I loved New Zealand so much and mainly for it’s hiking. I spent about one month in the country and went on a hike almost every day. It is such a mountainous place and even in the cities there is always somewhere to go on at least a short hike. New Zealand, especially the south island, is a hikers dream.
Here are some of my favourite hikes.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
If visiting the north island of New Zealand this is a must. I won’t go into too much detail as I have wrote a whole post of my hike through the crossing but I will mention this hike was one of my highlights in New Zealand. It is a 19km one way day hike. It is generally flat aside from two steep climbs and I would rate it medium difficulty. Bring layers because the weather can change drastically throughout the hike and pack a lunch and water since there is nowhere to buy anything once you arrive at the hike.
The Abel Tasman trek is a coastal trek winding through beaches and across ridges on the north end of the south island in Abel Tasman National Park. The trek can be as long as you want it to be. You can do a day hike or a 3-day hike depending on how much time you have and how far you would like to reach on the trek. I had time on my side so I opted for 3 days. There are plenty of campsites along the route but tip: BOOK AHEAD. These campsites fill up especially in the high season of January and February. There are also huts, however, these book up even quicker. I took a bus from Nelson to Marahau where I began the trek all the way to Awaroa. I camped in Bark Bay and Awaroa. These campsites are a bit quieter than popular ones like Anchorage. Once you get to the end you can take a boat back to Marahau or you can trek back, but of course you will need more time for that. Abel Tasman is also popular for swimming and kayaking.
I had an interesting experience on this hike. In order to camp on the trek the campsites have to be booked in advance therefore you kind of have to commit to it rain or shine. For me, there was torrential downpours the whole first day of my trek. When I arrived to my campsite, after 5 hours of walking, it was flooded. I was a little bit frustrated and unsure of how I would spend my night. I found a shelter on the beach and waited for the rain to stop so I could potentially set up my tent on the beach instead of at the campsite. While waiting, a lady came by to see if I was ok. She ended up offering me a bed to sleep in at a cottage she was renting with her family nearby. Long story short I got to spend the evening with this family playing games and they even fed me dinner and I got to sleep in a comfy bed instead of outside in the rain. I was SO thankful. It was a negative that turned into a positive.
The remaining two days were much better. The weather cleared up and I got to go for a swim in the ocean and see the beauty of Abel Tasman National Park.
Located in Wanaka, Roys Peak is a stunning lookout just a short drive from the town centre. It wasn’t a pleasant hike but the view at the top made it worth it. The path is steep and there are no trees to block you from the sun so it can get quite hot during the day. I made the unwise decision to start the trek at noon and I regretted that. I would recommend either going for sunrise or sunset. The main reason for this hike is the views at the top. It can take about 5-6 hours round trip.
There are many hikes to do in and around Queenstown. One of my favourites was the Bob’s Peak lookout. It is about a 2 hour steady climb through a forest before reaching the top. Once up there you are greeted with a beautiful view of Queenstown. Alternatively, If you don’t want to hike up but still want to enjoy the views of Queenstown you can take the ski lift.
A few other hikes I enjoyed in Queenstown were Queenstown Hill and The Frankton Track. The Frankton Track is not necessarily a hike but a walk. Queenstown really is breathtakingly beautiful and there’s no better way to see it than to take a walk and experience it first hand. The Frankton Track is great because it is flat and it takes you around the lakes with beautiful views of the mountains the whole way. It is also a great track for cycling or jogging.
Mount Cook was my second last stop in New Zealand. It is a tiny village surrounded by mountains. The town is so small that it doesn’t even have a supermarket so pack food before you go. My favourite thing about Mount Cook is how peaceful and serene it is. I loved that all the trails were just a short walking distance from my hostel. I spent three days there which for me was a great amount of time.
On Day 1 I hiked to Kea Point. It is one of the shorter walks and offers great views of Mount Sefton, Mueller Lake, and Mount Cook. It is one of the easiest trails in Mount Cook National Park that offers beautiful mountain and lake views.
Another trail I enjoyed was the Hooker Valley trail. This is one of the most popular day hikes in Mount Cook. it is 5km long and has a mixture of gravel and wooden paths. It is more of a walk than a hike which makes it great for people of all fitness levels. I started this trek early in the morning in order to avoid the crowds. It took be about 3hrs round trip and there are plenty of photo stops long the way.
There are SO many hikes to do in the south island of New Zealand. These are some of my favourite and I would love to go back one day to experience more.