Ultimate walking season guide for Australia and New Zealand
Plan your next hike with our guide to the Australian and New Zealand walk seasons. Here we answer the common questions: "When is the best time to walk in Australia?", "When is the Great Walk season in New Zealand?", and more.
By Walk into Luxury
The sheer geographical distance and diversity of landscapes in Australia and New Zealand make for varied climatic conditions that vary from State to State, and often from track to track. In Australia, most walks fall into one of two hiking seasons: roughly speaking, April to October (Autumn-Winter) and October to April (Spring-Summer). New Zealand is simpler, with most tracks considered best from October to April, but there are shorter seasons on some Great Walks. Read our guide to time your next walk just right.
Best walks April to October (Autumn to Spring)
Australia's desert, tropical and Mediterranean climates
From April to October, some of Australia's inland and northern regions experiences mild dry conditions, making outback and desert treks as well as the Kimberley and Northern Territory possible to enjoy on foot. This is also the time that some of the hotter coastal parts of Australia like Margaret River have cooler conditions making for pleasant walking. Early Spring in Australia is also ideal for spotting wildlife and wildflowers. The best walks to hike in this season include:
Best walks October to April (Spring to Autumn)
New Zealand's Great Walk Season
The summer months in New Zealand bring longer, warmer days and generally less rain - perfect walking conditions! However, it is worth noting weather in New Zealand can be unpredictable year-round (particularly in alpine regions), so it's best to prepare for all seasons regardless of when you plan your hike. We recommend timing your Great Walk for the Summer season in New Zealand, and the shoulder months of Spring and Autumn. Some South Island hikes like the Milford Track, have a shorter season - commencing in November - while others are accessible through to May.
- Milford Track, South Island NZ (November to April)
- Kepler Track, South Island NZ (October to April)*
- Routeburn Track, South Island, NZ (October to April)*
(Tip - did you know you can experience the best of three South Island Great Walks on our Kepler, Milford & Routeburn Track Walk)
- Queen Charlotte Track, South Island, NZ (October to April)
- Abel Tasman Coastal Walk, South Island, NZ (October to April)
- Hollyford Track Walk, South Island, NZ (October to April)
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing, North Island, NZ (October to April)*
Australia's South - Tasmania and Victoria
Tasmania and Victoria experience mild Summers, and snow in Winter, making October to April the best season for hiking here.
- Lake St Clair Walk, TAS (October to April)*
- Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, Overland Track, TAS (October to May) (we recommend November to April to reduce the risk of snowy conditions)
- Bruny Island Long Weekend Walk, TAS (September to April)
- Freycinet Walk, TAS (October to April)
- Maria Island Walk, TAS (October to April) (or book the Winter Maria Island Walk, which is based at Bernacchi House from May to September)
- Three Capes Lodge Walk, TAS (Year-round) (but we recommend October to April if you want to avoid the wild Winter fronts)
- Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk, VIC (September to May)
*Some day hikes are accessible outside the traditional Walk season if you are planning to just do a day hike on a section of the trail. Other hikes are accessible as normal - or with minor modifications - outside the season, but may require a private departure to be booked. Please get in touch for specific advice for your month of travel.
That special time of year - our festive favourites
Many Summer walks continue to run over the festive season, so we wanted to capture our top picks for a special Christmas holiday hike or a Great Walk to ring in the New Year:
- Maria Island Walk - for white sand beaches and cloud rainforest
- Freycinet Walk - for pristine coastline and a chance to hike and fish off Schouten Island
- Lake St Clair Walk - for forest and lakeside hikes and special nights sleeping on the lake
- Tasmania's Overland Track - for a bucket-list hike in Tasmanian world-heritage wilderness
- Twelve Apostles Walk - for a swim surrounded by crashing ocean waves on Christmas morning
- Queen Charlotte Track - for a luxury hike with water taxi drop-offs to remote trails overlooking the Sound
For a more relaxed luxury lodge holiday with a side of walking, try:
- Pretty Beach House paired with Bouddi Coastal Walk
- Arkaba Homestead paired with a day in the Flinders with a private guide
- Smiths Beach Resort or Cape Lodge paired with a guided hike for a day (or two) on the Cape to Cape Track
- Longitude 131 paired with Kata Tjuta Valley of the Winds morning hike (do start early for milder conditions)
- Saffire Freycinet or Freycinet Lodge paired with Wineglass Bay Walk
Please get in touch if we can assist with your next walking adventure. There's nothing we love planning more!