New Zealand draws visitors in for lots of reasons, its welcoming people, fascinating Maori culture, and laid back pace of life amongst them. It’s undeniable, however, that the main draw for many is the stunning natural beauty of the scenery. There is truly no better way to fully immerse yourself in all that New Zealand has to offer than to get your hiking boots on and get out there! Here are our top tips for tackling five of the most adventurous hikes in New Zealand safely and responsibly.
No visit to New Zealand would be complete without the chance to see Mount Doom itself, and what better way than to climb it? This 19.4 km track leads you through volcanic landscapes, up the aptly named “Devil’s Staircase”, and across below the peak of Mount Ngauruhoe.
Weather conditions can be troublesome, and you should be prepared for strong winds when you reach the highest points, but the views from this hike make the effort worthwhile!
2. Abel Tasman Coast Track
You’ll have your pick of hiking trails in the enormous Abel Tasman National park, but the Coast Track allows you to enjoy beautiful beaches and coastal sealife as well as the sights and sounds of the forest. The entire track can be walked in 3-5 days, but being by the sea, you also have the option to hike a portion of the track and boat or kayak the rest of the way.
3. Franz Josef Glacier
Glacier country is a must-see, and with hiking trails to suit every time frame and fitness level, you are sure to find something that you will enjoy! Those with a head for heights can take part in heli-hikes on the glacier itself, weather permitting, of course.
If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, views over the glacier can be had along the Glacier Valley Walk, which will take around 1 hour 30 minutes, or the longer and steeper Robert’s Point track, which offers scrambles up steep slopes and a couple of hair-raising swing bridges – don’t look down!
4. Ben Lomond
Visitors often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Queenstown, and with no shortage of adrenaline-packed activities to choose from, hiking may fall by the wayside. It’s well worth making the effort to fit in some hikes, though, because this area of the country is incomparably beautiful.
It will take 6-8 hours if you want to climb the imposing Ben Lomond, which towers above Queenstown at 5735 ft, and you will be well rewarded for the challenging climb up with stunning views over the Southern Alps from the top.
5. Auckland Coast-to-Coast
This 16 km urban hike will take you from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean, via historic Auckland neighbourhoods and the landmarks of One Tree Hill, Mount Eden and the volcanic slopes of Albert Park. There’s no better way to get to know the city and see parts of it that most visitors will miss, plus you get to say you hiked across the width of the whole country!
Whatever kind of adventure you are after, New Zealand can offer it, so lace up your boots and get out there! And for more tips, head to Ben Groundwater’s The One Thing blog to read his recommendations for this wonderful country.
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