With cascading waterfalls, emerald-green forests, and miles of untouched black-and-white sand beaches, New Zealand is a picturesque, majestic, and awe-inspiring destination. For the adventurous, active traveller, exploring New Zealand by foot is, by far, the most rewarding way to fully experience the country’s jaw-dropping, natural beauty. New Zealand offers a variety of unspoiled trails, and each path provides a range of terrain diversity and natural splendour. New Zealand may seem like the edge of the world to many, but for the explorers who set out to walk its paths, the natural treasures found along the country’s “Great Walks” are beyond compare.
Abel Tasman National Park
Featuring 30 miles of golden beaches and lush subtropical bush, Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s only coastal national park. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is considered one of the least strenuous of New Zealand’s hiking paths, but it is just as rewarding. Covering 33 miles of immaculate coastline with azure waters, through manuka groves, estuaries, and granite cliffs, the Abel Tasman trek offers natural wonders around every corner. For those who appreciate the serenity and seclusion of beachside hiking, the Abel Tasman trek on South Island may be ideal.
The Coromandel Peninsula
Located 34 miles from Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula extends 53 miles north into the Bay of Plenty. Due to its natural beauty, coastal scenery, and temperate inland rainforests, the peninsula is a popular tourist destination. The area is underdeveloped and sparsely populated, making Coromandel Peninsula ideal for hiking excursions. Hikers of Coromandel Peninsula can choose from a variety of inland trails and coastal paths, many of which feature natural hot springs along the way. Hikers can also take a dip at Hot Water Beach, aptly named due to the underwater hot springs that warm its waters.
Fiordland on South Island
Known for its white-capped mountains, pristine coastlines, lakes, and sweeping meadows, South Island is ideal for the more adventurous hiker who appreciates the path less travelled. Although South Island offers a variety of hiking options, including the trails of Marlborough, Nelson, and Kaikoura, Fiordland National Park is renowned for its wild, rugged, and remote hiking paths. Covering almost 3 million acres, Fiordland is one of the largest national parks in the world, and visitors are treated to a range of picturesque trails that weave through New Zealand’s most famous natural attractions.
Hollyford Valley: One of the most popular Fjiordland trails is the walking path through Hollyford Valley. Typically lasting roughly three days, the Hollyford Valley Trek is never cut off by snow, and the trail allows visitors to experience both the misty mountains and the secluded seas of New Zealand. Starting among the sheer rock faces of the Darran Mountains, the path follows the Hollyford River as it empties into Martins Bay. For hikers with limited time to experience New Zealand’s diverse topography, abundant wildlife, and untamed coastline, the Hollyford Valley trek offers a range of natural highlights and is passable year-round.
The Milford Track: Ideal for experienced hikers who enjoy the challenge and reward of rugged terrain, steeper climbs, and spectacular views, the Milford Track encompasses the mountainous areas of Fiordland National Park. The five-day trek is known as the “The Finest Walk in the World”, and hikers will experience New Zealand’s most famous natural wonders, including ice-carved Clinton Canyon and Sutherland Falls, the world’s fifth tallest waterfall.
After the invigorating trek through the mountains, hikers are then rewarded with a visit to Milford Sound, described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by writer Rudyard Kipling. Formed by glaciers thousands of years ago, Milford Sound is flanked by cascading waterfalls and skyscraping mountain peaks. It is truly one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders.
As home to the world’s “Great Walks”, New Zealand caters to all types of adventure travellers and hikers, offering a range of lodging options to suit your needs. Hiking New Zealand is an experience like no other and an ideal getaway for the passionate, active traveller.
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