Best Great Walks of New Zealand for the Luxury Traveller
Discover New Zealand’s Great Walks, a series of premier walking trails through iconic landscapes of the North and South Island. Here are our recommendations on the best walks in New Zealand for the luxury traveller.
By Walk into Luxury
New Zealand’s “Great Walks” are a series of premier walking trails through the most stunning landscapes of the North and South Island. These walks can be tackled independently or, for those who prefer a little more comfort, on an inclusive guided journey. Whilst it's hard to choose favourites, these are our picks of the best Great Walks of New Zealand.
Widely known as New Zealand’s most famous walk, the Milford Track is a hikers delight with its picture-perfect alpine scenery taking in pristine lakes and rivers, spectacular valleys, and glacier-carved fiords. The walk covers 53 kilometres over 4 days in Fiordland National Park on New Zealand's South Island.
Your first steps begin at Lake Te Anau and the trail takes you over suspension bridges, a mountain pass and the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. The Milford Track concludes at the base of Milford Sound, a stunning fiord and a magical end to one of the best walks in New Zealand.
One of our favourite sections of the Milford Track from Sandfly Point to Giant's Gate Waterfall is featured in Walk into Luxury’s signature 4 Day Blanket Bay Walk.
One of New Zealand's Great Walks, the Routeburn Track is a special trail through the Southern Alps snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes and valleys. Although this is one of the shorter multi-day hikes in New Zealand’s Great Walks (32 kilometres over 3 days), the Routeburn Track packs a punch when it comes to breath-taking mountain scenery and covers two of New Zealand's favourite National Parks: Mount Aspiring and Fiordland.
The track can be walked in either direction between Glenorchy and The Divide and reaches 1,255 meters at its highest point. The views of the Routeburn Valley from the trail peaks are unforgettable. Keep an eye out for birdlife in the forested sections of the track, particularly the Kea, the world's only alpine parrot!
The Routeburn Flats to Falls section of this walk is featured in Walk into Luxury’s signature 4 Day Blanket Bay Walk, and can be included as a private walk option on our South Island private journeys.
Unlike the other Great Walks, the 4-day Kepler Track was custom built and has been designed to show walkers the very best of the Fiordland region. Bridges, boardwalks and steps have been carefully constructed to create a 60 km pathway along beautiful glacier-carved valleys, mountain ranges, rivers, mossy forests and dramatic waterfalls.
The track links the Mount Aspiring National Park with Fiordland National Park. Fiordland Lodge on Lake Te Anau is the perfect base for discovering the best of the Kepler Track, with guided hike options departing from the lodge. Experience a section of this walk-on Walk into Luxury’s Heli-hike experience on the Kepler Track from Fiordland Lodge.
It’s not every day you have the opportunity to hike around an active volcano! This 4-day, 45km circuit is a unique walking adventure, taking in the perimeter of Mount Ngauruhoe, an active volcano in Tongariro National Park. Expect wildflowers, waterfalls and lakes on this walk and if you’re feeling adventurous you can even choose to climb to the summit of the volcano!
The first day of this Great Walk is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is arguably the best day walk in New Zealand and features Instaworthy views of the Emerald Lake. This is available as a day walk option from Taupo's best lodges and featured in Walk into Luxury’s Tongariro & Great Lakes Walk at Huka Lodge.
Explore the pristine coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park and coastline on this iconic Great Walk of New Zealand at the top of the South Island. Taking 5 days and covering 51kms of spectacular coastline and lush rainforest, the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of the world’s best multi-day coastal walks. Whether it’s taking in the view over Falls River from the 47-meter suspension bridge, enjoying a relaxing dip in the clear cool waters of Cleopatra’s Pool or spotting fur seals and other cheeky wildlife on the trail, this Great Walk will not disappoint.
Top all of this off with a luxury stay at the eco-friendly Awaroa Lodge, the perfect base for exploring the trails and crystal clear bays of Abel Tasman National Park. Or if you’d like to combine some wellness experiences after a day of adventuring in Abel Tasman National Park, Split Apple Retreat is a luxury lodge and wellness retreat conveniently located right near the park.
Whilst not officially a Great Walk of New Zealand, the Queen Charlotte Track is still considered one of New Zealand’s best walks and we think it's perfectly set up as a lodge-based walk for luxury travellers. This unique tramping experience weaves its way around the spectacular Marlborough Sounds, extending 70 kilometres from historic Ship Cove in the outer Sounds, to Anakiwa at the western end of Queen Charlotte Sound. Experience awe-inspiring ridgetop views of the Sounds as you hike through the lush native forest between peaceful bays. End-to-end travellers need at least 5 days, or you may like a shorter 'best of' experience combined with some time on the water - sailing and kayaking are popular here - or relaxing at a luxury lodge along the trail. If this appeals, our 4 day luxury Queen Charlotte Walk at Bay of Many Coves Lodge might be for you.