World → Australasia → New Zealand
The best hiking region in the world is
NEW ZEALAND Top 10
New Zealand — all things considered — is the best hiking destination in the world. It’s also arguably the best holiday destination.
Nowhere else can you do so much varied “tramping”, so easily, year round.
Note: Tramping is Kiwi for hiking.
- hundreds of magnificent trails
- superb tourist infrastructure
- perhaps the best hostels in the world
- terrific hut system
- convenient public transport
- easily available trailhead shuttle service
- good management by the DOC (Department of Conservation)
- the nine (actually eight) “Great Walks” are very well marketed — but there are many equally good tramps not listed
- great hiking for all levels of ability
- best weather Jan-Mar
WHY WE LIKE THIS REGION
- if it were anywhere else in the world, less remote, tourists would overrun it
- travel in New Zealand is still relative inexpensive
- hike both North & South Islands, both wonderful, both utterly different
- tiny New Zealand has every climatic zone on Earth, even a small desert on the Tongariro Circuit
- challenging alpine hiking with no risk of altitude sickness (the glaciated peaks are low)
- superb volcano hiking and scrambling
- fantastic hot springs, hot rivers, and even hot beaches
- blissful coastal hiking
- unique Kiwi flora and fauna
- interesting new “private” hikes on “private” land
- special features
- Maori cultural and spiritual associations
- easy and inexpensive to get a quality hiking guide
- almost no dangerous wildlife (unless you get bitten by a rabid possum)
- sandflies on the west coast of the South Island are the worst biting insects we’ve ever encountered. (In fact, we were driven off the Heaphy Track after only 1-night.)
- over Christmas many of the famous trails are packed with Kiwis
- avoid the mountain trails July – August
- getting a reservation to hike the famed Milford Track is difficult. But there are a half dozen hikes nearby, just as good, that you can get on easily.
- Tongariro Crossing is a MUST HIKE, but it could be the busiest difficult walk anywhere
The BEST HIKE in New Zealand is the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
Our favourite guide book:
- Lonely Planet Hiking & Tramping in New Zealand.