The New Zealand Great Walks you can experience in a day

By Kathryn Chung

<em>Take a dip at Moturau hut on the Kepler Track, credit: Kathryn Chung</em>
Take a dip at Moturau hut on the Kepler Track, credit: Kathryn Chung
New Zealand’s Great Walks are more popular than ever, with the latest season having booked out in record speed. If you’re one of the many people who missed out on a spot, fear not, there are plenty of ways to experience these iconic walks in a day.


The view from Luxmore Hut, credit: Kathryn Chung

Take an easy 1-3 hour shoreline stroll along the first part of the Kepler Track to Dock Bay, or challenge yourself in a full day walk up to the Luxmore Hut (8-10 hour return), rewarding you with views of limestone cliffs and mountain peaks. Water taxi services run to Brod Bay to make the journey even shorter, or you can walk the Kepler Track from the other direction, heading to Moturau hut from Rainbow Reach for an easy 12km return walk (if the weather is good, be sure to bring swimwear for a refreshing dip in the lake).


View from Harris Saddle near the Routeburn Falls hut

For a great day walk, start from The Divide end of the Routeburn Track and journey to the mighty Earland Falls. The 6-hour return track takes you through lush rainforest, with views over the Hollyford valley and surrounding mountain ranges. Those up for the challenge can start from the other end at Routeburn Shelter and hike to Routeburn Falls hut, a 20km return journey.

Milford Sound

Arguably the most famous of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Milford Track is also one of the hardest to book. A great way to experience the dramatic landscapes around this famous Great Walk is on the Milford Sound Foreshore Walk, an easy 30-minute loop track that starts at the Milford Sound carpark and goes through beech forest and along the sound’s sandy foreshore.

Abel Tasman

With its picturesque beaches and stunning wildlife, the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is one of the best Great Walks to do year round. If you want to experience this New Zealand Great Walk in a day, there are plenty of options. Walk from the beginning at Marahau to Anchorage for a 4-hour one-way hike through lush beech forest, open country and secluded bays. From there you can choose to hike back or catch a water taxi. There are also a number of kayak hire companies that offer great opportunities for walking and kayaking in a day.

Tongariro Crossing

The Tongariro Northern Circuit is a 45km Great Walk that journeys into the heart of the Aotearoa’s otherworldly volcanic landscapes. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is part of the walk and a popular track you can do in a day. This challenging yet rewarding 19.4km hike takes you through glacial valleys, ancient lava flows and stunning crater lakes.



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