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Whatever location you’re in within New Zealand you are most likely to be on the perfect hiking path this is the reason why NZ hiking trips are highly popular. The New Zealand’s South Island has multiple national forests along with numerous nature reserves which provide the perfect opportunity for those looking to take an enjoyable hiking experience. Visit your local office of the DOC office to pick up maps, and then browse the routes for suggestions.

South Island’s west coast offers some of the best New Zealand hiking trails

Fiordland national park

Are you looking for the top routes within Fiordland National Park for an adventure-filled hike or family excursion? AllTrails offers 101 of the best trails for walking, hiking and backpacking, as well as other activities. Explore hand-picked trail maps together with reviews and images from nature enthusiasts like you. Are you ready for your next bike or hike? Discover one of the 22 hikes within Fiordland National Park that are perfect for all ages. Are you looking for a more challenging trail? We’ve got it covered, with trails that range from 5 to 3,788 m with elevation gains. Whatever you plan for your day, we’ll help you discover the ideal trail to take you on your next adventure towards Fiordland National Park.

Hooker valley track

Explore this 10.6-km out-and-back trail close to Mount Cook Village, Canterbury and possibly one of the best South Island hikes. This is usually regarded as a simple route and is estimated to take 2 hours and 32 minutes to complete. This is a very well-known place for camping, hiking and walking, which means there’s a chance that you’ll meet other hikers when you’re exploring Hooker lake. The most ideal times to visit the trail is from October to April. It is recommended to leave your pups at home, as dogs are not allowed on this trail.

Routeburn Falls

Beginning your journey in Queenstown you’ll travel through the tiny village that is Glenorchy until you get to the Routeburn Track trailhead. Routeburn Falls is a long hike. Routeburn Falls hike is 8.8 km (5.5 miles) per way for the round trip hike takes between 6-8 minutes to accomplish.

The trek to Routeburn Falls is a walk through the lush beech forests, across the vast open spaces in the Routeburn Flats and finally up to the magnificent Routeburn Falls Cascade. This is one of the most straightforward and flat areas on the Routeburn track If you’re worried about your ability to hike in the selection of your hikes for the day it is the perfect option for you.

The Routeburn Track can be walked at both ends. Routeburn Track is possible all throughout the year, however it is winter that brings the snow levels lower and makes certain passes difficult. It is also essential to purchase tickets to the hut in advance of time, as they often sell out. Make sure you check the warnings about trails in the DoC website prior to your departure If you’re on an organized tour, they’ll handle all the logistics, and only go hiking in safe conditions.

Kepler Track day hikes

If you are looking for hikes in South Island, A two-hour drive to the south of Queenstown will take you to a town known as Te Anau, which is the most frequent stop-over point along the way up to Milford Sound, and the gateway to the Kepler Track. Kepler Track Kepler Track is among the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand and is renowned for its sweeping alpine ridgeline trails as well as dense beech forests.

Hiking trail - New Zealand
Hiking trail – New Zealand

The entire loop is a 60-kilometre (37 miles) loop that begins and ends with the Control Gates on Lake Te Anau It typically takes 3-4 hours to walk. If you’re looking for an option for a day hike you can go around clockwise starting from Control Gates for a one-way hike to Rainbow Reach (where you’ll require transportation back towards your car) or take a reverse route for an out-and-back trail up to Brod Bay. The route up to Rainbow Reach is around 3 km (1.9 miles) per way, while the trek towards Brod Bay is slightly longer. You’ll need to plan for 2.5 hours for these hikes.

Kepler Track Kepler Track Epic 3-Day South Island Hike

Another amazing trek in the country can be described as the Kepler tracks, which are two-day hike that begins at Tsha Kaa. They begin from Te Aau. Kepler Track is a loop track that means it’s not required to walk across Te Anau. Kepler Track Kepler is a spectacular beautiful walk that runs through the south-west of New Zealand. It’s a significant source of freshwater through Australian Lake Te Anau. The track is a swath of forests and then to plains of tussock, which give views to the whole area. The most effective method to clear of the path is to continue following it in the opposite direction every three days.

Roy’s Peak

I’m going to go with this hike is the Roy Peak Track. There are other hiking trails near the summit, however Roy’s Peak is on the toughest side of South Island bucketlist. Don’t mislead people about Roys Peak being a difficult climb. The trail begins near Wanaka and is comprised of eight kilometre (5 miles) of uphill , with an elevation climb to 1,300m (4,265 inches). The entire climb to the summit can take 3 hours to complete. Once you are at the top, the views disappear. You can look out over Lake Wanaka and nearby mountains. There are instances where we get cloudy skies and it’s great!

Moke Lake Loop

Moke Lake New Zealand is a tiny mountain lake situated in the suburb of Closeburn close to Queenstown. While it is one stone’s throw away from the bustling hub of adrenaline, Moke Lake is a quieter and less crowded nature trail.

