Our top 5 favourite hikes in New Zealand

Coming from the Alpine-country Austria we just love hiking! We were impressed with New Zealand's different landscapes: the North island features many volcanoes whereas the South island offers glaciers, large mountain ranges and even fjords (which is a narrow sea inlet with steep sides or cliffs).

It was hard to choose but these are our top 5 hikes which we can highly recommend to anyone! Check out our Instagram video which gives a brief overview.

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Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The greatest day hike of New Zealand. Stunning volcanic scenery.

New Zealand, North Island
1 Day

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the best day hikes New Zealand has to offer. You will see a stunning active volcanic landscape, turquoise lakes and amazing views. Be aware that you need to book a shuttle bus or any transportation as the starting point and ending point of this hike differs. We were happy with Dempsey Buses.

Expect to walk approx. 19,4km (12 miles), so it is not an easy hike, but doable. Usually it takes 6-9 hours. If you are a Lord of the Rings fan: On this hike you are passing Mount Doom.


  • Try to be flexible because sometimes the weather does not allow hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. We prolonged our hike for 2 days and it was definitely the right decision, therefore keep an eye on the weather forecast!
  • Wear hiking shoes
  • Bring delicious snacks and eat them at the turquoise lakes for a lunch break with a great view! (we brought pasta salad)
  • Stay at Whakapapa Holiday Park before and after the hike

Roy’s Peak

Popular day hike with stunning views of lake Wanaka

New Zealand, South Island
4-6 hours

Roy’s Peak is a popular 16km (10 miles) day-hike close to Wanaka. You can park you vehicle at the parking space and walk up either to the popular Instagram spot only (you will see the queue) or go 30 minutes more to the peak.

The hike is mainly walking up zig-zag the mountain with an elevation gain of approx. 1300m – so it is a medium to hard hike. The view is definitely worth it.


  • We would recommend to start the hike very early (5-6am) before the sun gets out as there are no shadows along the way.
  • Duration: 5-7 hours

Robert’s Point Track

This hike brings you the closest to the Franz Josef glacier

photo of Robert’s Point Track
New Zealand, South Island
3-5 hours

This challenging 11 km (6,8 miles) hike involves steep sections and gets you the closest to the Franz Josef glacier.

After hiking on uneven surfaces mostly in the woods and passing many suspension bridges, you will be awarded with an amazing view of the Glacier and surrounding mountains.


  • You don’t need to start this hike early as there were not that many people on the track and the trees will give you a good shadow and protect you from the sun.
  • Take enough water and snacks with you
  • Duration: 4-6 hours

Hooker Valley track

Most popular short walk in New Zealand

New Zealand, South Island
3-4 hours

The Hooker Valley track is for us a must-do when in New Zealand. It features a stunning and beautiful scenery along the way.

It is a hiking track for everybody with only 5km in length (10 km/6,2 miles return) and 100m elevation gain. The track is well-maintained you if the weather allows it you can even see the peak of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mount Cook.


  • Come either early or very late to avoid the crowds. Also, bring you swimming suit if you want to bathe in the glacier lake.
  • Duration: 3 hours return

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Most famous hike in the Abel Tasman National Park

New Zealand, South Island
1-5 days

Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 60 kilometers (37 miles) long walking track in Abel Tasman National Park and one of New Zealand's Great Walks.

It is a one way route through nearly the whole Abel Tasman National Park mostly along the coast line featuring a beautiful green scenery and sandy beaches.


  • Since this hike can take up to 5 days, you can also do a day hike out of it and still see the beauty of the national park.
  • If you decide on doing the multi-day-hike make sure to book in advance (especially during peak season) as huts along the way have limited capacity
  • Check tide times! If you're walking sections of the track with tidal crossings, check tide times to avoid getting stranded. The schedule is available at visitor centers and online.