New Zealand often lives in the shadow of Australia, but it is a must-see country for trekkers, backpackers, and urban lovers alike. It is also an amazingly diverse country that often feels like a Pacific island with Swiss countryside and mountains mixed in. It really is a one-of-a-kind place!
If you’re looking for great treks in New Zealand, you won’t have to look very far either, as the Department of Conservation, New Zealand’s parks department, makes planning and researching very easy. In addition to off-the-beaten-path treks, the country has ten treks called the “Great Walks”. These are treks that not only highlight the unique landscapes of the country, but are also supported with hut systems and park rangers close in hand.
Let’s take a spin through a few of New Zealand’s best treks!
The Queen Charlotte Trek
Though not a “Great Walk,” the Queen Charlotte Track is considered to be the best coastal trek in the country. It’s a four day trek through the many bays and coves of the Queen Charlotte Sound, a beautifully lush and green landscape that touches amazingly blue and turquoise waters.
Don’t miss: check out where Captain James Cook landed, and fell in love with, New Zealand.
New Zealand’s park department markets the Milford track as “the finest walk in the world.” The Milford snakes from Lake Te Anau to the famous Milford Sound – a unique sound where mountains drop precipitously into beautiful blue waters.
This is a great trek, but be prepared to fight nasty, biting sandflies at all times!
Don’t miss: the MacKinnon Pass takes you up to an amazing view of the Milford area, and to an emergency shelter that has been blown down four times! Have breakfast in the shelter and admire the scenery!
The Kepler track was my personal favorite during my time in New Zealand. It’s a three day walk that starts and ends in the adorable town of Te Anau, and leads up to an alpine path above the clouds in the surrounding valleys giving you a birds-eye view of New Zealand’s towns, lakes, and mountains in Fiordland National Park. If you only have time for one New Zealand trek – I highly recommend this one!
Don’t miss: a short climb off the trail takes you to the summit of Mt. Luxmore with great views of the Fiordland National Park. Also, keep an eye out for the Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot.
Often thought of as the Milford Track’s little brother (it’s shorter and has similar scenery), the Routeburn holds it’s own as a great trek through some great New Zealand forests. You can complete the Routeburn in as little as two nights (one if you’re very motivated), but it’s best not to rush – if you have great weather, time spent at Key Summit provides views of snow-capped mountains, lakes, and glaciers.
Don’t miss: the “fairy garden,” a dense and lush forest that is located before you arrive at the Mackenzie Hut. It looks and feels like Hobbits might show up at any moment!
These are just four of your options for walking through New Zealand – just remember that you can never go wrong with a country as beautiful as New Zealand!