There’s a reason why Peter Jackson filmed his famed Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand. The snow-capped mountains, emerald fjords, cascading waterfalls and miles of breathtaking beaches, you’ll feel that you’ve stepped into a fantasy. We believe one of the best ways to experience the amazing nature that New Zealand has to offer is by going for a hike. Doesn’t matter if you have a day or two weeks to explore, we’re here to guide you on the best terrain on both islands. All you need is a hunger for adventure!
Dubbed the world’s greatest day hike, the Tongariro Crossing is part of the Tongariro National Park and encompasses three volcanoes: Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe (famously known as ‘Mount Doom’ in the LOTR trilogy). Encompassing barren volcanic lava fields, beautiful emerald lakes, and lush rainforest, it’s the best trail to see everything New Zealand has to offer. As you’ll be hiking through high mountain passes and lush rainforests, do make sure you’re prepared for every element.
For a city hike: Mount Victoria Trails
The best thing about New Zealand is that you don’t have to travel far for exotic hiking trails. If you have a few hours to spare while in Wellington, start your hike at the Southern Walkway. Fun fact: the scene where the hobbits were running away from the Black Rider in LOTR was filmed here! Tread the Mount Victoria trails for the best view atop Wellington where you can watch boats sailing into the harbor. From here, you can either call it a day or keep trekking through the connecting trails that will eventually lead you down to the sea.
For a cave hike: Abbey Caves
If you’re looking for something different, try hiking in a cave. The Abbey Caves in Whangarei is a well-kept secret. Do be warned that the hike is not for the faint of heart as you’ll need to walk through monoliths, climb over a gnarled fence and slither around. But, you’ll be rewarded with a vast canvas of glowworms and limestone stalactites, so it might be worth it!
For an overnight hike: Mueller Hut
It was said that Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, wrote the song Stairway to Heaven after going up to the Mueller Hut. We can see how he was inspired as the view of the surrounding glaciers could take your breath away. The 5 km hike to the hut is no easy feat by any means, but we promise that the spectacular view is worth it. Make sure to wake up early to catch the sunset views of the iconic Mount Cook summit!
For a lake hike: Lake Marian
Just a short 3 km hike, the trail climbs through a dense forest before emerging at an alpine lake at the base of an epic hanging valley. The hiking trail will take you away from the throngs of tourists at Milford Sound, so if you want to get off the beaten path, this one’s for you. Solitude, here we come!
For an adventurous hike: Avalanche Peak
Looking for something more challenging? Well then, the Avalanche Peak trail is for you. It’s considered as one of the demanding tracks as it requires climbing over large boulders while navigating along the trail. The five-hour trek will bring you a spectacular view of the valley, vistas, glacier and the winding Bealey River. Be sure to be on a lookout for Kea, an alpine parrot while you’re there too.
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