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22 New Zealand Hikes You Need To Do Before You Die

Whether you have three hours or seven days, you’ll find a hike for you.


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This 16km hike crosses the width of the country, and should only take you about 5 hours. Check out the harbour, explore Auckland city, and climb volcanic hills for stunning views.

2. The Pinnacles Track

The Pinnacles Track

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This 12km hilly walk in the Coromandel region has breathtaking vistas of the peninsula, craggy mountains, and the beautiful terrain that is so unique to New Zealand.

3. Coromandel Coastline Walk

Coromandel Coastline Walk

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If you only have a day in Coromandel, make sure you do this walk. It’s a 10km path, passing underneath Mt Moehau and along the glistening coastline. If you don’t want to double back at the end of the path, there are shuttles which will take you back to the town.

If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, you’ll certainly enjoy admiring the Putangirua Pinnacles, which were used as a filming location for the ‘Paths of the Dead’ scene. Allow about three hours for this 7km walk.

Though this is just an hour-long walk, it is a perfect way to spend a sunny day, with a picnic at the end. From Shelley Beach along the peninsula to Queen Charlotte Sound, it’s probably one of the most stunning views in the country.

6. Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach

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Nelson is one of the best parts of the countries for hikers to explore. This walk is easy but has surreal views of the coastline and deserted beaches. Look out for seals, rock pools and hidden caves. You can add a few hours to your walk by continuing onto Farewell Spit.

7. Franz Josef Walk

Franz Josef Walk

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Though it’s only a 5km walk, it’s fairly challenging and rocky at times. Pass by the glacier and be rewarded with wonderful icy views. Get tips for preparing for your walk here.

8. Hooker Valley Tracks

Hooker Valley Tracks

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This is a 13km riverside walk through the Mt Cook National Park, peppered with views of icebergs, mountains and glaciers. It’s mostly flat but can be a bit muddy at times so make sure you’re wearing the right shoes.

This spectacular path follows the gorge rim then descends down into a forest valley and across bridges which will take your breath away with their beauty.

10. The Outlet Track

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This 3km, one hour stroll is perfect for walkers of any age. The reflections on the Clutha River are particularly wondrous, and it’s amazing during autumn when the track is carpeted with orange and red leaves.

11. Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

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Just outside Queenstown, this is either a four- or eight- hour walk, depending how much of it you want to do! There are mind-blowing panoramic views that’ll take your breath away and make your toes tingle. You’ll need a relatively high fitness level to tackle this one- there are quite a few hills.

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12. Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

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This is a 41km hike and should take about three or four days. It offers up stunning views of the active volcano Mount Ngauruhoe and its surrounding landscapes: peaks, crater lakes, explosion pits, and hills formed by flowing lava. It incorporates the Tongariro Crossing day trek but gives you a longer and more memorable walking experience. There are huts and campsites along the way.

13. Lake Waikaremoana

Lake Waikaremoana

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This three to four day hike is 46km long and takes you through rain forests, along the shores of the lake and will reward your hard work with incredible panoramas. The wildlife here is abundant, and you’ll hear amazing birdsong at sunrise and sunset. There are campsites and huts along the way.

14. Queen Charlotte Track

Queen Charlotte Track

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This 70km, five day hike will take you through forests which look completely untouched by humans. If it’s your thing, you can kayak or cycle certain portions of the track. The views of Marlborough sounds are simply amazing, and you’ll also come up close to a ton of local wildlife. There are campsites and lodges along the route.

15. Milford Track

Milford Track

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This 53km track is arguably one of New Zealand’s most well known walks. You’ll pass towering mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes and the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. Though it’d be more comfortable in dry weather, it is particularly wonderful with torrents of rainwater cascading down the steep mountainsides. Camping isn’t allowed but there are three public lodges you can stay at if you book ahead.

16. Abel Tasman Coast Track

Abel Tasman Coast Track

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Spend four days traversing this 51km route along the scenic north coast of the South Island. Get up close with seals and dolphins, paddle in the water of sparkling etches and pass through ancient forests. There are a number of waterfront campsites so you can wake to the sound of crashing waves and a sunrise over the water.

