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Hiking in New Zealand

Tramping (verb) - 1. 'To go on a walking excursion or expedition; hike.'

(The Kiwi definition that is)

Hiking New Zealand is pure pleasure – there are no snakes, no poison ivy or poison anything else for that matter and nothing out here that can eat you. From luscious rain forest walks and dramatic boardwalks over fragile environments, to rugged alpine passes and breathtaking coastal trails, hiking in New Zealand has something for everyone. Hiking is known as "tramping" by most New Zealanders, particularly when referring to multi-day hiking trips in the backcountry, so you will often hear people say they're off for a tramp - which could surprise you if you haven't heard the term before!

The Department of Conservation (DOC) maintains thousands of tracks throughout New Zealand, along with hundreds of backcountry huts and campsites, and is armed with a large slice of the country's annual budget to make sure our most scenic land is available and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

The tracks serviced by DOC vary from short 30-minute scenic strolls to long-distance back-country trails in remote areas, such as the 8+ day Dusky Track in Fiordland. The style and level of maintenance of trail varies - some of the shorter tracks will be well-graded, some even wheelchair-accessible, whereas at the the other end of the scale are the "poled routes" where the trail is marked by poles every hundred metres or so, with no clearly defined trail. The majority of tracks however are marked at regular intervals by bright orange plastic triangles. At the start of each trail, and at every major track junction there are signposts marking the different routes, along with approximate times to each destination along that route. Hiking times are given, rather than distances, in order to avoid trouble or confusion, as depending on "undulations" (aka hills) on the trail, not all kilometres are created equal!

Get your Free Hiking brochure

 Or click any of the links below to learn more about hiking in New Zealand. We look forward to seeing you out on the trail soon!


New Zealand Hiking Resources:


Want help planning your hiking trip?

There are so many hiking trails in New Zealand and there's plenty more to hiking New Zealand than just the Milford Track.

If you're not sure of your plans just yet, a good place to start is our brochure. With a full fold-out map of New Zealand, information on our New Zealand hiking tours, as well as lots of cool photos, it's a great place to begin your research.

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Or, if you want to have a chat with a local about your plans, feel free to give us a call:

1 800 661 9073 (USA/Canada)

0808 234 7780 (UK)

+64 3 450 0414 (worldwide).

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    LEGENDARY

    Travelling to New Zealand has been on my bucket list for nearly half my life, and I'm so glad I spent three weeks there with Active! I was a bit worried going by myself, but it turned out to be the best vacation of my life. They took us to so many spots that I probably would have never seen if I tried to organize everything on my own. It was great to have them feed me, drive me, hike me, and take me to our accommodations at night - not once did I have to worry about anything. The accommodations themselves were so fun and unique, staying in them was a highlight of my trip. Our guides, Kim and Ashleigh, were fantastic young ladies. Ash was an amazing chef and Kim rocked the in-bus narration. I also think we had a phenomenal group of people who clicked very well, and absolutely the best weather one could wish for.

    Even when there were a few changes to the itinerary due to road damages, weather issues, or anything else, the guides were on top of it so fast that we barely even noticed there was a problem. We did miss out on snorkeling with the fur seals, and our Franz Josef Heli-Hike was cancelled, but we were still able to see seals and take a helicopter ride to a glacier at another time. No loss whatsoever.

    I'm a fairly active person under thirty, who lives in an mountainous region, and I was still challenged by the hikes and activities they provided. I also have bad knees, and was still able to get up and down the more difficult mountains. For those wondering abut the multi-day hike, it's definitely a work-out, but totally worth it! And be sure to invest in a hydration bladder, you'll really appreciate it! If you're looking for an outdoor adventure with lots of activity and fun, this is definitely one of the better ways to explore New Zealand.
    Janine Carbone Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Rimu, April 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    North Island - Kauri

    From the first day to the last, I have enjoyed travelling through the North Island with our fantastic guides Jo and Andy. Rain or shine there was always an interesting hike to go to, or a point of view worth stopping at and they know them all. The landscaping of NZ is fabulous in many areas and I liked the fact that we went out of the major tourist attraction points. Andy, excellent driver, is also an encyclopedia of information and such a good narrator he makes the long road trips fill shorter and very pleasant. Jo the mermaid is an excellent cook who enjoyed preparing meals for kings even in restrictive facilities. I enjoyed the fact that we could participate in a good variety of activities as we were hoping to. We felt secure at all times, we learned a lot about the Maori nation and their influence on the actual NZ.
    A very informative and pleasant trip overall, with excellent guides who adapt easily to any group of people or situations they have to deal with. Two tums up, I will definitely recommend this adventure to anyone who enjoys nature and culture out of their comfort zone.
    Claude Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, December 2017
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    Review of the Kiwi trip

    I chose to visit NZ with Active Adventures because I wanted to experience the South Island from tip to toe in an active fashion. The trip was exactly what I wanted. I loved hiking and kayaking, enjoyed visiting the towns and was swept away by the scenery. I learned a lot about the country's history, geology and mythology from my two guides. And I had fun.
    Barbara Delaney Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Kiwi, March 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    5 day Kauri Trip

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing was the best hike of my life!
    Grace Zheng Review Image
    – Hawaii, United States
    Kauri, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    New Zealand is Majestic...Thanks Active Adventures!

    This was my first trip traveling alone and traveling overseas. Active Adventures made this trip amazing and so easy. From initial planning of trip, to the moment of pick up at the airport, until drop off at the end of the adventure all details were taken care of. The guides (Amanda and Joe) were fabulous and the prepared meals were fantastic. New Zealand is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing your country, can't wait to go back!
    Jennifer Smith Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Rimu, December 2017

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Approx NZ flight times

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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