New Zealand


Mount Cook - by Chris New Zealand is paradise for hikers. Tramping, as hiking or walking is called here, is very popular and well organised. Most tramps are inside one of New Zealand’s 14 NPs and 19 National Forests.
From the northern tip to Stewart Island in the south, New Zealand stretches out for 1.600 km, and the country has a 10% larger area than Great Britain. Thanks to high rainfall, its elongated north-south position, geology, mountains and winds, the country offers an enormous variety in landscapes. You will find countless rivers and lakes filled with fish, lush rainforests, alpine ridges and active volcanoes. The coastline is seemingly endless and varied, and dotted with small beaches. In all these landscapes hiking trails have been laid out. Ideal if you are looking for wilderness and isolation.
Trails, or tracks as they are called locally, and so-called backcountry huts are mostly maintained by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Tramping is possible on all levels of difficulty. The DOC distinguishes 6 Track Categories:

  • Easy Access Tracks (very short)
  • Short Walks
  • Walking track (2429 km): day hikes
  • Great walks (380 km) and Easy tramping tracks (895 km): track is generally well formed, may be steep, rough or muddy
  • Tramping tracks (7803 km): track is mostly unformed with steep, rough or muddy sections
  • Routes (1458 km): challenging; Track is mostly unformed with steep, rough or muddy sections

A special category are the so-called 9 Great Walks. In fact there are only 8, because the Whanganui Journey is a paddling route. These Great Walks are very scenic, not too difficult, and consequently most popular. During high season – from mid December until late January – these are best avoided. The Great Walks are:

  • Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, 42 km, 4 days
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit, 50 km, 4 days
  • Whanganui Journey - paddle, 144 km, 5 days
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track, 51 km, 5 days
  • Heaphy Track, 78 km, 5 days
  • Routeburn Track, 32 km, 3 days
  • Milford Track, 54, 4 days
  • Kepler Track, 60 km, 4 days
  • Rakiura Track, Stewart Island, 36 km, 3 days

All tramps have huts and camp sites. You will need to bring your own food. Also bring your own stove for cooking, except on the Great Walks where the huts have a kitchen with stove. Most huts are basic and cheap, The better and popular ones may be staffed by a warden. There are three categories of huts:

  • 1000 huts in the NPs. Payment with tickets purchased in advance at for instance DOC visitor information centres. You can also buy a Backcountry Hut Pass, valid for one year, and a good deal if used for 10 nights or more.
  • There are a few Alpine Service Huts, high up in the mountains, which are a lot more expensive
  • Great Walk Huts: these have their own separate ticket system and require a special Great Walks Pass. In addition these Great Walks, because of their popularity, are bookable online (DOC) and consequently frequently booked-out during high season.

Summer holidays in New Zealand run from mid December until late January. In this period walking trails are very busy. The Great Walks will be fully booked if you haven’t booked early. If you can avoid the high season, from mid November and until mid April is also a good time for hiking, although you may encounter snow high up in the mountains. Weather is changeable at all times.


North Island

South Island





De Zwerver
United Kingdom
  • Classic Walks of New Zealand
  • Classic Walks of New Zealand is a best-selling tribute to nine of New Zealand's finest walking tracks. This revised and updated edition now includes superb Bird's Eye maps that show each route in three dimensions. Classic Walks will serve both as an inspiring introduction to walking these tracks and a high-quality memento of great experiences. Read more
  • Also available from:
  • De Zwerver, Netherlands
  •, Germany
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De Zwerver
  • Wandelgids Neuseeland - Nieuw Zeeland | Rother |
  • Handig compact wandelgidsje uit de Bekende rode serie van Bergverlag Rother. Met 65 wandelingen en trekkings op zowel het Noorder als het Zuidereiland. De routes zijn voorzien van een hoogteprofiel en routeschets. Duitstalig. Neuseeland, das »Land der langen weißen Wolke«, ist an Abwechslung nur schwer zu übertreffen. Reich an Kontrasten und... Read more
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United Kingdom
  • New Zealand Step by Step Insight Guide
  • New Zealand in the Step by Step series by Insight Guides focuses on providing tailor made walks and tours around the city. The guide features eighteen route recommendations that link up better known sights and take you off of the more beaten track; they are written by local experts who have personally selected places to eat and drink en-route... Read more
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United Kingdom
  • Niue
  • Niue at 1:50,000 on an indexed map from New Zealand Read more
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Walking holidays

  • Trekking in New Zealand
  • New Zealand epitomises contrasting scenery and culture and is an ideal country for adventure travel. Explore both islands as you weave your way through New Zealand on this active trip, visiting all the main highlights and many off-the-beaten-track attractions. Maximise your time in out of the way places and yet still marvel at the iconic... Read more
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