Discover some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery and spectacular natural wonders within our 13 National Parks.
The National Parks around New Zealand protect our most famous natural landscapes and attractions such as Milford Sound, the Franz Josef Glacier and central North Island volcanoes, as well as unique flora and fauna.
They cover more than 30,000 square kilometres of stunning coastline, mountain ranges, volcanic features, beaches, native forest and waterways and can be explored on foot, by car, by boat, by air and one even by train.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in New Zealand’s National Parks, with a varied range of family-friendly short walks on easy tracks, longer hikes, boat trips, and multi-day adventures with overnight stays in remote wilderness. Nine of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks lie within our National Parks.
National Parks in the North Island
Tongariro – Centred on three volcanoes (Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngāuruhoe), this National Park holds dual UNESCO World Heritage status for its natural wonders and cultural importance to Māori. It includes the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing walk and the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
Whanganui – The majestic Whanganui River offers an unforgettable paddling adventure. There are huts and campsites along the way, with an overnight stay at Tieke marae a highlight. There are also tramping tracks through wild lowland forests.
Egmont – The 2,518m high volcanic peak of Mount Taranaki (also known as Mt Egmont) is a challenging day climb with the reward of spectacular views. There are extensive walking tracks through rainforest and sub-alpine areas in the surrounding area.
National Parks in the South Island
Abel Tasman – Known as the finest coastal walk in the country, you’ll find golden sand beaches edged with sculptured granite cliffs covered in lush native forest. It includes the Abel Tasman Coast Track Great Walk.
Kahurangi – Covering the West Coast at the top of the South Island, Kahurangi includes the Heaphy Track, the longest of the country’s Great Walks.
Nelson Lakes – This Park protects the northern-most Southern Alps and offers tracks through tranquil beech forest, mountain hikes and plenty of lakeside walks.
Paparoa – A place full of geological wonders, like the Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Dolomite Point near the settlement of Punakaiki.
Arthur's Pass – A park of contrasts, with dry beech/tawhai forest in the east and luxuriant rainforest on its western slopes. The TranzAlpine train journey traverses Arthur’s Pass National Park.
Westland Tai Poutini – This is glacier country and the place to see the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. The Park stretches from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps to the rugged and remote beaches of the wild West Coast.
Aoraki/Mount Cook – New Zealand's great alpine park is home to the country’s highest mountain, largest glacier, and exceptional stargazing as it’s part of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
Mount Aspiring – Straddling the southern end of the Southern Alps, this is a walker's paradise and a must for keen mountaineers. The three largest of 100 glaciers in the region flank Mount Aspiring itself.
Fiordland – One of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere with the Kepler, Milford and Routeburn tracks and the famed Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
Rakiura National Park – New Zealand’s third main island (Rakiura/Stewart Island) is where you’ll find pristine beaches, sheltered inlets and coastal forest, and see seals, penguins, kiwi, weka and other wildlife. The National Park covers about 85% of the island.
Highlights of New Zealand's national parks
Best coastal walk: Abel Tasman National Park
Volcanoes: Tongariro National Park
Best river journey: Whanganui National Park
Most achievable mountain walk: Taranaki National Park
Highest mountain: Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Giant snails and geological wonders: Kahurangi National Park
See it by train: Arthur’s Pass National Park
Easy lakeside walks: Nelson Lakes National Park
Pancake rocks and blowholes: Paparoa National Park
Stunning natural pools: Mount Aspiring National Park (Blue Pools, Wanaka)
Glacier encounters: Westland Tai Poutini National Park
Fabulous fiords: Fiordland National Park
Best chance of kiwi spotting: Rakiura National Park