The top 7 tips for hiking in New Zealand
New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the top hiking destinations in the world. From the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, there are countless treks you can try, including the famous ‘Great Walks’, plenty of popular ones and many that barely even have names.
If you’re looking at hiking in Aotearoa, keep these tips in mind to help make it a safe and fantastic experience.
1. Pack for all weather conditions
As a small island nation, New Zealand is known for hosting four seasons in a day. It’s entirely possible to be walking through a freezing rain storm one minute, then be walking through warm sunshine an hour or two later. Even if you’re only hiking for a day or two, be sure to check the weather forecast and pack for all conditions just in case.
2. Plan your route
Be sure to map out your route before you set foot on it. Take a look at the way you want to go, as there are often several tracks interwoven with one another. Plan where you will stop for the night each night and factor in time spent resting or enjoying the scenery. This will help give you realistic goals each day and ensure you don’t wander off course.
3. Tell someone where you’re going
Once you have your route, pass on your plans to a trusted friend. If you can, keep them updated of your progress and let them know once you’re finished the walk. This person will be your safety net should you not arrive at your destination as expected.
4. Bring spare socks
A truism for hikers all over the world – always bring spare socks! There’s nothing like a fresh clean pair after yours get sweaty, dirty or wet, and it can greatly increase your comfort on those long days.
5. If you get lost, stay in one place
In the worst case scenario of getting lost, always stay in once place. This will help emergency services track you down much faster.
6. Make the most of hut books
The Department of Conservation manages a series of hiking huts all over the country on many of the multi-day tracks. These huts offer places to stay (when you book in advance), rest stops, and ‘hut books’. These books are simply journals for passing hikers to enter their names and details, and it’s recommended to enter yours even if you’re not staying the night to create a literal paper trail of your movements.
7. Take plenty of photos
Once you’ve covered all your bases for safety and comfort, all that’s left to do is enjoy the incredible scenery and experiences along the way! A good camera can help you capture much of New Zealand’s wonderful landscapes, so be sure to charge the batteries and get snap happy.
Of course, you can also opt to keep it simple and join us for an eco tour from Auckland, where we get out of the city and explore the nearby landscapes on foot!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist