10 Stunning Hiking Trails And Great Walks For Your Next Trip To New Zealand – Travel + Leisure | Gmx Pharm

The natural beauty of New Zealand is unparalleled. With its majestic mountains, lush rainforests, pristine lakes and beaches, it’s a place where Mother Nature is truly at her best. Do you want to experience everything? Then it’s time for one of the country’s Great Walks.

Whether you want to unleash your inner athlete or immerse yourself in one of the world’s most remarkable natural landscapes, you can explore New Zealand at leisure and at your own pace. Here are some of New Zealand’s most beautiful hikes to keep in mind when you’re ready to embark on an adventure on foot.

The Milford Track

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“The Lord of the Rings” often comes up when I mention that I’m from New Zealand. People are enchanted by the landscape. “Does it really look like it?” They ask. The answer is yes, on the Milford Track (where filming took place) it does.

Arguably the country’s most famous hike, it has been a popular hiker for over 150 years, with fans including Sir Edmund Hillary. Located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Milford Track has been dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world” for good reason.

The 33-mile trail begins at Lake Te Anau, travels through Fiordland National Park and arrives at spectacular Milford Sound (that is, four days later). The scene looks like it was painted by Monet. There are majestic snow-capped mountains, ancient rainforests, the country’s tallest waterfall and sapphire-blue waters completely unobstructed by man-made roads. Both novice and experienced hikers can enjoy the trail, although it’s not recommended for children under the age of 10.

Abel Tasman Coast Track

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With its golden beaches, lush native bush and azure lagoons, the Abel Tasman is considered New Zealand’s finest coastal walk.

It is on the north coast of the South Island, where the climate is mild and the landscapes idyllic. Unlike many other hiking trails, it is easily accessible and many tour operators offer options to experience it depending on your desired duration and ability. Visitors can choose from a multi-day lodge-based hike, a full-day excursion, a half-day excursion, or even a mere 30-minute tour by water taxi between sites.

Some visitors combine hiking with guided kayaking or a cruise. If you choose to walk the entire hike, it’s estimated to take five days and is 32 miles long. The route has little elevation change, making it suitable for families with small children and people with limited fitness.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

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You might be convinced you’ve landed on another planet at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, surrounded by moon-like red craters, emerald lakes and thermal springs. The otherworldly volcanic landscape is what makes the trek so unique, attracting over 125,000 visitors each year (in non-pandemic times).

The track is located in Tongariro National Park, a double UNESCO World Heritage Site. A moderate level of mobility is required as it is an arduous hike that takes a full day (about eight hours). Visitors can hike it either way, but most people start in the Mangatepopo Valley, starting at 1,120 meters and climbing to the summit at 1,868 meters. The views are spectacular once you reach the summit, stretching out over Ngauruhoe, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki in the distance. It’s an active crater, so it’s important to visit GeoNet before embarking on the crossing to learn about volcanic activity.

Rangitoto Summit Trail

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Rangitoto is one of Auckland’s most recognizable landmarks and is often the subject of paintings and local landscape photography. The largest of the city’s 48 dormant volcanoes, it sits in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf and offers 360-degree panoramic views from the Waitakere Ranges in the west to the Hunua Ranges in the east. It is also home to the world’s largest Pōhutukawa forest (the magnificent trees with purple flowers) and is a haven for endangered native birds.

Visitors can take a ferry from downtown Auckland or Devonport (which takes just over 20 minutes) to get there, or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, kayak across from Takapuna Beach. Once at Rangitoto Wharf, travelers can embark on a well-maintained trail with a gradual incline that is 7km long and takes a maximum of two hours. Note: There are no toilets or running water on the island, so prepare before disembarking the ferry.

Roy’s Peak

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Before the pandemic, Roy’s Peak drew so many visitors that there were often lines to get the classic top-of-the-mountain money shot. In fact, there are now 73,000 posts with the hashtag #royspeak on Instagram.

Couples have been known to fly in by helicopter for wedding photos, but planning to hike to the summit requires a high level of fitness, and in winter, hikers must be equipped with an ice ax and crampons.

The hike begins at the Roy’s Peak Track parking lot on Mount Aspiring Road. However, parking is limited, so it’s recommended to travel to the trailhead by public transport or by bike (biking beforehand sounds like an Olympic event, but it’s an easy 25-minute bike ride from downtown Wanaka). The route passes through 10 miles of untamed alpine meadows and climbs to 1578 meters for surreal views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring. It’s closed for ‘lambs’ from October to November 10 each year, and even in the summer it can get chilly, so remember to pack a proper jacket.

Hike to the top of Mount Maunganui

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Climbing the summit of “The Mount,” as locals call it, is a bit like reaching the top of Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, often documented with an Instagram post to show off the gleaming view . That’s probably because it only takes about 40 minutes and there are two panoramic trails with shapely staircases that lead to the 232-meter summit.

There are picnic tables upstairs so you can take a break and enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean, white sand shore and bay on the other side. When you’re done, swim at the beach below and enjoy the leisurely pace of life at the classic Kiwi summer playground.

Routeburn track

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Deep in the Southern Alps is the Routeburn Track, which connects Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park.

The route is known for its incredible natural scenery of waterfalls, moss-covered forests, towering mountain peaks and crystal-clear lakes. The hike takes two to four days and can be done in either direction; There is one end of the route at Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy where the prestigious Blanket Bay Resort is located) and the other at The Divide near Te Anau. It requires a decent level of fitness as it is steep and hilly, reaching 1,255 meters above sea level at its highest point. There is a high risk of avalanches between May and September, so it is best to visit New Zealand during the summer months (ideally between November and March).

Hooker Valley Track

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The Hooker Valley Track is an excellent day hike for people of all ages and abilities. The alpine terrain is mostly flat and the trail is well groomed, with boardwalks to protect the fragile ecosystem.

The route is located in Mount Cook National Park in Canterbury, home to New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki-Mount Cook, which is 3724 meters high. The hike takes three hours and is 6.2 miles long, crossing three swing bridges from which you can see incredible glaciers, lakes and towering mountain ranges. Visitors will find wildflowers dotted across the valley floor in summer, providing a stunning photo opportunity. The route has been designed for avalanche safety, so avoid going off the designated path.

Rakiura track

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Located at the southernmost point of New Zealand, the Rakiura Track is a leisurely hike in a peaceful natural setting teeming with beaches, bushes and birds. On the hike, visitors may even catch a glimpse of a kiwi (New Zealand’s national symbol).

The 20-mile loop takes three days and is accessible by a one-hour ferry from Bluff or a 30-minute flight from Invercargill. As with the Abel Tasman, parts of the trek can be covered by water taxi. A popular option is to take a Rakiura Charters water taxi to Port William Wharf and walk to Lee Bay, which takes four hours and passes the former sawmill settlement of Maori Beach. From there you can continue along the road or take a taxi back to Halfmoon Bay.

Lake Waikaremoana Track

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Lush rainforests, rivers, waterfalls and haunted misty valleys are just a few of the things guests can expect on the Lake Waikaremoana Track. It has the largest area of ​​native forest in the North Island and is home to nearly all native bird species and offers a glimpse of the bird culture that once thrived in New Zealand.

The hike mainly follows the shores of the lake and is 28.5 miles long and takes 3 to 4 days to complete. There are also shorter hikes and the opportunity to set out on the lake and explore the lake by kayak or canoe.

Arrival to New Zealand

New Zealand will open to travelers from visa waiver countries on May 1st. Flight information is available at airnewzealand.co.nz.

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