Mountains, rivers, waterfalls, native forests and vast wilderness are just some of the sights you could encounter on a multi-day walk in New Zealand.

Not only will you be filled with the satisfaction of completing a challenging walk, you'll also have experienced some of the most spectacular unspoilt scenery that New Zealand is so famous for. Check out the three best treks to try in New Zealand...

Firstly: there is a walking track to suit everyone and high season for walking is from October through to April, (late spring – early autumn). Having lived in New Zealand for a couple of years, I have a few personal favourites:

Tongariro Crossing day walk (North Island)

This North Island trek is considered to be one of the most stunning day walks in the world. You can attempt the longer ‘Tongariro Northern Circuit’ which takes 3-4 days, but for those short on time the Tongariro crossing day walk will not disappoint.

It will bring great joy to all you Lord of the Rings fans out there walking right by ‘Mount Doom’ otherwise known as ‘Ngauruhoe’. You need to be aware that the climbs on this 19.4 km day walk can be very steep in places and the weather is unpredictable no matter what time of year you do it. It’s very important to be prepared for all weather conditions.

You should allow yourself around 7-9 hours. You will be walking across active volcanoes which is exciting in itself, but it will be topped by the thermal vents, volcanic craters, vibrant blue and emerald lakes, and beautifully coloured lava flows.

The terrain here makes you feel as though you’re at the end of the earth. I recommend you stay at nearby Kauri Point set within six acres of gardens, and offering a luxurious home-style accommodation before or after your walk.

Queen Charlotte Track (South Island)

This track is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the beauty of the South Island. Fresh off the ferry in Picton you can access the 70km 3-5 day walk through the Marlborough Sounds. This was the first ever multi-day walk I attempted and the walk that sparked my passion for tramping!

Easily accessible by water taxi from Picton, Ship Cove is the starting point of this 3-4 day adventure. A big difference between the Queen Charlotte Track and the ‘great walks’ is that there are no huts provided by the department of conservation (known as ‘DOC’ huts). Instead, you can opt for true hospitality at home-stays along the way. My favourite is Mahana Lodge where you can return home from a long day walking to a home-cooked meal, mostly put together from home-grown ingredients from their own garden!

Make sure you stop and do this walk before you travel between the North and South island. Your reward will be coastal forest, secluded coves and beaches, and if you walk up to the ridges - supreme views of both Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds.

This track is good for anyone with an average level of fitness but a big bonus is that you can have your bags portered between lodges along the track. Then all you need is your day pack, filled to the brim with trailmix!

Where to stay for the Queen Charlotte trek

Although it isn't the most difficult of tracks, the Queen Charlotte track can be long and tiring, so I recommend booking to stay at the nearby Vintners Retreat at the end, so you can have a glass of kiwi wine to celebrate. It’s situated on Rapaura Road which is known locally as the ‘Golden Mile’ of vineyards.

Punga Cove – if you’re short on time

If you’re short on time and can’t finish the whole length of the Queen Charlotte track, you don’t have to miss out. Take a water taxi out to Punga Cove (2 hours from Picton), which is set amongst the stunning scenery of the Marlborough Sounds.

Nestled in the beautiful waterways of New Zealand's South Island, Punga Cove is the perfect place to relax and unwind and the ideal spot to enjoy all the sights, sounds and activities that are on offer in the region.

Abel Tasman (South Island)

As one of the ‘Great walks’ The Abel Tasman is a trek to consider. It’s a coastal walk, so I think if you’re keen to see the most, you should try sea kayaking. This will ensure you don’t miss out on some of the sheltered coves that the track bypasses.

You’ll feel like you’ve travelled to a tropical island because the colour of the sea and the sand here is magical! You could join a guided tour or rent your own kayak from one of the many local companies.

Where to stay for the Abel Tasman trek

Abel Tasman Marahau Lodge is located in Marahau, at the southern entrance to the Abel Tasman National Park. It has a great location within easy walking distance of the beaches, shops, local activities, and water taxis, and a great option to start your tour from.

If you’re not staying in the area, Abel Tasman National park is also accessible for those travelling on bus passes. It fits in well with this Stray Bus pass, offering a unique overnight stay and a free day in Abel Tasman National Park.

Interested in trekking in New Zealand?

These are just my top three treks in New Zealand! If they have tickled your fancy then please contact Chris

If you're interested in the other 'Great Walks' of New Zealand, you might want to consider:

  • Lake Waikaremoana,
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit
  • Whanganui Journey
  • Able Tasman coastal track
  • Heaphy Track
  • Routeburn Track
  • Kepler Track
  • Milford Track
  • Rakiura Track

There are so many different ways to travel around New Zealand, the most popular Is doing a self drive itinerary in a car or hiring a campervan. I can tailor-make you an itinerary so you too can experience the walks in New Zealand.

You might also like:

Torres del Paine is situated in the heart of Patagonia

Southern hemisphere: 5 of the best hikes in the world

Chris West

Senior Travel Consultant
at Travel Nation
0 shares
From£1,999*

*Inc. International flights (pp, based on 2 sharing)

New Zealand campervan holiday with Hong Kong & San Francisco

Tailor-made holidays
Duration (in days): 21
From: London (to Hong Kong)
To: London (from San Francisco)

This great value 3-week multi-centre holiday takes you all the way round the world; from the tasty dim-sum and buzzing night markets of Hong Kong, to a self-drive adventure in your very own campervan exploring the beautiful county of New Zealand. Ending with a city break in the iconic US city of San Francisco.