New Zealand is an adventure seeker’s dream. The country offers everything. Boat life, beaches, Heli-hiking into glaciers, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, mountain biking you name it. Another activity the country is famous for is its plethora of “tramping” or hiking trails. Here is a list of 5 must-see day hikes in beautiful New Zealand.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Know as one of the greatest day hikes in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is just over 20 km one way and takes you through the volcanic land of the North Island or Mordor for Lord of the Ring fans. Mt. Ngauruhoe is a site to see on this trek and doubles as Mt. Doom. Booking a shuttle with a tour company from a nearby town is recommended. And bring layers! You will go through about 3 microclimates during this amazing journey.
Located along the coast on the north side of the South Island, Abel Tasman is a tropical paradise full of golden sandy beaches and marine life. There are a few different ways you can enjoy this beautiful park. You can explore the shoreline via kayak, boat or on foot. For the day hike option, you can hire a water taxi or book with a tour group to take you up the coast and you walk back. I stayed in Nelson when I hiked through Abel Tasman. I took a bus to Kaiteriteri and hopped on the water taxi from there. Just don’t do what I did and miss your water taxi on the way back!
Hooker Valley Track
This out and back trek is one of the most popular hikes in the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park. The trail is 5km long one way and will take you across swinging bridges, by roaring glacier rivers and to Hooker Valley Lake which offers a picturesque view of Mt. Cook – the tallest peak in New Zealand. The walk from the town center to the trailhead can add about 40 mins to your hike, but you might be able to stick out your thumb and catch a ride there, or someone might just pull over like they did for me. This is one of my favorite hikes on this list and for good reasons. The views are unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Probably the hike you’ve seen the most on Instagram, Roy’s Peak is a steep 16 km trek. The trailhead is about 3km away from the city center, but with the popularity of the hike, you’re bound to find someone driving your way that can give you a ride. The start of the hike goes through a sheep farm, but if you’ve spent any time in New Zealand, you already know there are sheep everywhere. You’ll wind up the mountain for a picture-perfect view of the glacier-carved Lake Wanaka. The hike is fully exposed, so bring appropriate cover, sunscreen and water.
Located in the small coastal town of Kaikoura, the Peninsula Walkway is almost 12 km long and takes you along the scenic peninsula. Here you can get up close and personal with a seal colony, see whales and dolphins from the shoreline, and take in some of the best views on the South Island. This walk is easily accessible from the city center and the perfect way to explore an incredible coastline.
You really can’t go wrong with any day hike in New Zealand, but if you find yourself there and looking for a hike, these 5 are a great place to start! Now I want to hear from you, where is your favorite country to hike? Tell me in the comments below! I’m always looking for new destinations to explore!
Until next time…..