17. Heaphy Track

Heaphy Track

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This five to six day, 78km hike is incredibly diverse. You’ll get a mix of rainforest, grasslands, mountains and surf beaches. It’s certainly not too easy of a walk but it is certainly an experience that makes it all worth it. This track was first used by Maori hunters travelling around the country. There are heated huts and campsites along the way.

18. Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track

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This three-day hike on Stuart Island will make you feel incredibly in touch with nature. Listen to melodic birdsong as you traverse beautiful wilderness, and feel entirely at peace as you sleep under the stars and relax on white sand beaches.

19. Ball Pass

Ball Pass

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This 35km hike is for experienced trekkers, as it is a snowy and icy track that requires basic mountaineering skills. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, 360 degree views out to Lake Pukaku and the Tasman Glacier. Camp along the way but make sure you bring enough warm and waterproof camping supplies.

20. Kepler Track

Kepler Track

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A 60km track through fjord lands, this hike is particularly beautiful in the winter. Be amazed by glaciers, huge mountains, rivers and tumbling waterfalls. Book accommodation at one of the huts dotting the track before you set off.

21. Travers Sabine Circuit

Travers Sabine Circuit

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This 80km journey is nothing short of epic. Fans of birds will enjoy the diverse wildlife, and fans of scenery will rejoice in the mountain vistas, clear streams and amazingly clear air. The walk itself is fairly advanced, and there are huts along the track if you’re not keen on camping.

22. St James Walkway

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A 66km hike, this route takes you through f

Published: June 17, 2015

New Zealand’s Greatest Beaches

Do you agree with all of these beaches below? Do you know of any hidden gems that have been left off the list? Write your responses in the comment section below.

Ninety Mile Beach

Technically a highway, this is a great beach for driving on – but beware, many car insurance policies won’t cover you if you get stuck! Taking a coach tour from the Bay of Islands is probably your safest bet for a great day out. The tours usually carry boogie boards so you can go flying down the famous sand dunes.

Mission Bay, Auckland

A grassy reserve rolls into this busy but safe beach in the heart of Auckland. Cafes and restaurants line the road and in front of you rises the majestic Rangitoto Island.

Onetangi, Waiheke Island

Just half an hour by ferry from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island is studded with vineyards and surrounded by more bays and beaches than you could count. Onetangi is a 2km stretch of white sand just 10 km from the heart of the main centre of Oneroa. Oneroa beach is a few steps below the heart of the main shopping and dining village.

Piha, West Auckland

New Zealand’s west coast beaches are carpeted in velvety soft black sand thanks to historic volcanic activity. Piha is the home of surfing and awesome sunsets. Just beware of strong rips that can fool swimmers.

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel

For a totally unique experience, bring a spade and dig yourself a Jacuzzi in the sand. Underwater hot springs bubble to the surface at temperatures of up to 65c, so bring a bucket to cool your pool when necessary! The best time to visit is one hour either side of low tide.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

Two beaches on the Coromandel sounds excessive, but this one is stunning. You’ll walk (or boat) to this incredible rock formation in the marine reserve shaped like a cathedral. You may even find a wedding when you arrive. The track starts at the northern end of Hahei.


Drive an hour and half south west from Auckland to Raglan where this little artsy town is famous with surfers. Manu Bay has the longest, most accessible left hand break in the world. Whale Bay is for competent surfers who will have to do some serious paddling past a rocky shelf. Not for grommets!

Waimarama Beach, Hawke’s Bay

This quiet beach is a hidden gem popular with Hawke’s Bay residents. Located 20 minutes from Havelock North on the east coast, this long stretch of sandy beach has a deep low tide that creates wonderful warm swimming on the incoming tide and is a safe family beach.

Abel Tasman National Park

At the tip of the South Island, some of these picturesque beaches and bays are only accessible by kayaks. Expect photogenic white sand and turquoise water lapping against native bush and limestone cliffs. Experience the National Park from the water on a full day catamaran sailing trip.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland

Only the hard core will swim in the chilly waters of Doubtful Sound, but to get up close to the breathtaking Middle Earth scenery and soaring mountains, a cruise or kayak trip through this part of the South Island is a must.

Published: March 7, 2014 | Comments: 0