Zealands most popular tramping/trekking tracks and a river
journey are collectively known as the Great Walks. This guide has
been compiled by the New Zealand Information Network to introduce
you to these crown jewels of our tramping track network.
The nine Great Walks were selected because of their popularity
with both visitors and local trampers, and for their outstanding
scenery. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has upgraded these
tracks over recent years to well-marked bench tracks suitable for
any person who is reasonably fit. Modern well-equipped
backcountry huts and picturesque campsites are placed at
convenient distances along the tracks, which take three to five
days to traverse.
There are three Great Walks in the North
Island. Lake Waikaremoana Track circles a beautiful lake in a
mystical area of splendid isolation. Tongariro Northern Circuit
crosses a moonscape of thermal vents around an active volcano.
Whanganui River Journey is a fun-filled float trip by canoe,
kayak or raft through spectacular gorges and exciting rapids.
The six South Island walks offer an even
greater diversity of scenery. Abel Tasman Coast Track is the most
popular walk along gentle bush tracks and golden beaches. Heaphy
Track passes through impressive limestone country and ends with a
magnificent beach walk. Routeburn Track penetrates an alpine
world of high passes and towering peaks. Milford Track is the
premier attraction, having earned its reputation as the
finest walk in the world. Kepler Track has outstanding
alpine, lake and river scenery. Rakiura Track on Stewart Island,
which was opened in 2001, covers unspoiled forest and coastal
Hut and campsite passes need to be purchased before starting out
on your trip. The three most popular ones, Abel Tasman, Milford
and Routeburn have a booking system which guarantees a bunk for
the night, but the others are on a first come first served basis.
Bookings are heaviest in the summer season, particularly in
For the active visitor the Great Walks are the ultimate way to
see New Zealands natural environment at its very best.