New Zealand is the Eldorado of travellers, a privileged destination for PVT (stays combining vacation and work) and roadtrips by van. Wild, indomitable, nature covers most of the country, which has few large cities, many small towns and above all wide and varied spaces. Fine sandy beaches, high peaks, volcanoes, fjords: a diversity of landscapes that make you dream. To make the most of what New Zealand has to offer, the best solution is to explore it on foot along the countless trails that dot it.
What are the 10 best hikes in New Zealand?
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
This hike is unquestionably one of the most beautiful and popular in New Zealand . Located on the North Island, it receives the visit of thousands of walkers each year. Shuttles are also organized to drop off, early in the morning, and pick up these hikers at the end of the day.
The day hike called Tongariro Alpine Crossing through the Tongariro National Park with fairly difficult ascents and then above all a long descent (the negative elevation being more important than the positive). It offers incredible views of the ancient craters, volcanoes, emerald lake with sulfur vapours… An itinerary not to be missed for all Lord of the Rings fans !
Mount Taranaki is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful volcanoes . It has a perfect conical shape and stands on the New Plymouth Peninsula in the south of the North Island. Several routes allow you to reach its summit, culminating at 2500 m , with eternal snow and breathtaking panoramic views. The shortest starts at the North Egmont Tourist Office. The ascent is tough, alternating between path, gravel, rocks to climb, but the view, on arrival as all along the way is well worth it.
A small corner of paradise and greenery in the heart of the North Island of New Zealand! This is a family hike , but well worth the detour. It begins at the end of a long gravel road (closed by a gate) and runs along the length of the river, from the waterfall to the lake. Sheltered by vegetation, in an emerald universe, this trail is lovely. Ideal for a day out, with picnic breaks with your feet in the cool water or a swim thanks to the swings installed above the water!
This route leads to the discovery of the Hooker Glacier, located at the foot of Mount Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand. A magnificent hike , which begins with Mueller Lake, runs along the Hooker River and ends in front of Hooker Lake, completely covered in icebergs. The lake impresses with its beauty, but also with its location, in the hollow of huge peaks that make up the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
The summit of Roys Peak is among the most popular and most photographed hikes in New Zealand . It is near the adorable little town of Wanaka which borders the lake of the same name. The ascent is quite delicate and above all is done in full sun, but always with an incredible panorama. A little before the summit, a rocky promontory attracts crowds who come to photograph themselves like kings of the world facing lakes Wanaka and Hawea, the peaks and glaciers. An even more incredible route at sunrise and sunset.
Sentier Charming Creek
This easy hike will appeal to families for a day immersed in New Zealand’s past . Indeed, the route follows an old rail that allowed coal to be transported to the city and which traveled by suspension bridges or on the side of the cliff, which today seems truly spectacular. The one-way path follows the river, sometimes crosses it, goes into tunnels and even allows you to discover vestiges of mining activity.
This peak dominates the attractive city of Queenstown . To get there, you have to plan nearly 10 hours of walking, or a little less by taking the skyline of the city. If the path is pleasant all along, crossing immense fir forests and areas of low vegetation, it especially offers varied and incredible views. During the ascent, the gaze turns towards the mountains, the Southern Alps and in particular Mount Aspiring, then at the top, it is the majestic Lake Wakatipu, in all its immensity, which is revealed as well as the city of Queenstown. at the feet.
This loop is rather difficult with a steep drop. This magnificent hike climbs the mountainside and crosses many varied landscapes. The path escapes from the vegetation at a certain altitude, skirting a vertiginous cliff to end in the heart of the Southern Alps , facing hundreds of peaks, more or less snow-covered and icy. The little extra of this hike are the Keas, parrots with green wings on one side and flamboyant red on the other . They sometimes walk near the path to come and steal a few crumbs from the walkers!
Lake Marian is located high in the heart of the peaks of the Milford Sound fjord. The path is not very difficult and appeals to all hikers , first because it runs along a turbulent river full of waterfalls for a large part, but also and above all because it ends on the banks of the lake. A lake of pure blue, icy, motionless, which then marvelously reflects the immense mountains which surround it. One of the most beautiful hikes on the South Island , an unforgettable adventure.
Sommet of Rangitoto
Rangitoto is one of the many islands that face the city of Auckland. You have to take a ferry to get to this island from the Auckland wharf, or embark on a two-hour kayaking excursion for the more adventurous. The hike then proposes to climb to the top of this ancient volcano by walking as close as possible to the lava flows of yesteryear. A unique volcanic landscape that ends with a very beautiful view of Auckland Bay from the top.
What is the most beautiful Great Walks in New Zealand?
New Zealand has 9 Great Walks, these are treks over several days in often very isolated areas. To get there, you have to book a pass and usually nights in lodges. The Milford Track is arguably the most famous and beautiful of these Great Walks . It is even considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the world!
This 53 km route is generally covered in 4 or 5 days. Tempted? It begins at the northern end of Lake Te Anau to sink into the heart of magnificent wilderness.
How to prepare for your hikes in New Zealand?
To be well prepared for hiking in New Zealand, you must above all have the right guide with you! The book 100 walks and hikes to discover New Zealand published in May 2022 will be an ideal travel companion. It includes 100 routes to discover New Zealand from North to South and thus build your road trip according to the strategic points not to be missed. With its maps and photographs, not to mention its little practical advice, especially on free campsites or setting up your van, it will quickly become essential for all travellers.