New Zealand is famous for its spectacular natural scenery and what’s more, it’s carefully protected. It’s not surprising that numerous movies have been filmed here. So if you’d like to go hiking in a movie set … please read on for our five favourite walks in New Zealand.
ABEL TASMAN COAST TRACK
Get going on a three- to five-day tour (51 km/32 m) on the coastal track of the Abel Tasman National Park. Walk like Robinson Crusoe along unspoilt beaches bordered by lush vegetation, passing by lagoons of turquoise water, all part of what you will experience on this coastal hike. If you’re tempted by a taste of heaven, go right ahead, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is suitable in any season.
The accommodation available along the path works on a reservation system: huts and camping sites must be booked beforehand throughout the year. However, day walks are free and to get an idea you can go for the 2-3 hour stroll from Tonga Bay to Bark Bay, which is stunning.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
TONGARIRRO ALPINE CROSSING
This hike is composed of 18 km throughout volcanic landscapes, alpine vegetation and the forests of Tongariro National Park. Rated as “the best one-day hike in New-Zealand”, the Alpine crossing passes through a breathtaking volcanic landscape – active caldera, smoking chimneys and beautiful coloured lakes.
Although theoretically doable in one day, this exhausting trek should not be taken lightly. The weather can change in suddenly so equip yourself carefully. If you aren’t at your best physical condition, take two days to do the trek and overnight at Ketathi refuge. The path is easy to reach from Mangatepopo Road close to the SH47 and Ketetahi Rd close to the SH46. Shuttles stop at both ends of the route. However you will need to book first and be ready to catch the bus to go back, because they don’t wait if you’re late.
This is a five-day trek (5 km/33m) through the rainforest and the hills of Milford Sound. This famous walk is generally considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. During the high season for hikes (end of October to end of April) the number of walkers is limited and you are required to book. You also must follow a specific 4-day itinerary. The accommodation is in huts and camping is not permitted. You can go alone or with a guide. Contact the Department Of Conservation of Te Anau or book online at www.doc.govt.nz.
QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK
You will need three to five days (71km/44m) to explore the amazing Marlborough Sounds. This famous path from the historical Ship Cove at Anakiwa passes through private land and Conservation Areas, revealing a stunning coastal landscape. It is easily doable for those of average physical fitness. It’s possible to split the trek up by taking water taxis, or you can also walk the whole track (3 to 5 days), or combine walking, kayaking or cycling. The trek is serviced by numerous travel agencies and boat services, allowing you to start or finish your journey wherever you want on foot, cycling or kayaking. As they already offer the service, it might be worth asking whether you could provide your own kayak if you have one. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own transport though, as you could look on the internet for different diy kayak trailer ideas instead of buying a brand new one! However, you might just want to hire a kayak for ease.
Accommodation is a few hours walk away, but boats can carry your luggage along the path.
Three days are needed to walk the Rakiura Track (37km/23m). It’s not a challenging walk, it’s doable all year round and the start of the walk is well indicated from Oban. It’s a unique opportunity to see several native birds, as well as beautiful beaches and native fauna. You will need to be of reasonable physical fitness but that’s all.
The landscape is spectacular and it’s one of the famous Great Walks, so it’s necessary to book the huts or camping sites in any season. Do this online at www.doc.govt.nz, or at the DOC office of the Rakiura National Park at Stewart Island.