Walking in New Zealand
Tramping – also known as hiking, walking or trekking – is a very popular outdoor recreation activity in New Zealand. With so many fantastic hiking tracks and 'Great Walks', stunning National Parks, a mild climate and sensational scenery, it’s really no surprise that New Zealand is a key destination for walkers from around the world!
Hiking in New Zealand
In New Zealand there are walking track and tramping options to suit almost anyone!
For many people, a guided New Zealand hiking tour is a popular way to enjoy the best walks in comfort and ease. New Zealand Trails offers excellent small group guided walking tours in the stunning Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Depending on your experience and fitness levels, you’ll find tramping and hiking tracks to suit all abilities – from short one or two-hour strolls to pleasant day walks and week-long alpine expeditions.
Walking in New Zealand National Parks
New Zealand is home to 14 stunning National Parks. These parks are very popular tramping locations, with some of the best New Zealand hiking tracks found within them.
All of New Zealand's 'Great Walks' are located within National Parks:
Walking in NZ Forest Parks & Recreation Reserves
Of course, not all tramping, hiking and walking tracks are found within the National Parks. New Zealand has many other fabulous forest parks and recreation areas, containing some of the best short and day walks.
New Zealand Tramping Basics
Excerpt courtesy of Matthew Walker - NZ Tramper
Most tramping in New Zealand is over 'Conservation Land'. This is public land administered by the Department of Conservation, and includes National Parks, Forest Parks and other reserves. Other Conservation Land may have no reserve status. Access to Conservation Land (with the exception of a few special wildlife sanctuaries) and walking tracks requires neither permission nor payment.
The Department of Conservation is responsible for maintaining huts, campsites, tracks, bridges and other facilities on the Conservation Land. All these facilities are available for public use, although use of some huts and campsites incurs moderate charges. Camping is allowed anywhere unless specifically restricted, for example, camping is only allowed at certain points on the Great Walks, and might not be allowed in city water catchment areas, or sensitive habitats.
New Zealand has an extensive and unparalleled public backcountry hut network. Huts are unlocked and open to all visitors. Payment for most huts is by a hut ticket honesty system. In general, you cannot book hut space.
The Great Walks are a series of popular and high quality tracks over public lands. Camping is restricted, with hut and campsite use paid for with special Great Walks passes. On the busier Great Walks, you book each night's accommodation in a hut or campsite. Other Great Walks simply require the purchase of a pass for a chosen number of nights accommodation, and you may stay at any hut or campsite as you choose.