New Zealand is considered the adventure capital of the world, a title it earned during the late 1980s thanks to the expansions of its famous Queenstown. Today, the country is full to the brim with things to do for the adventurous at heart, and especially for those that love to hike in beautiful and natural settings.
With trails ranging from slow, laid-back walks, to multi-day, intense missions that require a fair amount of expertise, there is always something to keep hikers busy on those days they aren’t staying in the hotel browsing the country’s local betting sites. These are the five best day hikes available in both the North and South Islands.
1. Hooker Valley Track
This 10 kilometre, 3 hour, easy walking track is one of the most scenic tracks available in the country. It’s well maintained, and fairly straightforward – perfect for the beginner hiker. It’s also one of the most popular in New Zealand, winding its way along the Hooker Valley toward Mt. Cook, which is the country’s highest mountain.
The trail starts in Mt. Cook Village, and eventually takes the hiker to Hooker Lake, which is at the base of the mountain.
2. Cape Kidnappers Walking Trail
Another easy hike for day-hikers this 5 hour, 10 kilometre return walk is a great way to see some of the many unique birds and natural wonders that make the country so enjoyable to walk through.
The coastal walk will take the hiker past the largest gannet colony in the world, while also providing a stunning view of the Hawk’s Bay. The walk is only available during low tide as most of it takes place along the coast.
3. Te Whara Track, Northland
Moving on to the more difficult hikes, the Te Whara Track, which is best suited for intermediate walker’s, is a 6 hour, 7.5 kilometre walk right at the top of North Island, and is one of the most culturally significant Maori spots in the whole country.
It boasts incredible coastal views as the hiker follows the Manaia track; a 700-year-old walk past some of the best coastal forest New Zealand has to offer.
4. Roy’s Peak, Otago
Roy’s Peak was originally a quiet trail that not many knew about, but thanks to a surge of posts and photos on the social media site Instagram, it’s quickly become one of the most popular trails in the country. It’s not hard to see why, as every kilometre of this 16 kilometre hike is absolutely stunning.
The only downside is that it can be extremely busy during the summer months, so it’s best avoided if you’re looking for something more on the quiet side. The journey takes around 5 to 6 hours in total.
5. Tongariro Alpine Crossing
This is one of the longest trails that New Zealand has to offer at 19.4 kilometres. While it’s an 8 hour hike in total, it’s still fairly easy to complete, and takes hikers through the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand’s first national park. The trip takes you past three of the most impressive volcanoes on North Island.