New Zealand’s 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 scenery.

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 January.

For the active visitor the Great Walks are the ultimate way to see New Zealand’s natural environment at its very best.

Great Walking Tracks: Spectacular Self-guided Great Tracks, Walks & Hikes

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Whanganui Journey

    Journey through a timeless wilderness on New Zealand's longest navigable river and marvel at one of our greatest scenic wonders.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Tongariro Northern Circuit

    Enter into the heart of a vast moonscape of tortured rock that makes up Tongariro, one of the world’s first national parks (1887).

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Routeburn Track

    Experience New Zealand's second most famous walk, which straddles the rugged spine of Fiordland's Humboldt Mountains, and enjoy scenery even more varied than the Milford Track.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Rakiura Track

    Enter an unspoilt wilderness on Stewart Island, ‘The Land of the Glowing Skies’ and see for yourself its spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Milford Track

    Come and join us on ‘The Finest Walk in the World’ - New Zealand’s most famous Great Walk, which every Kiwi dreams of doing one day.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Lake Waikaremoana

    Visit the most beautiful lake in the North Island and see it sparkle like a gemstone amidst the mystical forests of the Urewera National Park.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Kepler Track

    Stroll on into Te Anau, ‘The Walking Capital of New Zealand’, and set out on our best-planned Great Walk, which starts right on the edge of town.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Heaphy Track

    Enter a West Coast ecological wonderland called Kahurangi National Park by following one of New Zealand's best-loved tracks.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Abel Tasman Coast Track

    Enjoy New Zealand's easiest, safest, sunniest and most popular Great Walk, which has all the features of a glossy travel brochure come to life.

  • New Zealand Great Walks

    Great Walks

    New Zealand’s 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.