1. Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Regarded as one of the most challenging treks in New Zealand, the Tongariro Crossing is a 19.4 km trek that can be completed in a day. Through the trekking journey, you will view the beautiful crater lakes of the Tongariro National Park. Though the trekkers get to experience some of the most beautiful natural wonders during the course of the trek, it can also be extremely dangerous due to its unpredictable weather, steep slopes and extreme terrain. The trek starts at the Mangatepopo road end and will continue till Ketetahi road end. Care is to be taken when undertaking a journey here during the winter, as it can be dangerous for beginners.
2. Mt Cook Trek
Mt Cook is the home to various trails to trek and even cycling tracks. With about 10 tracks in the area it is one of the most diverse areas for treks in New Zealand. You can choose to trek trails ranging between 10 minutes to 4-5 hours. The difficulty level of the trails here ranges between easy and moderate. The region has a lot of glaciers and peaks which offer stunning views of the sunrise and sunset from the peaks. The nature walking trail allows the trekkers to view the blooming of wildflowers and spot exotic birds of the region. Care is to be taken to not touch poisonous tutu shrub which is found around easily during summer.
3. Gillespie & Rabbit Passes Alpine Trek
One of the hardest treks in New Zealand, this arduous journey of 8 days offers fabulous views of Mt. Aspiring Mt. Alba and other surrounding peaks, meadows, lakes, forests, waterfalls and glaciers. This is a guided trek and there are a lot of planners who offer you this journey. Accommodation here will be through pre booked huts and campsites offered by the agencies. Food and accommodation will be taken care by the agency while trekkers should carry their personal items necessary for the trek. Some of the dangerous activities during the trek include steep slope descending and river crossings which should be done with caution.
4. The Ben Lomond Summit
Located very close to Queenstown, this 4-6 hour trekking journey is one of the easier treks in New Zealand, though it requires some steep climbing to do at some places. The track is marked throughout and offers lovely views of the city of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and some of the distant peaks on a bright day. There are 2 ways to begin the journey, either through the Gondola or by taking the forest route. Then you reach the saddle which is marked by the presence of a wooden bench and from there you can again trek to the summit in another hour. The ‘Return via same track’ rule is followed here, meaning if you take any other route, you might end up getting lost amidst the steep slopes.
5. The Milford Track
One of the most famous treks in New Zealand, the Milford track offers a multiday trekking experience. The track has breathtaking views throughout of the lush green forests, mountains, passes and water bodies. This 53 km track offers both independent and guided hikes, so make sure to book well in advance if seeking a guided experience. The hike begins at Lake Te Anau and ends at Milford Sound and takes about 4 days with around 6-7 hours of walking a day to complete it. Hence it is necessary that you book in advance the accommodations to halt for the nights as there are limits set by the Fiordland National Park.
6. The Kepler TrackYet another multi day trek, the 60 km Kepler track in Fiordland is very famous among trampers for its breathtaking landscapes of the mountains, waterfalls, caves and valleys. You might also spot exotic plants and birds of the region while trekking here. The track here is well marked and paved to enable easy trekking and completed ideally within 3-4 days. The accommodations for night halts are to be booked in advance as it is not possible to make your own camping site there. This trek can be undertaken independently or with guides. There are a number of tour planners who can arrange the trek for you perfectly.
7. Mt. Taranaki TrekA trek up Mt. Taranaki is not everyone’s cup of tea. This trek is for anyone with good health and fitness and with prior trekking or mountaineering experience. Towering majestically at about 2518 meters, it takes about 5-6 hours to ascend and about 3-4 hours to descend the peak. Though a strenuous trek, the hardship will pay off once you reach the summit to get an unparalleled view of the area. The people of the area hold deep respect for the summit, hence to regard their respect do not stand on the summit stone or litter the surrounding area. Taking a winter trek here is very dangerous unless or otherwise you are well equipped with necessary tools and experience.
8. Abel Tasman Coast Track
Situated in the smallest national park of New Zealand, the Abel Tasman Coast track is the track ideal for everyone who loves a hike around the beach area and is one of the most popular treks in New Zealand. It takes around 3-5 days to complete depending on each individual and the difficulty level here is easy as you do not have any steep areas to ascend or descend. The landscape in this area is straight out of a dream and the track offers some amazing beaches, stunning rock formations, glow worm caves and exotic wildlife of the area. Choice of accommodation here is through DOC huts or private housing with tour planners. At any point of time, it is possible to hire a water taxi and return to the starting point.
Packing for treks in New Zealand
- Map of the area
- Sturdy boots
- Food and water enough for the single or multi-day trek
- Raincoats, gloves and a hat
- Warm clothing
- Sunscreen/ Sunblock
- Insect repellant
- Mobile phone
- First Aid Kit
- Pocket toilet
- Crampon boots and ice axe if the trek is during winter
Things to Know Before Going on Treks in New Zealand
- In hilly areas, it is normal that the weather conditions are harsh and unpredictable. So be prepared for everything in advance. It is also advised to check the weather forecast for the day planned.
- It is suggested that you start the trek early in the morning for day hikes to experience the sunrise in hilly regions and enjoy the pleasant morning weather.
- Most of the winter treks are challenging and it is not advised to go on a winter trek if you are a beginner. Also, it is mandatory to have warm clothing, ice axe and crampons while on a winter trek or it can be highly dangerous.
- Have a family member or a friend informed about your trek if you are planning a solo trip, so that the concerned parties can be alerted if you do not return on time.
We hope this article about treks in New Zealand was helpful to you. Happy trekking!