Top hiking tours New Zealand is renowned for

New Zealand’s countryside is just begging to be explored by foot. Are you up for the challenge?

Offering a delicious mix of verdant hills, striking volcanoes, tranquil lakes and rugged mountain, New Zealand is a hiker’s dream destination.

Both North and South islands offer enticing well-marked routes with options fit for everyone from the casual wanderer to the seasoned hiker. So whichever you are, we’ll bet you won’t be able to resist tying up your laces to make the journey to see these breathtaking vistas.

What kind of hiking tour are you after?

Top destinations for one-day hiking tours in New Zealand


1. Milford Sound

This Fiordland escape is an icon of the South Island. Brimming with waterfalls and lush forest, the area provides easy, short walks with astounding scenery.

  • Highlights: Arthur River, Lake Ada, Sandfly Point and Giant’s Gate waterfall.
  • Difficulty: Low.
  • Duration: 5 hours.

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2. Routeburn Track

One of New Zealand’s great walks, the Routeburn is a 32km tramping adventure in the South Island. Shorter walks are also available, including this 22km hike.

  • Highlights: Southern Alps, Mount Aspiring National Park, Routeburn Canyon and Routeburn Falls.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Duration: 7 hours, 22km.

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3. Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Whether you’re catching the sunset over Red Crater or trekking to a backdrop of snow-capped peaks during winter, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a spectacle to behold.

  • Highlights: Mangatepopo, Red Crater, Blue Lake, Ketetahi Hut and hot springs.
  • Difficulty: Easy. This hike can be customised to meet varying levels of fitness.
  • Duration: Full days. Times will vary depending on the route for the day.

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4. Mount Tarawera

Follow the winding trail up Mount Tarawera as you learn about the crater and its volcanic history on this all-encompassing expedition. Panoramic views over the geothermal valley Waimangu: gratis.

  • Highlights: Views over Waimangu and Mount Tarawera crater edge.
  • Difficulty: Low to moderate.
  • Duration: 4 hours.

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5. Franz Josef Heli Hike

For a different kind of hike, try a heli hike on one of New Zealand’s most famous glaciers. After landing you’ll explore its exquisite icefall terrain of pinnacles, crevices and ice formations and learn about the physical geography by foot.

  • Highlights: Glacier hike.
  • Difficulty: Low to moderate.
  • Duration: Two hours.

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Top multi-day hiking tours in New Zealand

Hike, eat, camp, repeat. These multi-day hikes and treks will take you through massive chunks of each island for the ultimate adventure.


1. Marlborough Sounds and Abel Tasman Trail

Double down and sample two of the finest walks on the northern side of the South Island. That’s the Abel Tasman and Queen Charlotte trails for those of you playing at home.

  • Highlights: Kaikoura Peninsula, Nelson Lakes, Hanmer Springs, Motueka, Mount Robert and Saint Arnaud.
  • Difficulty: Low.
  • Duration: 7 days.

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2. Milford Sound and Stewart Island Trails

Amp up your Milford Sound trekking adventure by tacking on a foot-stomping journey around Stewart Island. Known for its diversity, there’s plenty of adventurous activities such as kayaking you can opt into here, too.

  • Highlights: Lake Roxburgh, Catlins, Stewart Island, Knobs Flat and Hollyford Track.
  • Difficulty: Low.
  • Duration: 8 days.

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3. North Island Multi-sport

Experts in adventurous activities, G Adventures pushes you to the limit with this multi-sport wonder. On top of hiking, you’ll get the chance to bike, raft and kayak across the land.

  • Highlights: Hahei, Rotorua, Tongariro National Park, Whanganui National Park and Raetihi.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Duration: 8 days.

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4. Southern Alps

You’re sure to win bragging rights after taking on this battlefield. It includes hikes up two peaks, lake and ridge hikes and a helicopter transfer – because you can.

  • Highlights: Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Lake Ohau, Mount Aspiring and Wanaka.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Duration: 6 days.

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5. Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track

Those short on time but busting to capture the essence of New Zealand’s South Island and its lakes, peaks and forest can hit up the Tuatapere Hump Ridge track and its 55 kilometres of unspoiled wilderness.

  • Highlights: Tuatapere, Okaka, Hump Ridge, Stag Point, Port Craig and Blowholes Beach.
  • Difficulty: Low to moderate.
  • Duration: 4 days.

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6. Mount Aspiring

Aspire to great heights by tackling Mount Aspiring. This glacial mountain is the only peak over 3,000 metres outside Mount Cook National Park and is a picture of river valleys and snow-capped peaks.

  • Highlights: Matukituki Valley, Quarterdeck Pass Glacier and Bonar Glacier.
  • Difficulty: Moderate to advanced.
  • Duration: 3 days.

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7. Hollyford Track

Located in Fiordland National Park, Hollyford Track is one of New Zealand’s most idyllic and easily accessible tracks. On it, you’ll pass through lush rainforest and cascading waterfalls and retrace the footsteps of the indigenous Maori.

  • Highlights: Hollyford Valley, Hollyford River, Mount Madeline, Darren Range, Lake McKerrow, Long Reef and Martin’s Bay Spit.
  • Difficulty: Low.
  • Duration: 3 days, 43km.

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New Zealand hiking tour deals

Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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