New Zealand’s breathtaking natural beauty is an attraction for hikers. However, wilderness can also be hazardous and fog can easily disorient even experienced trekkers.
Springtime in New Zealand offers ideal hiking trails. Enjoy sunny, mild temperatures and quieter trails that make hiking an absolute pleasure – this includes historic musterers’ huts, beautiful landscapes and dramatic peaks like those found along Two Thumb Track.
1. The Routeburn Track
The Routeburn Track is an iconic trail in South Island hiking, traversing two National Parks while passing through stunning mountain scenery, beech forests, alpine lakes and shimmering alpine huts of Department of Conservation huts – with permits only being issued during Great Walks season if staying in them! Camping along its length is also possible – however this option requires booking in advance with Department of Conservation Huts being the more cost-effective solution! You should plan for two to four days to complete it all and should book accommodation well ahead.
Routeburn Track hikers should aim to tackle it during New Zealand’s temperate and dry summer weather conditions – this typically runs from October through April during Great Walks season; however, you could attempt it outside this window provided you are prepared for potentially hazardous conditions, such as snowfall or flooding.
Routeburn Track offers visitors a unique opportunity to observe native birdlife, including the cheeky Kea (world’s only alpine parrot). Other highlights include temperate rainforests and unique alpine herb fields – plus patches of ribbon wood trees which are among New Zealand’s only deciduous native trees!
2. The Hollyford Track
The Hollyford Track is one of New Zealand’s premier hikes for seniors, providing a gentler walk through Fiordland’s unspoiled playground with no mountain passes and only mild inclines. Expect peaceful walking along Hollyford River and Lake McKerrow/Whakatipu Waitai as you visit its picturesque landscapes filled with ancient trees that date back to Gondwana; its forest features some rarer endemic species including fantails and tuis.
This 56-kilometre tramp offers the ideal blend of adventure and relaxation, without alpine climbing requirements and year round accessibility. Since this wilderness trek requires you to bring everything from food, clothes, equipment and clothing in a backpack – including food! Although one could complete it one-way from Gunns Camp, guided trips offer superior experience – they feature light day packs with luxury lodge accommodations offering flush toilets, real beds as well as gourmet meals before ending with a helicopter flight out to Milford Sound at its conclusion!
3. The Queen Charlotte Track
The Queen Charlotte Track offers stunning coastal bays, peaceful hiking trails and spectacular mountain lake views. Along its course are coastal forests featuring tree ferns, nikau palms and climbing kiekie vines; bellbirds, tuis and fantails can often be seen too.
Queen Charlotte Track can be enjoyed year-round, though its ideal time for walking is autumn (fall). New Zealand weather is more temperate at this time and there are fewer hikers. As it is jointly maintained by both Department of Conservation (DOC) and private landowners, hiking on public DOC land requires payment to the Queen Charlotte Track Land Cooperative of a small fee to use the trail between Ship Cove and Kenepuru Saddle.
Starting in Picton and proceeding through the Marlborough Sounds, this track travels between tranquil bays and stunning hill top vistas for stunning vistas. While summer brings with it an increase of hikers, New Zealand’s relatively small population and open spaces ensure that most trails remain relatively uncrowded throughout its length.
4. The Waiau Pass Route
New Zealand’s south island offers hikers stunning alpine vistas and cozy backcountry huts that will leave them spellbound. Hikers on this trail can expect both stunning vistas as well as comfortable accommodations (DOC huts with cooking gas, running water, generator-powered lights – wow).
Although the hike involves steep climbs and challenging scrambling over loose scree, it remains relatively straightforward for anyone of reasonable fitness. To maximize enjoyment, the trail should be completed early morning when winds tend to be lighter.
The Great Walks are New Zealand’s premier hiking trails that showcase some of its most breathtaking landscapes. Administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC), these iconic routes require booking months in advance and tend to be more expensive than other hikes throughout New Zealand – though their exclusive huts and campsites make this investment worth your while!
5. The Kaikoura Track
Macs Adventure takes great pleasure in showing hikers lesser-known areas that don’t make the Great Hikes but still provide breathtaking experiences, such as Kaikoura Coast Track – an easy trail that passes serene bays, cresting hills, and snow-capped mountains – without being overlooked.
Start at Hinau Track Car Park at Mount Fyffe and travel 15 minutes inland from Kaikoura for this rewarding coastal trail, perfect for exploring when lavender fields bloom between December and February.
Flowers create a natural aromatherapy as you wander along this stunning trail, as their fragrant blooms fill the air around you. Along the route are beautiful views of Waiau River’s raging waters with their milky blue color as well as an amazing swing bridge providing breathtaking views down below into its depths. Hikers should allow three days for this adventure; seniors who can handle an active outdoor experience are welcomed as well.