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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!

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 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!

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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 Miri, Fiona or Jared a call on 1 800 661 9073 (USA/Canada), 0808 234 7780 (UK) or +64 3 450 0414 (worldwide).

Trip Reviews

  4.52 out of 5 (from 4872 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
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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

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.

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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.

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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.

A Sense of Achievement

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.

Small Groups

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.

Diverse Experiences

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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