Hiking in Hiker Paradise

New Zealand's Great Walks
  |  Gorp.com
Tongariro Northern Circuit

New Zealand boasts so many hiking trails, it's hard to know where to start your exploration of this scenic and diverse country. The Kiwis are world-class trampers; why not take them at their word? New Zealand's Department of Conservation has designated eight treks as "Great Walks" and you can't argue with their choice of adjective. Each one of these classic tramps offers stunning scenery and a world-class hiking experience.

The "Great Walks" range from the gentle coves and beaches of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track to the stark, severe, almost lunar-like landscape of the volcanically active Tongariro Northern Circuit. There's also the dramatic above-bushline glory of the Kepler Track and the world-famous Milford Track (known as the "finest walk in the world").

Well maintained, with easy grades and dramatic scenery, the great walks are easy enough that anyone in reasonable shape can do them—but they reward even the most experienced backpacker with some of the world's most outstanding scenery. On all of the Great Walks, hikers can sleep in huts, usually spaced between four and six hours of walking from each other. Most of the tracks (with the exception of the Milford Track) also offer tent sites for those who prefer privacy. Permits and hut passes are required and can be obtained from the Department of Conservation offices.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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