New Zealand has been blessed by the choicest of Mother Nature’s bounty, and a testament to the fact is New Zealand’s Great Walks that feature dramatic landscapes, magnificent wilderness and stunning wildlife amongst some of its many wonders.
Here are top five tracks on the South Island and what awaits you on each of these:
A beautiful bridge between the Mount Aspiring National Park and the Fiordland National Park, Routeburn Track offers a magnificent alpine adventure to hikers on the South Island of New Zealand. The stunning vistas of mountain peaks, wide valleys, waterfalls and jewel-like lakes puncture the landscapes throughout the 20 mile of the track. Prolific birdlife helmed by native tomtits, robins, fantails, wood pigeons and bellbirds keep visitors company but the real star here is the cheeky Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot. The track can be covered in 2-4 days and is open for exploration late October through early May.
Once declared the ‘finest walk in the world’ by a London-born poet Blanche Baughan, Milford Track still remains one of the most popular walking trails in New Zealand. The huge valley, marked by beautiful beech trees and an array of suspension bridges, board walks, pristine lakes and mountain peaks, has been formed as a result of glaciations hundreds of years ago. Only 40 people are allowed to start the trek everyday to prevent degradation of the environment, so make sure that you reach early the day you want to begin your adventure. The entire length of the track – 33 miles one way – takes up to 4 days to complete. Late October to early May is when you can sign up for this amazing experience.
A walk along the 20-mile loop of the Rakiura Track is an experience in self-introspection as solitude and quiet are constant companions during the 2-3 days that it will take you to cover its entire length. The track follows a coastline for a large part of its length, meandering through small inlets, sandy beaches, large bays and mudflats, and crosses steep hills covered in bush. The track not only boasts a great diversity of native birds but also gives you the best chance to spot New Zealand’s national icon – the Kiwi. You can enjoy this track any time, all through the year.
Nestling within the Kahurangi National Park, the Heaphy Track is an ancient Maori trail that features such stark contrasts of natural scenery that it’s difficult to believe that one has barely covered a few kilometres. Winding through tussocks, rugged mountains, lowland forest and palm-fringed beaches and measuring at 49 miles one way, the Heaphy Track is the longest of the ‘Great Walks’ of New Zealand. Although the walk is accessible to visitors all through the year, it takes 4-6 days to cover its entire length.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
One of the most popular of ‘Great Walks’, Abel Tasman Coast Track impresses visitors with massive boulder formations, jade-coloured Ocean, dramatic coastline and golden beaches. The trail has an easy accessibility for boats, making it possible for visitors to cover a certain part of their trek on a kayaking tour. Cleopatra’s Pool – a natural rock pool with a moss-lined waterslide is one of the major attractions. Keep an eye for fur seals all along the 37 miles of the track. Open for exploration all through the year, the track can be covered in 3-5 days.