11 Beautiful Hikes To Experience In New Zealand
Did you know New Zealand has officially been named the second most peaceful country on the planet? We think that’s a pretty big deal. And one way to find that peace is to get close to nature on a hiking adventure.
Hiking might not be for everyone but hiking in New Zealand is an awe-inspiring experience that’s totally worth it – even if it’s just for the views and inhaling some of the freshest air on the planet.
Not only that, but you’ll have the opportunity to find presence in nature, explore remote areas of natural wilderness, and get your heart pumping and endorphins flowing.
What’s not to love?
If you’re already frothing for the adventure of hiking in New Zealand, read on. Here are 11 of the best hikes in New Zealand; from short walks to long hikes, these hikes are sure to have you living out your favourite John Muir and Jack Kerouac quotes IRL.
#1 Tongariro Crossing
Most commonly hiked in a day, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks that will see you traversing Tongariro National Park, past the foot of an active volcano, Mount Ruapehu, with views of Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom to LOTR fans).
Expect to walk for 7-8 hours in summer months and 9 hours in winter months. It might be a long day, but it’s well worth it!
#2 Franz Josef Glacier Walk
Crampons at the ready, it’s time to go ice hiking. Jumping shots optional (but not recommended). Franz Josef Glacier offers the unique opportunity to enjoy a glacial environment and landscape but in a temperate climate.
#3 Abel Tasman
Another of New Zealand’s Great Walks, Abel Tasman boasts some of New Zealand’s best beaches. We’re talking turquoise waters and golden sands, and you’ll certainly see why as you walk through lush New Zealand forest before emerging to set foot on idyllic beaches.
#4 Mauao (aka The Mount)
This is a leisurely 1-hour hike (uphill…) located in the coastal town Mount Maunganui. You’ll be able to enjoy beautiful vistas of the sea-scapes and island-scapes that surround Mauao including the wild Matakana island – which remains indigenous land – all while keeping your eyes peeled for sea life and surfers!
#5 Hooker Valley
Take in views of New Zealand’s highest peak Mount Cook, see the world’s largest buttercup and watch avalanches crash onto the Mueller Glacier in the distance. The hike is a 3-hour round trip and fairly flat, offering opportunity aplenty to photograph the dramatic natural landscape of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
#6 Ben Lomond
This New Zealand walk is a 6-8 hour return day hike and will see you reaching dizzying heights of 1,748m at Ben Lomond summer for epic views over Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables and Queenstown among other recognisable landmarks. A shorter – 3-4 hour – walk takes you half-way up the mountain to the Saddle where you’ll still experience great views.
#7 The Redwoods
There are a variety of short walks to choose from in Rotorua’s Redwood forest; navigate these friendly giants on easy trails or climb up high and experience them face-to-face on a tree-top walk. We recommend making a human chain with your fellow Wild Kiwi gang if you feel the need to tree hug one of these bad boys!
#8 Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Blowout the cobwebs and soak up sea air as you hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. On this walk, that can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours – you’ll have the unique opportunity to take in this beautiful coastline by foot, pass by historic sacred sites and observe seabirds and seals.
#9 Te Waihou Walkway (Blue Springs)
Wind through wetlands, rolling pasture and native bush on this 3-hour return hike to see the Blue Springs. These pristine spring-fed waters are not for swimming but they are definitely worth the views, photo ops and fresh air in exchange for the short hike there.
#10 Blue Pools
Located just outside Wanaka, the Blue Pools walk is one of the best short hikes in New Zealand. It will take you approximately 1-hour return. The deep, crystal clear Blue Pools which flow into the Makarora River offer a moment to clock out and find some zen before returning
#11 Lake Matheson
There are a couple of options for this walk, from 40 minutes return to 1.5 hours return. And, although the hike to Lake Matheson might be short, there’s no compromise on the views once you reach the lake itself. Nestled among ancient forest, the still waters of the lake offer mirrored views of the almighty Aoraki/Mount Cook.