Even though it’s only a short loop hike as well as the lake’s viewpoint hill and a lake viewpoint hill, a trip towards Moke Lake is a good idea, especially if are camping with an RV. It’s since Moke Lake has one of the most popular DOC camping spots near Queenstown. If camping and hiking are part of your Queenstown schedule, don’t overlook Moke Lake.

Rob Roy Glacier Track

Trails The Rob Roy Glacier Trails Track Head: Raspberry Flat Carpark Base Town: Wanaka. Hikes length: 10km/6.4mile. The elevation of the hike is at 410m. Duration: 3 hours. The region is home to an extensive variety of trails for hiking. One of they is called Rob Roy Glacier Track. Rob Roy Glacier Track. When you go on these hikes, the most memorable thing is seeing the ice close to. But before you can spot this glacial line, the ridge must be carefully observed.

Queenstown Hill

The name of the trail: Queenstown Hill Trail head name: Belfast Terrace / Queenstown Hill Walking Trail. My most favorite spot is located at the top of Queen Street Hill. While the elevation gain might be tiny, it’s an easier climb compared to more difficult climbs. The best part about the hike is that it’s possible to begin right from the village. Start by walking to the trailhead and then follow the trails that wind through the forest. From here, you are able to walk.

Earnslaw Burn Track

Earnslaw Burn Trail is an amazing free activity in the vicinity of Glenorchy. The trails aren’t widely known however they should be. Earnslaw Burn tracks begin with an upward trek through the forests that are part of New Zealand beach forests before climbing to higher elevations. It’s recommended to for hikers to walk for 10 days in order to get to the backcountry. Many prefer camping in tents near the glacier. The campsite is beautiful to camp in.

Bob’s Cove Track

Bob’s Cove is a stunning beach located in Lake Wakatipu only 15 minutes from Queensville. Although it is stunning from the shore, you need to walk Bobs Cove Road to Picnic Point to take in breathtaking views. Bobs Cove tracks is a quick walk that will take only 30 minutes. The trail offers stunning view of Queenstown. You could see that image? It’s a lengthy way to travel but it’s not in the town’s core. Watch out for sunsets as well as sunrise, and take amazing views!

Abel Tasman Coastal Track day hikes

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand It meanders through the famous Abel Tasman National Park. The whole trail measures 60 km (37 miles) from beginning to end (an A-to-B hike) and generally takes four nights and five days in order to finish. However, if you’re limited on time, but would like to visit the park, there are a variety of wonderful day hikes that you can choose from.

One of the most popular options for locals is to have a drop by Bark Bay, and then hike all the way back Marahau. The hike starts at Marahau which is where you’ll get an water shuttle (or the sea kayak) to the park. The first part of the hike is to Bark Bay up to Anchorage around 11.5 km (7 miles) and takes about 4 hours. From there, follow the huge orange triangle trail marker close to the DoC hut, from where the trail that leads to Marahau starts. The second section between Anchorage up to Marahau is approximately 12.4 kilometers (7.7 miles) and takes just more than four hours.

As you travel, you’ll make along the coast you’ll be able to access the most gorgeous golden sandy beaches, lush rainforests and desert-like indigenous Manuka forest.

Cape Foulwind day hike

Westport is a well-known town to visit for anyone traveling to this part of the wild West Coast from Nelson or Christchurch. The town is situated 16 kilometers (10 miles) south-west of Westport is the trailhead for the spectacular Cape Foulwind walk. It’s not a lengthy walk it’s 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles) one way, which takes you towards Cape Foulwind. Cape Foulwind lighthouse and seal colony. Along the way , expect to observe wild seas, stunning mountains, New Zealand fur seal as well as the old lighthouse.

3. Inland Pack Track – Punakaiki

The town is situated 56 kilometers (34.8 miles) south of Westport The coastal city of Punakaiki is known for its rock formations that resemble pancakes. But what people aren’t aware of is that it’s also the home of the most stunning day hiking trails.

Starting at 800m (0.5 millimeters) north of the Punakaiki Visitors Centre The Inland Pack Track is 25 km (15.5 miles) per way Most hikers opt to take two or three days to walk it the entirety. If you’re looking for an amazing single-day trek, you can start from the Waikori Road’s end and within about an hour you’ll be at an intersection that connects the Pororari River Track. From here, turn left to continue following the River Track across the bank of the Pororari River, back to the Punakaiki Camp Ground. From there, you can walk back to the roadside path until you reach the Visitor Centre.

These trails take you in Westland National Park, journeying through the temperate rainforest and limestone canyons. You’ll follow the trail of gold-miners who created this trail more than 100 years ago.

Franz Joseph Glacier day hikes day hikes Roberts Point and Alex Knob tracks

It is believed that the Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers are among the most well-known attractions along the West Coast of New Zealand. For those who travel between north and south on the West Coast, the Franz Joseph Glacier is the first glacier you encounter. To get to the glacier, take SH6 south of the main township , and make a left after crossing that long Waiho crossing over Waiho River. When the road ends, you’ll be able to park your car as well as you’ll find that the Franz Valley Track begins at this point. For a bit more hiking and breathtaking views of the glaciers (away from the tourist crowds) it is worth considering taking through the Roberts Point Track, or Alex Knob track.

