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What to know before hiking in New Zealand

Since moving to New Zealand we have developed a passion for tramping (hiking) and have made it our mission to complete all 9 of the Great Walks and as many of the other beautiful backcountry hikes that we can.

Having built up a wealth of knowledge on hiking in New Zealand, our friend and travel blogger Liz Carlson from Young Adventuress asked us to share our tips on 5 Things to Know before Hiking in New Zealand. From how to book, what to pack and meal plans if you’re planning to take in some hiking while in New Zealand, check it out on her blog!

Liz is an awesome travel blogger and shares some great stories on her experiences travelling the world and living abroad so be sure to follower her as well!

 

    Comments ( 16 )

  • Fred

    You truly have an amazing blog. We (2 young canadians…) unfortunately discovered it only on the day of our departure for our 5 weeks trip in New Zealand. The videos are awesome, the editing is perfect and the views are wonderful !

    We really are leaving this afternoon but are still debating whether we should bring a tent or not as we really are into trekking and are planning to do some of the great walks, probably the doubtful sounds and at least some bungee jumping (+ some track the we will find along the route).

    Any last minute thought / advise ?

    • Hi Fred!
      Thanks so much, glad you’ve been enjoying our blogs and videos and that it’s helping you plan your trip! I would bring your tent if you’re really keen, but I would say pretty much every overnight hike in New Zealand leads to a hut so unless you want it for sleeping in when you’re on the road at campsites, you probably don’t need it – but it’s up to you!
      Be sure to check out the DOC campsites if you’ve got a campervan (or even a car). They’re super cheap ($6-$12/night or sometimes free!) and are always in a beautiful location.
      Hope you guys have an awesome trip!
      Jenna

      • Fred

        Thanks you for those great tips ! We in fact, after having read your post, decided to leave the tent at home, and decided to travel mainly with a campervan. Those DOC campsites look great but having a non-self-contained van, I think we will be a bit limited on which one we can use.

        Any opinion on which of the great walks we shoud really add on our bucket list (we also do have one…) and really not miss ? The routeburn track is the first one on the list, and after we saw your video, the keppler one seems like a winner. We heard (and saw, thanks to your post) great thing about the milford one but the rain seems to be a little bit of a drawback. I think we will go for this one as well, whatever the weather forecast say…

        Thanks for any advice, they are all really appreciated ! (We are landing in christchurch in few hours and are really excited !)

        • Hey! So glad our blog was helpful! I definitely would say Routeburn is a must, and Kepler would be my next recommendation – the day walking along the ridgeline was one of the biggest highlights of all the Great Walks for me. Milford even in rain is beautiful, just mentally prepare yourself should the forecast not look great 🙂 There is a reason why it’s called one of the most beautiful walks in the world!

          Hope you guys have an amazing trip!! Enjoy!

          Jenna

  • […] Note: If you plan to do any hiking in the off-season, be sure to talk with local DOC offices about the conditions/weather and always rent a locator beacon. You can learn more about our tips on how to prepare for hiking in New Zealand. […]

  • Jaime

    Hi there! first of all congrats for such a great blog and all the helpful info!

    I’m Jaime from Spain and I’m currently working in Oz. I have 3 full weeks to travel from dec 17th to jan 8th and I’m still not sure about how to organise my trip. First doubt: Taz and South Island or both NZ islands. I’m really into hiking and I want to do some of the great walks. Lake Waikaremoana, Milford Sound and Kepler seem awesome. I don’t intend to carry my own tent so I would be staying in huts (am I late for that since I’m going in high season?). And do you think 3 great walks can be fit into those 3 weeks? I guess there’s many things to be taken into account to answer these questions, but in general terms what do you suggest?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Jamie

      Milford and Routeburn are two different tracks, and while they are close, they aren’t really connected. Routeburn can start from Glenorchy or the road to Milford, but Milford start in Te Anau and ends in Milford Sound.

      It’s really hard to pick between Taz and South Island or both Islands – honestly you wouldn’t be disappointed with either choice. Note that Waikaremoana is on the North Island so if you do pick only South Island you might want to consider Kepler as a 3rd. As far as bookings to be honest it’s likely Milford is already booked up, and I’m sure Routeburn and Kepler are busy but depends on your exact dates you’ll have to check the DOC website.

      We did Kepler and Milford Track back to back. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as my knees were killing me by the end, but doing one a week would be managable so long as you can get the hut bookings lined up.

      Best of luck!

      Jenna

      • jaime

        Thanks for answering so fast Jenna! Going to check that with DOC. Congrats one more time for your webpage, nothing like first hand info!

  • Jaime

    Just read the previous comments. I’ll check out your videos for Roteburn and kepler. I guess that will help me get a better idea!

    Thanks again!

  • Jaime

    From what I see Routeburn and Milford can be done together as one longer walk? What about food? Can you buy some anywhere along the way? Or do you have to carry all you need from the beginning?

  • ciaran

    Hi guys, i have to say having spent so long on the internet trying to research my trip to New Zealand your website and blogs are a shining light amongst it all!
    I was hoping to get some advice, especially regarding the weather. Im traveling in mid may to mid june. which tramps would you say are a must? Also what should i look out for with regards to weather and booking huts/tramps in the off season?
    Thanks so much 🙂

    • Hi Ciaran
      So happy to hear our blog has been helpful for you!
      To be honest we haven’t done a lot of tramping in that time of year (we were never down in the South Island during those months either). So it’s a little hard for me to comment. That time of year is usually colder than normal and in the mountains there will be snow. If you plan on going to the South Island and are looking at the alpine tramps like Milford, Kepler or Routeburn, you’ll need to stay in touch with DOC and get the local weather and will likely need to rent crampons and ice axes for safety precaution incase you encounter snow. Bring a lot of warm layers and winter clothes for alpine tramps. A lot of times the services are shut off in the huts in the offseason too so potentially no stoves, solar lights etc.
      I’d recommend for that time of year Heaphy Track, Abel Tasman, potentially Tongariro and if you do it guided they will have all the gear you may need. Anything else below about 1200m will not have snow so they would all be safe to do without the extra gear.
      Hope that helps and have fun!
      Jenna

  • Thanks for answering so fast Jenna! Going to check that with DOC. Congrats one more time for your webpage, nothing like first hand info!

  • Hey! So glad our blog was helpful! I definitely would say Routeburn is a must, and Kepler would be my next recommendation – the day walking along the ridgeline was one of the biggest highlights of all the Great Walks for me. Milford even in rain is beautiful, just mentally prepare yourself should the forecast not look great 🙂 There is a reason why it’s called one of the most beautiful walks in the world!

    Hope you guys have an amazing trip!! Enjoy!

  • You truly have an amazing blog. We (2 young canadians…) unfortunately discovered it only on the day of our departure for our 5 weeks trip in New Zealand. The videos are awesome, the editing is perfect and the views are wonderful !

    We really are leaving this afternoon but are still debating whether we should bring a tent or not as we really are into trekking and are planning to do some of the great walks, probably the doubtful sounds and at least some bungee jumping (+ some track the we will find along the route).

    Any last minute thought / advise ?

    • Sorry for the delay in responding, I assume you’re already in NZ and enjoying it’s beauty! So glad you’ve enjoyed our blog and videos. Depending on which great walks you’re interested in you can likely still book a hut so no need for the tent but if you’re looking to walk some of the more popular ones (MIlford, Routeburn, Kepler, etc) you might be left with only tent options or maybe not at all. Best of luck with your trip!
      Jenna

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