Great Walks of New Zealand

Most, if not all of New Zealand’s walking tracks and trails are great. But there’s only a select few that hold the coveted title of being the best!

1. Lake Waikaremoana, North Island

Located on the East Coast of the North Island in the Te Urewera area, this Great Walk follows the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana, the ‘sea of rippling waters’. The track passes through ancient podocarp forests and wetlands teeming with life.

2. Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island

Hikers enjoy sweeping views across the central North Island and really appreciate the track’s diversity, with alpine fields and forests on one side and desolate plateau on the other.


On our Sweet North trip, we hike the 19.4km (12 miles) Tongariro Crossing, taking our time to soak up the views and appreciate the incredible landscape. Traversing a land of extremes, it’s a walk you’re not likely to forget in a hurry!

3. Whanganui Journey, North Island

There might some confusion here, as this Great Walk is a river journey as opposed to a hike! Located on the North Island, this journey follows the Whanganui River through a landscape of farmland, remote hills and bush-clad valleys.

There’s a chance to stretch your legs with a short walk on the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ track that, as the name suggests, leads you to an eerie abandoned bridge.

4. Abel Tasman Coast Track, South Island

Situated in the breathtakingly beautiful Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island, this track really does have it all! Golden sand beaches, secluded bays, crystal clear swimming holes, native coastal bush and to top it off, it’s located in the sunniest place in New Zealand.

One of the track’s many impressive features is the 47-metre long swing suspension bridge that takes you over the rushing Falls River – do look down!

5. Heaphy Track, South Island

You’ll hike through tussock country, wetland and lush forest as you make your way down to the wild West Coast. You’ll also pass the surging waters of the Heaphy River as it meets the ocean - an exhilarating sight!

We explore both the Nelson area and the West Coast on our World Heritage, Masterpiece and Kiwi Classic trips and it’s a great chance to experience the landscape that the Heaphy Track passes through.

6. Routeburn Track, South Island

Located in beautiful Otago and Fiordland, this track offers the ultimate alpine adventure with incredible mountain views, native forests and waterfalls at each turn in the path.

The Routeburn is one of our favourite Great Walks and we hike sections of it on all four of our South Island trips.

7. Kepler Track, South Island

Traversing through Fiordland National Park, the Kepler Track winds its way through New Zealand’s pristine wilderness. The Kepler Track showcases the best of Fiordland and, unlike many of New Zealand’s walks, was custom-built to make the most of the landscape.

8. Milford Track, South Island

Perhaps our most famous Great Walk, the Milford Track is the jewel in Fiordland’s hiking crown. Beginning with a boat cruise to the head of Lake Te Anau and finishing at Sandfly Point in Milford Sound.

We completely understand the fascination with the Milford Track and so we’ve included the chance to hike a section of it on our outstanding World Heritage trip.

9. Rakiura Track, Stewart Island

Located just off the coast at the bottom of the South Island, Stewart Island is a relaxed and peaceful spot home to a myriad of native birds including our shy national emblem, the kiwi.

It’s also where you’ll find the Rakiura Track, which follows the coastline past wilderness beaches and meanders inland through native forest.

10. Paparoa Track and Pike29 Memorial Track, South Island (Opening in 2019)

New Zealand’s latest addition to the Great Walks stable is in Paparoa National Park on the South Island’s West Coast. It’s due to open to hikers in 2019 and will also be open to mountain bikers, taking 1-2 days to ride.

Home to Jurassic-looking limestone landscapes and sub-tropical rainforest, the track crosses the Paparoa Range leading to the site of the former Pike River Mine.

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