New Zealand punches way above its weight on the walk front. For a relatively small country, NZ has a hugely disproportionate share of the world’s best walks. New Zealand is divided into the North Island and the South Island. Geographically, the two islands are different but equally dramatic.
The North Island is famous for its central active volcanic plateau, spectacular geothermal areas, geysers, mud pools and relaxing hot springs. A spine of mountain ranges runs down the middle of the island. On either side of the mountain ridges, there are picturesque farmland valleys, rainforests, lakes and rivers. There are also long sandy beaches along the north and east coasts which are ideal for swimming and surfing.
By contrast, the massive Southern Alps in the South Island are often compared to the mountain regions of Europe. In fact, two thirds of the South Island is mountainous. The Alps form the backbone of the island and contain numerous spectacular glaciers which are accessible to hikers. Some of the most stunning landscapes are to be found in the majestic fiords and sounds which have inspired many artists, writers, poets and photographers. The sunken mountains of fiordland create a breathtaking vista of steep vegetated cliffs plunging into the bays’ deep waters, often punctuated by a multitude of waterfalls and dramatic mists.
Click on the island name below for information on walking in that region