Walk with us through some of New Zealand's most astonishing landscapes.
One of the best ways to explore New Zealand is to really immerse yourself in its beauty. Going by camper not only offers you the flexibility and freedom to stop where you like, when you like, you'll also be able to explore any of the Department of Conservation (DOC) 9 Great Walks and still have somewhere comfortable to rest after a long day of walking, or swap your walking shoes at the end of a long track for wheels to explore even more of the region.
The 9 Great Walks are all premier, well-formed and easy to follow walking tracks, making it easy for you to explore them on your own terms, either doing sections with the family or completing the whole track with a walking buddy. A number of
local operators also offer one day tours on most of the DOC tracks, so why not add a whole new dimension to your experience and learn from the locals!
As you pass through New Zealand's most beautiful scenery, you'll clock up some serious walking miles!
Lake Waikaremoana (46kms)
A four day track, with just the right amount of rugged terrain and spectacular views to explore. A great walk for those who are new to hiking, all rivers and streams have bridges with well formed, marked tracks. Lake Waikaremoana is the perfect place to indulge yourself in New Zealand's native wildlife, being one of the few places where both native New Zealand bat species (the long and short-tailed bats) call home. With
several day track options available, you might find yourself spending more time in the area than you planned!
Tongariro Northern Circuit (43.1kms)
Tongariro is the perfect track to explore in chunks. Take three days to explore the full track, or take one of the day hikes up to see the stunning Emerald lakes. This unique track winds its way around active volcanos! The diversity of this walk will overwhelm you with everything from dramatic volcanic landscapes, winter snowfields, alpine herbs and native birds, to forests and tranquil lakes. A number of
guided day trips are also available for the Tongariro Crossing.
Whanganui Journey (145kms)
A 145km river journey, taking 5 days to complete via canoe. Although a river journey, the Whanganui still forms part of New Zealand's 9 Great Walks. The Whanganui River is an area of great cultural importance, allowing you to plunge yourself in New Zealands rich history and culture. You may even be fortunate enough to participate in a powhiri if the whanau are present at the marae when you arrive. Does 5 days sound like a lot of kayaking? Why not try it out by doing a
one day tour!
Abel Tasman Coast Track (54.4kms)
The Abel Tasman is able to be walked in three – five days, or broken up into bite-sized chunks and explored on a day trek. With a series of incomparable estuaries and rivers and pristine waterways, you'll quickly be mesmerised not just by the stunning landscapes above water, but below it as well with fourteen native fish species for you to try and spot. Another option to cut this great walk into managable pieces is to combine
day trips with the water-taxi!
Heaphy Track (78.4kms)
The longest of the 9 Great Walks, this track will leave you spellbound with its diverse landscapes. Between May and September, you can even take your bike along this track to carve out a little more distance in a shorter amount of time. Keep your eyes peeled for the giant Kaui snail as you wander through beautiful beech forest, expansive tussock grasslands, lush forests, nikau palms and roaring seas.
Routeburn Track (32kms)
One of the most outstanding tracks in New Zealand, the Routeburn Track has both
family day trips as well as multi-day treks. Enjoy Ice-carved valleys clad with beech forest, pristine blue alpine lakes, rugged mountains iced with snow. If you're lucky you may even capture a glimpse of the endangered mohua (yellow head).
Kepler Track (60kms)
With some great day walking options on offer from either Rainbow Beach or Kepler Park, it won't matter if you're limited on time – you'll still be able to make the most of this great track. Even the
5 - 6 hour track will offer you panoramic views of Kepler and Murchison Mountains and beyond. Parts of this track may challenge you with some steep climbs, but DOC guarantee the views from the top are definitely worth it!
Milford Track (53.5kms)
Dubbed as 'the finest walk in the world', it's easy to see why as you make your way through Fiordland National Park's incredible landscapes, waterfalls and early-settlement history. If you're lucky it may even rain, yes – we really did say if you're lucky! During the rain you can watch entire valley walls transform into incredible waterfalls. You may even get to spot a cheeky kea or an endangered whio (blue duck). Whilst independent day walks aren't available, it's definitely worth treating yourself to a
one-day guided tour!
Rakiura Track (32kms)
New Zealand's southernmost walk is suitable for anyone wanting to explore Stewart Island by foot. This track should be on every bird-watchers bucket list, as Stewart Island's prolific birdlife will leave even the least interested bird-watcher agape. You'll also pass through lush forest, relics of bygone days, beaches and rugged coast lines. A number of
day options are available with water-taxi making the trip over to Stewart Island a breeze!
To find out more about the
9 Great Walks, the Department of Conservation can help you to plan your hike.