To reach this part of the Roberts Point Track, you’ll start in the Alex Knob / Lake wombat vehicle park (halfway to and the SH6 intersection with the Franz Valley Track road end) and then walk towards the right-hand portion of the valley. You’ll be hiking through the lush rainforest before crossing the bridge that is used for foot crossings across the Waiho River. This 12 km (7.5 mile) return trail opens for smooth outcrops of rock as well as stunning panoramas of waterfalls and mountains.

As you’d expectfrom the name, you’ll find that the Alex Knob Track starts from the Alex Knob Carpark, and it leads to the left portion of the valley. The 17.2 km (10.7 mile) trail typically takes about eight hours to complete the entire length. It is steep and has technical sections, and is suggested for hikers with experience. The trail takes you through stunning forest, which then opens up to wide countryside of tussocks with views of the granite mountain peaks that surround it. At the summit of the trail, you’ll find an air table that will guide you through the natural landscape.

Fox Glacier – Lake Matheson Loop Track

After you’ve fulfilled your craving for glaciers in Franz Joseph, you’ll carry forward South along SH6 until you reach Fox, a town that’s known as Fox. When you reach the town to Fox, turn left into the town’s centre, and follow the signs for Lake Matheson. Lake Matheson hike. There’s an incredible cafe and visitor centre as well as a quick 2.6 km (1.6 mile) hike through lush forest. The path is smooth and well-maintained, and the most memorable thing is the tranquil views of Mount Tasman and Mt Cook/Aoraki in the serene lake Matheson. Be sure to have enough space on your camera as it’s a moody scene and stunning to photograph.

Routeburn Track single day hikes

The Routeburn Track is one of the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand. The 32-kilometer (19.9 mile) A-B trail usually takes 2 days, 2 nights to complete. If you’re looking for one-day hiking opportunities You can drive to the other the end of the trail and then hike the stunning sections.

If you’re traveling towards Milford Sound, you’ll pass the town of Te Anau. At 85 kilometres (53 miles) further to Milford Sound you’ll reach The Divide and that’s where The Key Summit hike begins. The most famous section in Routeburn Trail Routeburn Track is a 3.4 km (2.1 mile) trek that takes about three minutes to finish. The trail winds through Jurassic beech forest and shrubs until you cross the treeline. This is when the trail begins to open up to the rugged tussock mountain. Make sure you have your camera ready when you approach Key Summit – the mountain Tarns and the surrounding snow-capped peaks are stunning!

New Zealand hiking FAQs

Which is the best time of year to hike through New Zealand?

The ideal time to go on a hike during winter in New Zealand depends on personal preferences and the region you are in, since New Zealand is a tropical maritime climate that has four seasons. The months from December to February are the hottest months, which is why they are perfect for hiking in North Island. March to May is the best time to go hiking in across the South Island, with clear dry days, cool evenings and cool temperatures. Between June and August is the winter season that could bring colder temperatures and snow to the mountains, making it ideal for skiers and those who are comfortable hiking. September to November is the ideal time to hike because of cooler temperatures and less people.

Which are the most well-known long-distance walks?

The most well-known multi day hikes are described in”the Great Walks. Nine Great Walks are total, each of which offers the most unique and stunning outdoor experience , making it among the top South Island hikes. The Great Walks are situated all over the country, beginning at the northern part of the Tongariro Circuit which is located in North Island to the Routeburn Track in the South Island. Each walk is well-maintained and has a variety of spectacular views, including rivers, forests, lakes and mountains. The Great Walks are among of the country’s best popular trails, and they can be enjoyed by any level of hiker.

What’s the significance of the word “hike” inside New Zealand?

In New Zealand, hikes are described as “tracks” and “walks.” The word “track” is used to describe an “track” generally, an established route, whereas”walks” are more informal. A “walk” can be a more informal trails or tracks. New Zealand is home to many trails and tracks that vary from short walks to long hikes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a seasoned hiker, or just starting your journey, there are plenty of options to experience the country’s stunning landscapes on foot.

The most-popular way to travel South Island New Zealand?

One of the most thrilling tracks you can go through to enjoy in South Island New Zealand is depending on the individual’s preferences. Each track is distinctive and provides a variety of experiences as well as amazing views. The most well-known and stunning tracks within South Island include the Milford Track and the Abel Tasman Coast Track, the Heaphy Track and Kepler Track. Kepler Track. The Milford Track is famous for its breathtaking scenery and demanding hiking trails. Abel Tasman Coast Track is popular for its golden beaches of sand and clear, crystal-clear waters.

What is the difference between hiking and tramping?

The most important distinction between hiking and tramping is the duration of the trip and the type of equipment and equipment that is transported. It is generally short-term, an excursion lasting a day, while tramping is an extended endeavor which involves long days or even more in the woods, and staying in a tent for the night and carrying a backpack with all the gear required. Tramping is usually done in remote areas that require more preparation and knowledge than day treks.