The 10 Great Walks of New Zealand - just don't get lost!

2019-03-07 13:53 - Gabi Zietsman
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The natural beauty of New Zealand is one of the biggest drawcards to this beautiful country, and one of the best ways to see it is on foot - without Ringwraiths chasing you around.

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The country might look like an island, but it's actually part of a submerged continent called Zealandia. Once upon a time it was under the sea, but Mother Earth decided it needed to see the light of day millions of years ago, and now its mountains are the only signs left of its rocky past.

Rivers that cut deep ravines, ancient forests where Maoris used to travel long distances and golden coastlines that beckon travellers to discover its underwater treasures.

Through these natural marvels are a myriad of walkways and hiking tracks that create a network of exciting trails in New Zealand's national parks, which make up one-third of the country's entire landmass. 

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In these networks there are 10 Great Walks - multi-day excursions (known as 'tramping' in New Zealand) that will show off the best parts of the country's mountainous areas, as well as a coastal track if you're looking for something a little more relaxed.

High season for hiking in New Zealand is from October to April, which falls over the summer months similar to South Africa.

Add one or all of these walking trails to your next Kiwi itinerary. 

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Milford Track, Fiordland

Days: 4 days

One of the country's most famous hiking trails, you'll follow Maori routes through lush forests, valleys and dazzling fiords for quick dips.

Rakiura Track, Steward Island

Days: 4 days

You'll have to gamble a bit with the elements, but if your tolerance for humanity is low head to Steward Island where there are more birds than people.

Lake Waikaremoana Track, Te Urewera

Days: 3 - 4 days

On this track you'll follow the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana and discover isolated beaches, giant trees and connect with your inner self with the area's rich spiritual history.

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Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Days: 3 - 5 days

The only coastal Great Walk, this is an easy meander through a national park on golden beaches, fur seals and a natural pool with a moss-lined waterslide.

Kepler Track, Fiordland

Days: 4 days

This track loops around the Fiordland National Park through mountain tops, grasslands, past waterfalls and the Luxmore Caves waiting to be explored.

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Days: 3 - 4 days

This is the perfect trail for Lord of the Rings fans as Tongariro's volcanic landscape and emerald green mineral lakes were the setting for the movie's Mordor.

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Routeburn Track, Fiordland

Days: 2 - 4 days

Perfect for those who want to travel through the Alps like a Hobbit, you'll be blessed with stunning views of Hollyford Valley and Darren Mountains.

Heaphy Track, West Coast

Days: 5 days

Starting off in tussock downs and nikau palms, you'll wind your way to the roaring seas of New Zealand's West Coast - you can also do the trail by bike!

Whanganui Journey

Days: 5 days

If you want to step back in history, this trip - which is more a 145km kayaking journey - follows the routes used by Maori on the Whanganui River before it became a steamboat highway when Europeans came to New Zealand.

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Pike29 Memorial Track

Days: 2 - 3 days

This is a brand new trail that's opening in 2019, where you'll follow the Pike River through the Paparoa Range past the old mine where 29 men died in the 2010 mining disaster.

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