New Zealand has long been a favorite of outdoor trekkers and travelers for the sheer diversity of landscapes available on its islands, and anyone who seeks to conquer the New Zealand Great Walks is in for a treat. This collection of nine trails is immensely popular among people from all over the globe, each leading the explorer through some of the finest natural beauty the nation’s backcountry has to offer.
The Great Walks are meticulously maintained, and are open to visitors of all abilities. Guided tours are readily available for those who want to leave it to the experts, and well-appointed shelters are located frequently along the trails that comprise the walks. While the accommodations are available for a fee, the walks themselves are available to anyone at no charge, and there are no permits required to visit any of them.
The first of the nine Great Walks is Lake Waikaremoana, a nearly 27-mile “tramping” track around the southern and western coasts of the lake on New Zealand’s North Island. Part of Te Urewera National Park, this walk takes you through several types of forests and grasslands, and rewards you with stunning views of the lake from the summit. It typically takes people of average experience 3-4 days to finish the Lake Waikaremoana trek, but accommodations are very affordable at $32 NZ for huts and $14 NZ for campsites.
Trekkers should note that this particular Great Walk is not a circuit — you will need someone to drop you off and pick you up on either side of the trail. However, for nature enthusiasts that want to really get out in it for a few days, this is one backpacking journey that shouldn’t be missed.
Stay tuned for the other 8 of New Zealand’s Great Walks!
Image via RowanTownsend