My Favorite Walks in New Zealand

by Katja Kaven

During my time in New Zealand (both times, actually), I’ve done a lot of hiking. Let me tell you, New Zealand is the perfect place for that! If you plan on going there, definitely check out my favorite walks in New Zealand.

Abel Tasman National Park

Location: Marahau, South Island
Duration: 3 to 5 days
Level: Easy

How to get to the track: The beginning of the track is in walking distance from your accommodation in Marahau. I would highly recommend staying at Adventure Inn Marahau. This awesome place made it to the top of the list of my favorite accommodations in New Zealand.
If you just want to do parts of the walk, you can get into the park by aqua taxi. Book your aqua taxi here.

You’ll find a lot of nice views for taking a break!

This was definitely one of the coolest experiences of my time in New Zealand. I am a beach lover, so walking along the coast of Abel Tasman National Park was amazing for me. The whole track is 60km long (according to my Fitbit, I walked 80km though with going down to beaches and taking detours to Cleopatras Falls etc.). Most people finish their walk in three to five days.

I don’t think I can ever get enough of these view on one of my favorite walks in New Zealand.

There are different options for staying in the park. You can sleep in a tent (you need to book your campsites in advance though), stay at the huts or get “real” accommodation. For example, I stayed at Aquapackers in Anchorage Bay (which also made the list of my favorite accommodations in New Zealand).

This is me, finishing the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk after three days.

Roys Peak

Location: Wanaka, South Island
Duration: 6 hours (includes waiting for sunrise for 45 minutes and multiple photo shootings)
Difficulty: Hard

How to get to the track: Most accommodations organize shuttles for the morning. If you book with Base you’re guaranteed to only pay five NZD (3€), with other accommodations it often depends on how many people are going. For going back to the center, you can just hitchhike (or call up the shuttle company that dropped you off there).

Arguably one of the most famous walks of New Zealand, Roys Peak is worth more than just taking countless amazing pictures for Instagram. The views are absolutely stunning and I had to pinch myself more than once to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The landscape just doesn’t even look real.

This could be you standing there!

A lot of people do Roys Peak for sunrise and I would advise you to do the same. For once, because seeing the sun rising from Roys Peak is just amazing. Also, this is a quite challenging hike, so doing the most work before the sun is out is definitely a good idea.

You’ve definitely earned that sunrise if you’ve climbed all the way up!

From the start of the track, it will take you around two hours up to the viewpoint. You know, the famous one where everyone takes their Instagram pictures. And the one where people have waited for up an hour just to get their perfect shot. Another perk of being there early: you probably don’t even have to wait. I just had to wait for one couple to finish their photo shoot in order to get my picture when I was on my way down.

I couldn’t not get that classic shot.

From that point, it is a 30 to 45-minute walk up to the top. Look for shortcuts when you get closer to the top. The main path goes around everything so takes a little longer but there is a path closer to the edge.

Roys Peak has been the most challenging but also the most rewarding hiking track for me in New Zealand. Even though it definitely is one of the most crowded walks, I would still 100% recommend doing it!

Ben Lomond

Location: Queenstown, South Island
Duration: 5 ½ to 6 hours (or approximately 1 ¾ h less if you take the gondola up and down)
Level: Moderate

How to get to the track: Ben Lomond Track (or rather the Tiki Trail, the first part of the track) starts right at the base station of the Queenstown Gondola. It is just a short walk away from the city center.

The track starts quite challenging with the Tiki Trail leading up to the gondola. If you look at the gondola, it makes sense that this part has to be quite steep. It will probably take you around 50 minutes to an hour to get to the top station of the gondola.

You can catch your breath on the next bit. From the upper gondola station to the Saddle it takes a good hour. This part is not very steep though so you can save your energy for the last part.

This is not even the summit…

The last part of the track is definitely the most challenging and will also take you around an hour (definitely depending on the strength of the sun). In some parts, you almost have to climb a little bit.

The view is definitely worth the climb though!

I actually did this walk twice (because I didn’t have that good of a view the first time around) and really enjoyed it. In addition, even though you are just minutes away from busy Queenstown, very few tourists will actually go all the way up which can be a nice thing. So, of course I’ve had to include it in my favorite walks in New Zealand.

Just make sure there are no clouds.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Location: Tongariro National Park, close to Taupo, North Island
Duration: 6 hours
Level: Easy

How to get to the track: You can book a shuttle from Taupo with Tongariro Expeditions. If you are traveling with Kiwi Experience, you’ll get a discount (find the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on my list of favorite activities with Kiwi Experience).

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19.4 km tramping track. Make sure to spend enough time in Taupo if you want to do the crossing, as it is highly weather-dependent and gets canceled a lot of the times. If it is on, you’re in for a treat though! You’ll be picked up by a shuttle in Taupo nice and early at 5:10am in the morning. After a 1 ½ hour drive, you’ll reach the Tongariro National Park where your adventure begins. The nature is beautiful, and the hike is a lot of fun. You’ll pass craters, lakes, and forests on your way.

You might even get to see some snow on this hike.

The first and easy bit to the Soda Springs will probably take you around an hour. It took us another 50 minutes to the South Crater. That part was definitely a little bit more challenging. From South Crater to Red Crater Ridge, it will take you around ten minutes. Your last ascent to Red Crater Summit is around half an hour and a little bit challenging again.

Walking across the South Crater is very cool.

It all goes downhill from there (see what I did there?). The first bit down to the Emerald Lakes isn’t hard but you should concentrate in order not to slip. After that, a little over 3 hours of easy descent are awaiting you.

This walk is a must do and since it is the easiest one on here, you won’t have any problems doing it!

Of course, I had to pose with the sign at the summit.

That’s it for my favorite walks in New Zealand. Have you done any of them before? Let me know in the comments down below! Also, let me know if you plan on doing any of my favorite walks in New Zealand.

For more tips for your trip to New Zealand, make sure to take a look at these blog posts! Tamaki Maori Village Overnight Stay – Is It Worth The Money? The Best Activities with Kiwi ExperienceThe Best Accommodations in New ZealandThings to do in TaupoKiwi Experience – where to stay longer (how to spend 2 months in New Zealand)Free things to do in Wellington

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