choice as a result of they provide well-maintained trails, great hut amenities (typically including stoves), easy-to-coordinate transportation from close by cities, gear leases for those who don’t have your personal, and guided and gear-transfer options for those wanting a more personalised or simplified expertise.

Plus, the Great Walks move by means of some of New Zealand’s most beautiful backcountry.

Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to these hikes as properly.
First, for visitors from overseas, the hut tickets are far more costly than another huts in New Zealand (typically over NZD$100 per night time, compared to NZD$15 per night time at most different backcountry huts).

Second, the preferred Nice Walks—particularly the Milford Monitor and Routeburn Monitor—ebook out months prematurely. The Milford Monitor commonly fills up inside weeks of its booking system opening for the season.

There’s a wealth of info out there about these hikes online, as well as within the handy free brochures obtainable at most i-Sites and Department of Conservation customer centers, so the under is just a temporary overview. The Nice Walks are listed so as of our private choice—from our favourite to our least favorite.

1. Routeburn Monitor

2. Kepler Monitor

3. Milford Monitor

Four. Tongariro Northern Circuit

5. Heaphy Monitor

6. Abel Tasman Coast Monitor

7. Whanganui River Journey

8. Rakiura Monitor

9. Lake Waikaremoana Monitor

Issues to know when mountaineering in New Zealand

Backcountry Huts

The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages over 900 backcountry huts throughout New Zealand (primarily on the South Island), so you gained’t have to convey a tent for the majority of these hikes.

Hut fees sometimes vary from NZD$5 (for very primary huts) to NZD$15 (for serviced huts), though some non-DOC huts reminiscent of Aspiring Hut charge upwards of NZD$30 per night time. The Nice Walk huts are far more expensive and have to be booked online. A number of other huts (especially the Welcome Flats Hut on the Copland Monitor) also must be booked on-line, or else you pay double the charge. In case you are spending a big amount of time climbing in New Zealand, a 6-month or 1-year backcountry hut cross is a worthwhile investment.

Backcountry huts present mattresses for sleeping, rest room amenities, and consuming water (both from a rainwater barrel or a nearby stream). You will want to deliver your personal sleeping bag and sometimes your personal stove and cooking utensils (plus rest room paper!).

Huts do refill at occasions, particularly in well-liked destinations, so chances are you’ll need to goal to reach early, deliver a tent simply in case, or be prepared to sleep on the ground if all bunks are taken.


Climate in New Zealand can change very quickly, and snow can happen at any time of yr—even the peak of summer time. Be ready for any circumstances with a lot of layers and rain gear. Some areas, notably Fiordland National Park and the West Coast of the South Island, obtain surprising amounts of rain in a really brief span of time, so be ready to get moist.

One major concern in New Zealand is rivers rising after rainstorms. With heavy rain in elements of the country, giant catchments feeding rivers, and steep mountain slopes, a relaxed river can shortly swell. Numerous individuals drown when making an attempt to cross rivers in New Zealand annually, so remember to apply protected methods. All the time hyperlink up with a fellow hiker if attainable to help brace towards the circulate, by no means cross a discolored or swollen river, and be prepared to show again or wait it out if the river shouldn’t be crossable. For this similar cause, deliver additional meals on any hike in New Zealand, in case flooded rivers cause delays. The Copland Monitor, Dusky Monitor, and Gillaspie Move Circuit are all recognized for trapping hikers because of flooded rivers.

Another weather-related concern in New Zealand is fog. The difficult Tararua Vary is particularly notorious for its foggy climate, which may disorient and endanger probably the most experienced hikers; even on the favored and well-signposted Tongariro Crossing, poor visibility sometimes causes hikers to lose their method. Until the trail is extremely obvious, by no means trust that you will be able to see the subsequent marker pole via the fog; a map and compass or GPS is important for climbing anyplace above treeline the place poor visibility might grow to be a hazard.

Miscellaneous ideas

Many trails in New Zealand are poorly marked, solely calmly maintained, and may be muddy, overgrown, or brutally steep. The tracks in the “Easy” category are mainly what Kiwis call “Great Walk standard”—these are well-graded, easy-to-follow trails that resemble the type of tracks you may find in Europe or the USA. Shifting into the “Moderate” category, and especially in the “Challenging” category, trails are a lot rougher than you is perhaps accustomed to. Anticipate near-vertical ascents (typically with roots out there for useful handholds), overgrown trails where you may have to do a bit of scavenging to seek out the subsequent orange marker, river crossings, and copious mud.

When selecting footwear in your New Zealand trek, take into account that you’re more likely to get moist ft most days—especially on “Moderate” or “Challenging” tracks. Typical hikers choose either lightweight, breathable, quick-dry trail runners or waterproof, high-topped boots mixed with gaiters to keep as dry as potential.