New Zealand

Also known as: Aotearoa, Dominion of New Zealand

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wanaka tree

Why New Zealand?

New Zealand is a land of great contrasts and diversity

Active volcanoes, spectacular caves, deep glacier lakes, verdant valleys, dazzling fjords, long sandy beaches, and the spectacular snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana on the South Island—all contribute to New Zealand’s scenic beauty. New Zealand also has a unique array of vegetation and animal life, much of which developed during the country’s prolonged isolation. It is the sole home, for example, of the long-beaked, flightless kiwi, the ubiquitous nickname for New Zealanders.


My favourite hikes in New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing

Tongaririo Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is heralded as the best one-day trek in New Zealand and is regarded as among the top ten single-day treks in the world. Many who complete the 19.4 km (12 mile) journey will tell you the climbs can be steep and the weather unpredictable, though worth it in every aspect.

Located in the Tongariro National Park - New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in both cultural identity and dramatic, awe-inspiring natural scenery. Unique landforms, including the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu ensure the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered a world-renowned trek.

Track snapshot

  • Distance/length: 7 - 8 hours; 19.4 km / 12 miles one way.
  • Grade: High level of fitness required - Change of elevation about 1,196 m / 3923 feet.
  • Track condition: Steep and undulating - Track surface is generally well formed, some sections may be steep, rough or muddy.

Mount Taranaki

Mangorei Track to Pouakai Tarns

From the car park, follow the path up to Mangorei Road and walk to the road end. Follow the track signage up a private driveway and into the bush. The track climbs steadily through regenerating forest, mountain cedar and low alpine scrub to the 16 bunk Pouākai Hut (stays must be booked in advance). This is a good day tramp or you can stay overnight at Pouakai Hut.

Going on a fine day with no wind is recommended to see the reflection at the tarn. The best times to visit this trail are November through April. You'll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren't allowed on this trail.

Track snapshot

  • Distance/length: 2.5 hours; 12.2 km / 7.5 miles return.
  • Grade: Intermediate - Change of elevation about 782 m / 2565 feet.
  • Track condition: This track requires good fitness as it involves several hours of walking uphill. This track is mostly wooden steps and batten boardwalk – be warned these can be a tripping hazard.

Hooker Valley Track

Mount Cook Hooker Valley Track

This track is one of the best day hikes near Mount Cook Village. There is a breathtaking view over the Mueller Glacier, Hooker Lake, and up to Mount Cook at the end of the track. It’s mostly a flat well-maintained walkway (only a few inclines/steps but not technically difficult) crossing three swing bridges. There is a bench and a stone landing at the Muller Lake Lookout and picnic tables along the way.

Make sure to go on a clear day for the best experience and go early to try to avoid crowds.

Bring plenty of water and a hat - there's not much shade along the way.

Track snapshot

  • Distance/length: 3 hours; 10 km / 6 miles return.
  • Grade: Easy - Change of elevation about 124 m / 406 feet.
  • Track condition: There is no shade along the track and even in the cooler months you can easily get sunburnt so sunscreen and hats are a must.


My Travel photos

Mount Cook
Pouakai Tarns
Patuna Chasm
Hooker Valley
Wanaka Lavendar Farm
Wai o Tapu
Wharariki Beach