New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to visit for lovers of nature and natural landscapes. The varied landscapes of New Zealand and its spectacular and varied coastline washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean are the perfect place to practice a multitude of outdoor sports. The country is a popular destination for trekking lovers and the New Zealanders themselves are lovers of the outdoors and walks.
THE “GREAT WALKS” OF NEW ZEALAND
Among the most beautiful and spectacular hiking trails you can walk in New Zealand there are what are called “Great Walks”. These are hiking trails that can be traveled over in several days (but many can also be made only in the same day) that cross some of the most varied and spectacular scenery in New Zealand. They cross a great variety of landscapes from primeval forests, to deep canyons, from wild rivers to majestic snow-capped peaks, from wide valleys to spectacular glacial lakes.
New Zealand has a total of nine “Great Walks” trails, three of which allow you to cross part of the North Island. While five “Great Walks” are located on the South Island. The latter is the most beautiful from a landscape point of view. Finally, a single trail covers the third New Zealand island, Stewart Island. The “Great Walks” are well marked and easy to follow, they are easily accessible from the main cities of the country.
The hiking trails of New Zealand are well structured, there are accommodations with huts and camps that allow you to stop during the daily stages. The huts offer a basic welcome with toilets, beds and cold water. For these structures it is highly advisable to book your place well in advance. In particular for the most famous trail of all, the Milford Track, reservations must be made many months in advance.
THE HIKING TRAILS OF THE NORTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND
On the North Island, in the central eastern part, there is the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk that runs along the coast of Lake Waikaremoana, touching remote beaches, and crosses a forest of giant podocarpus trees. Along the trail you can admire incredible views from Panekire Bluff and the spectacular Korokoro waterfalls. The trail is 46 km long and can be covered in 3 or 4 days.
The Tongariro Northern Circuit allows the exploration of the most beautiful areas of the Tongariro National Park, a volcanic area with alpine and glacial panoramas characterized by a landscape full of contrasts with spectacular emerald-colored lakes. The route winds between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe in an area that is part of the UNESCO natural and cultural world heritage. The trail is circular and has a length of 43 km which can be covered in 3 or 4 days.
The Whanganui Journey is an 87 or 145 km trail to explore by kayak or canoe that stretches along the Whanganui River in a landscape of remote hills and bush-covered valleys.
THE HIKING TRAILS OF THE SOUTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND
In the north of the South Island are the Abel Tasman Coast Track and the Heaphy Track. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a coastal path of about 60 km and which can be covered in 3 or 5 days. The trail crosses golden beaches, lush coastal vegetation, natural rock pools, breathtaking coastal coves. The Heaphy Track extends for 78 km within the Kahurangi National Park and crosses mountainous landscapes, lush forests up to the roaring seas of the west coast.
In the most beautiful part of the island of the South, the area of Fiordland, there are the Milford Track, the Kepler Track and the Routeburn Track. This area of the country is known as one of the world destinations for trekking enthusiasts. The Milford Track is New Zealand’s most famous trail and is known as “the most beautiful walk in the world” it traces the steps of the first explorers on the track for Milford Sound. The 53 km long path, which is covered in 4 days, crosses spectacular landscapes with valleys carved by glaciers, ancient rain forests and rumbling waterfalls that reach, with the Sutherland Falls, 580 meters high.
The Kepler Track is a circular path of 60 km, which can be covered in 3 or 4 days, located between the Te Anau and Manapouri lakes and which crosses spectacular alpine panoramas and peaceful lakes. Along the way it is possible to explore the fascinating caves of Luxmore, admire the Iris Burn Falls and the landscapes made of alpine meadows and views of the Te Anau and Manapouri lakes.
The Routeburn Track has a length of 32 km which can be covered in 2 / 4 days. The trail, which runs through Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park, winds its way through typically alpine landscapes, with meadows, lakes, gorges, waterfalls and spectacular views over vast mountain ranges and valleys.
THE HIKING TRAILS OF THE ISLAND OF STEWART
The Rakiura Track crosses part of Stewart Island and covers 32 km that require 3 days of walking. The path crosses the splendid and uncontaminated native forests that characterize the island, passes also from the first Maori settlements and proceeds partly along the coast with splendid natural sceneries.