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Updated by newzealandtrails on Sep 25, 2019
Headline for The 10 Great Walks of New Zealand
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The 10 Great Walks of New Zealand

There are heaps of awesome hikes in New Zealand, but these ones have gained the title of New Zealand's "Great Walks". Here's why...

Source: https://newzealandtrails.com/news/great-walks-of-new-zealand/

1

Lake Waikaremoana, North Island

Lake Waikaremoana, North Island

46km one way | 3-4 days hiking | Intermediate track

In the Te Urewera area on the East Coast of the North Island, this Great Walk follows the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana. There is also a rugged ridgeline climb to get your heart pumping. Passing through ancient podocarp forests and wetlands, it's worth stopping off at some of the beautiful isolated beaches and the Korokoro Falls. The largest area of native forest remaining in the North Island is found here, as well as almost all species of native New Zealand birds.

2

Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island

Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island

43.1km loop | 3-4 days hiking | Intermediate track | Seasonal restrictions

This Great Walk winds through volcanic landscapes, glacial valleys, native forest and emerald-coloured lakes in the Tongariro National Park. This World Heritage area is also home to two active volcanoes - Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. You can also hike the Tongariro Crossing in a day to soak up these incredible views and landscapes.

3

Whanganui Journey, North Island

Whanganui Journey, North Island

87 or 145km one way | 3 or 5 days paddling | River journey | Seasonal restrictions

This Great Walk is actually a river journey, not a hike! The Whanganui River in the North Island runs through farmland, remote hills and valleys of bush. You can either start at Taumaranui (145km paddle) or Whakahoro (87km) with the finish point at Pipiriki. Experience the culture and history of New Zealand with an overnight stay at Tieke Kainga, a DOC hut that is also a marae. This Great Walk offers something a bit different with a few rapids, waterfalls and caves along the way.

4

Abel Tasman Coastal Track, South Island

Abel Tasman Coastal Track, South Island

60km | 3-5 days hiking | Intermediate track

Located in the sunniest place in New Zealand, the Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island has it all! Golden beaches, crystal clear water, secluded swimming holes and native coastal bush, this really is one of the best spots in New Zealand. You can walk the track in either direction but make sure to check the tides as you will need to cross an estuary as part of the track. You can also catch a water taxi or kayak part of the trip for something different, or if you're short on time.

5

Heaphy Track, South Island

Heaphy Track, South Island

78.4km | 4-6 days hiking | Intermediate track | Seasonal restrictions

Most people choose to start the Heaphy Track in Golden Bay, north of Nelson, and head down to Kohaihai on the West Coast. This hike will take you through tussock country, wetlands and lush forest, as well as passing the Heaphy River as it meets the ocean. This track is also open to mountain bikers for a limited time during the year and is considered to be an advanced track for bikers.

6

Routeburn Track, South Island

Routeburn Track, South Island

32km one way | 2-4 days hiking | Intermediate track | Seasonal restrictions

This track is located in Otago and Fiordland with incredible mountain views, native forest and waterfalls along the way. You can walk this track in either direction, and the best time of year is from October to April. Outside of these months, you may face some poor weather making the hike a bit tricky. There are also options for day hikes on the Routeburn Track if you aren't up for the full track.

7

Kepler Track, South Island

Kepler Track, South Island

60km loop track | 3-4 days hiking | Intermediate track | Seasonal restrictions

The Kepler Track winds its way through New Zealand's Fiordland National Park. The track follows the shoreline of Lake Te Anau before a climb up a to a ridge about the bush line where you will be rewarded with views of the mountains and glacier-carved valleys below. This track encompasses the best of Fiordland and was custom-built to make the most of the beautiful landscapes in this area.

8

Milford Track, South Island

Milford Track, South Island

53.5km one way | 4 days hiking | Intermediate track | Seasonal restrictions

This is probably the most famous of New Zealand's Great Walks, and is located in Fiordland. This track starts with a boat trip to the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes at Sandfly Point in the breathtaking Milford Sound. There really are amazing views around every corner from glacier-carved valleys, and loads of waterfalls. Immerse yourself in New Zealand's native flora and keep an ear out for the amazing birdsong along the way.

A day walk on this famous track is part of the New Zealand Trails World Heritage walking tour of New Zealand.

9

Rakiura Track, Stewart Island

Rakiura Track, Stewart Island

32km loop | 3 days hiking | Intermediate track

Stewart Island is a small island off the bottom of the South Island and is home to many native birds including the kiwi. The Rakiura Track follows the coastline past beaches and inland through native forest. The landscape is largely untouched here, adding to the beauty and isolation of the island.

10

Paparoa Track, South Island

Paparoa Track, South Island

55km one way | 2-3 days hiking | Intermediate track

Opening on 1 December 2019, the Paparoa Track is the latest addition to the New Zealand Great Walks. Situated in the Paparoa National Park on the South Island's West Coast, this area showcases Jurassic-looking limestone landscapes and sub-tropical rainforests.