In addition to the Great Walks, New Zealand has a wealth of shorter day trails and hikes. Here's some of the South Island's top day walks.
Length: 10km, 5 hours return
Location: Kahurangi National Park
The Mount Robert Circuit(opens in new window) is a loop track around the northern face of Mount Robert with spectacular views over Lake Rotoiti. Enjoy native forest that gives way to alpine herbs as you hike through Kahurangi National Park, an ancient wilderness area home to some of the oldest rocks, strangest plants and rarest birds in the country.
Length: 500m, 3 hours return
Difficulty: Medium difficulty, challenging incline
Location: Starts from Belfast Street.
This climb through pine forest behind Queenstown is well-rewarded by spectacular, 360-degree views of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables Range and beyond. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the top before you head back down. The start of the track is easily accessed from Queenstown.
Length 2.6km, 1 hour return
Location: Fox Glacier, after Fox River bridge
Experience ancient glaciers close-up on this unusual, fascinating walk. As you adventure further up the valley, views become more spectacular, revealing Fox Glacier’s horizontal ice scars and the surrounding steep valley rock faces. This track closes sometimes due to ice collapse, flooding or rock fall, so be vigilant.
Distance: 4.4 km one-way, 50 mins
Location: Begins Point Kean car park
Enjoy spectacular wildlife-spotting and unique views of the Southern Alps and coastline on the unique Kaikoura Shoreline Walk. Discover fur seals and nesting bird colonies as you follow the base of the cliffs along to a small bay. Further along the track you’ll pass limestone outcrops and sea caves before you continue along to South Bay and into town.
Length: 6km, half-day return
Difficulty: Medium, some steep sections
Location: Starts off Kenepuru Road, off Queen Charlotte Drive
This ridge track takes hikers to Mount Stokes(opens in new window), the highest peak in the Marlborough Sounds (1203m). Enjoy walking through coastal podocarp forests before reaching the sub-alpine summit, where you are rewarded with breath taking views of the North Island, Picton, the Sounds and Nelson.