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10 Unreal Hikes of New Zealand 

Who said you had to walk for days to get great views and find yourself alone in the wilderness ?  New Zealand is definitely one of the place that doesn’t follow that rule. With a population of only 1.038 million, New Zealand South Island is the perfect place to escape from the crowds and reconnect with nature.

In my previous post, I presented some of the best Great walks of New Zealand that get you to experience the wild and beautiful landscape of the country on a multi day hike. Its obvious that not everyone is comfortable or even eager to go walk for more than one day so I compile 10 day hikes on both of the North and the South Island that are perfect for casual walkers. 1. Rangitoto summit trail

Length: 11.7 km

Difficulty: Easy

Situation: Auckland, North island

Price: 30$ from Auckland central (sea shuttle)

Only a 20 minutes ferry ride from Auckland harbour, Rangitoto volcanic island is the biggest dormant volcano in the surroundings of Auckland. It is also a pretty cool hike to do on a beautiful day to have great views of the city from a different perspective. I decided to do the summit trail combine with the summit road and the McKenzie bay road that makes a loop. Going to Rangitoto is a great family activity as the trails are well indicated and the climb mellow.

2. Waiheke

Difficulty: Easy

Situation: Auckland, North island

Price: 36$

Another island in the Hauraki golf that offers great walking trails would be Waiheke. A ferry also run between the island and Auckland harbour everyday (35 minutes). Keep in mind that unlike Rangitoto, Waiheke is a lot more develop and counts a number of accommodation and shops around the island. This obviously means that it attracts a lot more tourist, but, surprisingly, once you get on the trail you’re pretty much on our own. The entire trail is a circuit around the island, but it can easily be divided in day hikes. The best thing about this trail is that you’ll get diverse scenery along the way. From beautiful beaches to endless vineyards field, Waiheke coast trail is breathtaking. 3. Tongariro crossing

Length: 18 km

Difficulty: Intermediate

Situation: Tongariro National park, North island

Price: 30$ (shuttle from town)

5 hours south of Auckland, Tongariro National park is home to one of the most famous New Zealand trail: the Tongariro crossing. You can find more information on the trail in my previous post on the New Zealand Great Walks. This trail is certainly home to the the most unreal scenery in New Zealand!

4. Golden bay

Length: 8 km

Difficulty: Easy

Situation: Golden bay, South Island

Price: Free

One of the most overlooked area by tourist, Golden bay is probably one of my favorite place in New Zealand. Most travellers visiting the South Island will go to the famous Abel Tasman National park in the north and than quickly make their way down south without knowing they just missed out on one of New Zealand best place. Hilltop trail from Wharariki beach to Cape farewell offers dramatic view on the ocean and reminds me a little bit of England. The trail goes through green hills where hundreds of sheeps are hanging around, so you might want to look where you step.

5. Nelson lakes mt 

Length: 9 km

Difficulty: Intermediate to advance Situation: Nelson lakes National park, South Island Price: Free

Nelson lakes national park offers a great range of hiking trails from beginner to expert. It is also one of the most accessible national park if your based in Nelson and you’re missing the mountains. Mt Robert summit trail is a good hike that will make you sweat a little, but the views at the summit are totally worth it. Best part is while ur walking down, you’ll have a beautiful view on lake Rotoiti where you’ll probably want to swim after ur big walk! 6. Franz Joseph glacier

Length: 5.4 km

Difficulty: Easy Situation: West coast, South Island Price: Free

On the west coast of the South Island, Franz Joseph and Fox glacier are on every travellers bucket list when in New Zealand. Short on time, we decided to visit only Franz Joseph. To be honest, I was a little disappointed by the views we got of the glacier from the trail. Afterwards, I was told that Fox glacier was a lot nicer, so if you were wondering which one to stop to, I would definitely go with Fox glacier. Nonetheless, the best way to explore the glaciers is still to get an helicopter tour where you’ll get to walk directly on the glacier. How cool is that?

7. Key summit

Length: 6.8 km

Difficulty: Easy to intermediate Situation: Fiordland National park, South Island Price: Free

The Key summit trail is a side trail to the Routeburn track, my favorite Great walk. If you’re not too keen to go on a 3 days hike, this trail would be a great alternative to the Routeburn. Plus, it’s on the way to famous Milford Sound so it can easily be combine and done in the same day. When you get to the summit you’ll quickly understand why Fiordland National park is rated as one of the most beautiful national park in the world. This trail is definitely not to be missed! 8. Roys peak

Length: 16 km

Difficulty: Intermediate to advance Situation: Wanaka, South Island Price: Free

Roys peak is the #1 attraction in the beautiful town of Wanaka and probably one of the most Instagrammed place in New Zealand.  I’m not gonna lie, this is probably the hardest hike I did in New Zealand! What makes it harder than the other trails is the steepness of the climb. Once you reach the summit and you look down on the car park, you’ll see how far you came from. Than you’ll look up and you will understand why so many people photograph this summit. Their is no words to describe this place. From the top, you’ll have incredible views on Wanaka, my all time favorite town in New Zealand. 9. Bue pools

Length: 3 km

Difficulty: Easy Situation: Mt Aspiring National park, South Island Price: Free

An hour drive from Wanaka, the blue pools are one of the main attraction in Mt Aspiring National park. The trail to the blue pools will take barely 15 minutes, so this is definitely a good stop to do if you’re heading to the West coast by Haast pass as it is on the way. I must admit, my favorite part of my blue pool adventure was definitely the drive to get there. From Wanaka, you’ll drive along the lake until you enter the National park. With the mist, the mountains and the lushy forest, it pretty much feels like you entered an enchanted forest. 10. Lake Marian 

Length: 4.8 km

Difficulty: Intermediate Situation: Fiordland National park, South Island

Price: Free

Lake Marian was part of my bucket list when I arrived in New Zealand, but I didn’t get the chance to get there. I still had to put this hike on my list, even though I didn’t do it, because by looking at some pictures, I know it would have probably been one of my favorite place on the South Island. Lake Marian is another trail you can do on your way to Milford Sound. The car park is situated just a little further down the road after the Great divide (start to the Routeburn track and the Key summit trail). If you get the chance to do it, send me a picture and I will be eternally jealous!

After seeing those shots, can you really blame me for wanting to stay in New Zealand forever ?


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