If you really want to explore New Zealand, your best bet might be a guided walk. Each walk gives a visitor or native a great adventure and an introduction to this island nation. Depending upon your choice, you might explore rain forests, the coast, or even alpine passes. This is a fantastic way to really experience the wonders of nature that New Zealand has to offer.
Consider a selection of some of the most famous walking tours. These include Heaphy Track Kepler Track, Abel Tasman Coast Track, Milford Track, Rakiura Track, Routeburn Track, Lake Waikaremoana Walk, Tongariro Northern Circuit, and Whanganui Journey. These tours are maintained by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
New Zealand Guided Walks
Abel Tasman Coast Track
This track is known as the most popular of the New Zealand Great Walks, and it provides over 50 km. of walking pleasure within the famous Abel Tasman National Park. Guided walks of the entire track take three to five days to complete, though you are also free to spend even more time exploring optional side tracks.
You are also free to take shorter hikes, and many visitors only choose to hike for the day. There are plenty of commercial water taxi services that pick up and drop off people during the day.
Much of the walk is along the coast, so you can enjoy the sea breeze and the view. The Department of Conservation maintains the trail very well.
This is located inside of Kahurangi National Park, and it is known as one of the country’s nine “great” walks. The path is almost 80 kilometers long, and most hikers can complete in in four to five days. Enjoy scenic vistas of the hills.
This is one of the longest walks at about 60 kilometers, and it also has some of the most dramatic mountain views. Even though the track is long, it is very well constructed and well maintained. It should take three to four days to traverse on a guided walk.
You might also note that this track is the home of the Kepler Challenge. This is a run where the entire track is run in about five hours. Don’t worry because typical guided tours set a much slower pace than that.
Lake Waikaremoana Walk
This 43 km. path follows the course of Lake Waikaremoana. Guided tours will pass through grasslands and different types of forests. Expect your walking tour to take three or four days to complete.
This track does not run in a circle, so you may need transport at the beginning or end of the trail. Your guided walking tour might include this transportation. Alternatively, many local shuttle buses operate in the area. The closest town is called Wairoa, and you can find out about shuttle bus services there.
You can walk between mountains and through rainforests on this trek through Fiordland National Park. You will also get a chance to traverse wetlands and an Alpine pass on this 53 km. walk.
The Department of Conservation maintains huts along the trail for hikers to use. These huts contain bathrooms, bunks, and cooking facilities. Of course, hikers do need to carry along their own food.
This track is about 29 km, and it is located on Stewart Isle. Most of the trek follows the coastline, and it usually completed in about three days. There are some parts of the trail with steep hills to traverse.
This trail has some overnight huts for hikers to use. There are also camping areas.
You can get to this island from the big island by commercial ferry or airplane.
This is a world-renowned New Zealand walking track. It is 32 km. long, and the track has huts and an emergency shelter for hikers to use. There are also camping spaces.
Since this walk is so popular, it is important to book ahead if you want to take a guided hut or get a hut or camping space. On the other hand, many hikers can complete their walking tour in a day since the trail is comparatively short.
Tongariro Northern Circuit
This is a 50 km long loop that traverses the perimeter of Mount Ngauruhoe. It also includes the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. About 7,000 hikers take this walk each year, but almost four times that many walk the Alpine Crossing section. In other words, you can choose to just see the highlights or the entire trail.
The Department of Conservation maintains some huts and campsites along the trail. These have to be booked in advance.
This walk generally takes about four days to complete. This includes planned treks of about five to six hours on most days, and it gives you plenty of time to rest and relax your feet.
This is not actually a guided walk, but it is a guided kayak or canoe journey on the Whanganui River. The course of this trip is 145 km. long, and it takes about five days to finish.
After the official route ends, there are still almost ninety kilometers of navigable river. Some canoeists choose to travel the rest of the way in order to extend their adventure. If this option is chosen, the route goes on for another two days.
This route is also broken into sections. These sections are simply laid out between huts and campsites. These cannot be booked.
Which New Zealand Guided Walk Will You Take?
These hikes give visitors and locals a chance to experience the natural wonder of New Zealand. There are so many well-maintained walks to take for people with different tastes and fitness levels. Older people or families with kids may simply choose to take a day walk. Avid hikers can trek out in the wild for days.
You can experience many different natural wonders from river rides to mountain vistas. With so many choices, your only problem might be deciding which of these guide walks to take!