Bucket List: New Zealand

New Zealand

Milford Sound. By Maros M r a z (Maros) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=996862

Region: Australia/Pacific

Logistical Difficulty: HIGH

Hiking Difficulty: Moderately High

Degree of Risk: Low

Estimated time required (including travel and logistics): Two weeks

Eco-tourism in New Zealand took off after it was featured as a backdrop in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies. Getting there, and getting the needed permits, is the hard part. Once there, there are many hikes of moderate length to chose from; probably no other region of the earth offers the variety of hiking that New Zealand does.

Switzerland? Tibet? Canada? Nope, it’s an island in the South Pacific. By Zhengan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31561307

Why Hike Here?

  • Immense diversity of landscapes in a single place (only two large islands)
  • Mountains, volcanoes, rain  forests, sand beaches, fjords…you name it
  • Exotic plants and animals
  • Surprisingly mild climate
  • (In direct contrast to nearby Australia) No snakes and almost no dangerous wildlife
  • Altitude generally not a factor
  • OUTSTANDING hiking infrastructure
  • Generally safe hiking if you aren’t inclined towards Le Stupid

But First Consider…

  • Start with the obvious one…this place is REMOTE
  • A trip here is not going to be cheap nor quick
  • New Zealand itself is not cheap
  • Shuttle by air between the islands may be necessary
  • Can be soggy, especially in rainy season
  • Fog and mist sometimes obscure the views
  • Permit systems and other restrictions keep hikes in great shape, but complicate itineraries
  • The popularity of New Zealand means some hikes are now crowded, or impossible to book


Hikes we want to do here:

  • The Tongariro Circuit
  • The Routeburn Track

Some others…

  • The Milford Tack (famous and crowded)
  • Abel Tasman Track (more crowded than the Milford Track)
  • The Kepler Track
  • The Queen Charlotte Track