The Great Walks of New Zealand

New Zealand is world-famous for its stunning scenery and many hiking trails. All trails have something unique to offer, but did you know that Aotearoa has nine very special hikes?

Introducing the Great Walks of New Zealand.  

If you are after an epic journey and witness the country’s most iconic places from up close, don’t just go on any hike. Go on a Great Walk! 

Let’s quickly explore them, shall we? 

North Island

Lake Waikaremoana Track

With the largest area of native forest in the North Island, this track is pretty magical. Wander through prehistoric rainforests, watch picture-perfect sunsets and listen to all the different bird sounds.  

Duration: 3 – 4 days

Length: 46 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Lake Waikaremoana Track, click here

Whanganui Journey

Is paddling your thing? Then this wild river journey might be your perfect match. Canoe or kayak across one of the longest rivers in the country and go through a beautiful national park. This hike lets you enjoy native forests, many species of birds and ancient Maori heritage.  

Duration: 5 days

Length: 145 km

Grade: Canoe or kayak experience

Best time of the year: Late October – late April

For more information about the Whanganui Journey, click here

Tongariro Northern Circuit

What is most special about this Great Walk is that it goes around Mount Ngauruhoe, an active volcano! Not for the faint-hearted, this hike is spectacular and a once in a lifetime experience. For active volcanoes, green lakes, wildflowers and waterfalls, walk the Tongariro Northern Circuit. 

This is also the favourite Great Walk of one of our storytellers, nature photographer Meghan Maloney. You can find the hike in her North Island trip

Duration: 4 days

Length: 41 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April

For more information about the Tongariro Northern Circuit, click here

South Island

Abel Tasman Coast Track

You have a few options to explore the white sand beaches and crystal-clear water of the gorgeous Abel Tasman National park. Walk a bit of the trail, walk its entire length or take a kayak. Whatever you pick, you won’t be disappointed.   

As Kyle’s favourite, he has some great Abel Tasman recommendations for you in his trip.

Duration: 5 days

Length: 51 km

Grade: Easy – intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Abel Tasman Coast Track, click here

Heaphy Track

This Great Walk is the most diverse. Rainforest, grasslands, mountains and beaches, the Heaphy Track will take you through them all. If you like the sound of contrasting landscapes, Maori greenstone heritage and the largest cave system in New Zealand, this hike is for you. 

Duration: 4 – 6 days

Length: 78.4 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Heaphy Track, click here

Routeburn Track

If you combine Mount Aspiring National Park with Fiordland National Park, you are in for some stunning scenery. It gets pretty high too! Take in the views from 1,255 metres above sea level and wander past mountains, lakes and lush forests. If you are lucky, you might even spot a Kia, the world’s only alpine parrot.    

Duration: 3 days

Length: 32 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April 

For more information about the Routeburn Track, click here

Milford Track

The most famous of all Great Walks, this hike is truly magical. The 53 kilometre Walk guides you to incredible valley views, picturesque mountain peaks and even the country’s highest waterfall. It doesn’t get much better than this.   

Milford Track is the favourite of Bram and Manon.

Duration: 4 days

Length: 53.5 km

Grade: Easy – intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April 

For more information about the Milford Track, click here

Kepler Track

Opened in 1988, this Walk was custom-made to show off the best of Fiordland. You will come across all the highlights, including mountains, native forest, waterfalls and glacier-shaped valleys. 

Duration: 4 days

Length: 60 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: Late October – late April 

For more information about the Kepler Track, click here

Rakiura Track

Stewart Island is a place of peace and tranquility, pretty much the same as it was thousands of years ago. With its large native bird population, beautiful coastlines and rich Maori heritage, the Rakiura Track is a much loved Great Walk. 

Duration: 3 days

Length: 32 km

Grade: Intermediate

Best time of the year: All year, depending on which season you prefer. 

For more information about the Rakiura Track, click here

Those are the nine Great Walks of New Zealand. Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments!

If you are thinking of doing one of the Walks yourself, don’t forget to book DOC accommodation on the trails. We strongly recommend to book in advance. Please also pick up after yourself and leave the trails as you found them.  

Questions or interested in doing a walk with a guide? Contact us via the website and we would be happy to advice you!