Life at No.22, New Zealand, Walks

Want to go Hiking in New Zealand?

Visualise yourself tramping in misty mountains, emerald fjords, ancient fern-cloaked forests, cascading waterfalls and kilometres of half-empty black and white sandy beaches.

By the way, we call hiking “tramping”, down here in New Zealand.

One of the main reasons I am writing this post is my personal experience in seeing visitors unprepared for tramping.  Open-toed shoes, and no backpack [which means no warm clothing or supplies] will not do!  

So, if you are planning on tramping in New Zealand, here are a few things to keep in mind to prepare you for what promises to be an adventure of a lifetime.

Nothing more or less!

Expect changeable weather

Ohope beach - stormy_edited

The weather in New Zealand is unpredictable.  Many visitors experience four seasons in one day in various parts of our country.  Even in the peak of summer if the sun doesn’t shine and the wind picks up the temperatures can dip rather quickly.

Be prepared for rain.  Fiordland alone gets approximately 7,000mm of rain throughout 182 days a year, NO that’s not a misprint!  The chances of you getting wet are going to be quite high. Try to remember that damp weather tramping can still be great fun as long as you are wearing the appropriate clothing

As with most outdoor adventures, come prepared for anything!

Be flexible

As I mentioned above, we do have very changeable weather, so it is best to keep your itinerary flexible.  While in between tramps and touring via a road trip that may take you to places you planned or didn’t expect to visit.

One of the best sources for the unexpected is one of us locals.

So then, my advice would be to allow time to have a yarn with a local or two who could put you onto discovering a few more of our hidden treasures.

Backpack essentials

While in the bush or mountain areas you need to pack for changeable weather.  Expect and prepare for four seasons in one day, sort of weather.

With a little preparation, tramping in New Zealand will be unforgettable.

Pack and Boots.jpg

In your “water-proof” day backpack:

Warm outer layer

Light waterproof jacket

Mountainous terrain will require warmer clothing

First aid kit [especially allergy meds if applicable]

High energy food



Hat and other sun protection

Insect repellant

Mobile and camera battery packs

You’ll need to be moderately fit

New Zealand has plenty of easy walks rather than tramps, while others require you to be reasonably fit.  The fitter you are the more you will enjoy your time tramping.  Don’t overestimate your ability as you are putting the whole group at risk.  If you are unable to finish the tramp, the entire group has to walk you out.  Again, do the training before embarking on a long-distance walk/tramp.

To enjoy longer ones, including the Great Walks, make sure your fitness is at a reasonably high level.  Before you book a tramp, organise yourself to do at least 2-3 walks a week.

Each week increase your walking distance.  With some days carrying a backpack that you will be bringing on your trip.  Importantly include many stairs and hill climbing.  Not in a gym preferably on similar terrain as your future tramp.

BEST TIP: Do get a physical completed by a physician before embarking on a new outdoor adventure.

Make sure that you let people know where you are heading and never go into the bush area alone.  Check out Adventure Smart website to fill out an Outdoor Intentions Form – go HERE.

As a visitor, you won’t have the local knowledge.  Even better, maybe connect up with tramping groups before you arrive.  Then if you are a solo traveller, you have the opportunity to explore with others.  This way is also a cheaper version than heading out on the more populated tourist routes.

What tramps are the Greats?


The more popular and very commercialised “Great Walks”, three of them being in Fiordland National Park and a few others in the central North Island are now attracting vast amounts of people and need to be booked way in advance of your planned visit to New Zealand.

If you don’t want to experience the walks as mentioned above and would enjoy more of the non-touristy ones that aren’t busy with more people than you want to really see or even chat too.

Then check out a few local Tramping Clubs to pick out places to test your fitness as you will indeed find many variations of wild paths to tread on while visiting New Zealand.  It is a fabulous way for active travellers to enjoy our country.

The thing to remember most of all is to enjoy your time in our beautiful backyard.

Links to find out more about what walks you could explore, at this stage, I can’t add a personal touch.  It is on the to-do list!

Routeburn Track

Milford Track

Kepler Track


Paparoa Track

Rakiura Track

These are just a few tracks that could be explored.  As I gain more fitness and experience, I will share some of the local tramps I have completed this summer and beyond.


46 thoughts on “Want to go Hiking in New Zealand?”

  1. Thanks for the tips! I normally consider myself quite prepared but I must admit I often skip taking a first aid kit just to save room 😂 I also wasn’t aware I’d need insect repellent here so I’ll be sure to get some!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and pleased to know that you found a few good tips. Yes, I can understand the issue of room in the backpack. More importantly enjoy your hiking experiences😊


  2. So beautiful. I’d love to visit and tramp through NZ one day. Great advice Suzanne and all very practical. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen hiking in Oz in thongs! Crazy isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Miriam it is crazy as apart from putting themselves at risk they may require help to get out of the area if they slip and fall. Doesn’t matter what country you are hiking around, Hope for the best and prepare for the worst 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed this post, your photos, and great tips. Also like the new format with headings in this post Suzanne. 🙂

    I’m always am amazed when people turn up to a serious tramp/trek in thongs (Oz for flip-flops as you know) or open sandals – crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love NZ Suzanne and it has been too long between visits for me. I would love to go hiking there and your photos inspire me but alas my husband wouldn’t be keen. I suppose I could leave him at a resort, do a hike and then enjoy time together. Now that’s not a bad idea. Thanks for linking up and sharing at #MLSTL. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very inspiring hikes Suzanne, but when I finally get to NZ I’ll be coming as a true tourist and just enjoying the sights, maybe even taking a cruise around the edges or through the Sounds. Walking will be in there, but nothing long or serious.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM


  6. Hiking in New Zealand is fantastic, as long as you don’t mind the rain and the winds – which are stronger in certain areas. Many moons ago, I did the Routeburn Trail. Even back in 2000, this was a popular trail we had to book ahead of time. One of the three days happened in non-stop rainfall! Ah, the memories. 🙂 On my last trip to NZ, we only did shorter hikes, which fit my fitness level much better. Love the views, foliage, and terrain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Routeburn looks a fab one. The Milford looks so crowded!!! Well, this summer at least for many parts of NZ we haven’t had much rain at all. The streams are right down or non existent. Compared to California we do have quite a bit of rain though not as much as Belgium 😊 I think it will take me a year to get my fitness up to doing a 5 day (carrying a pack) one so it’s really enjoyable. Plus I hope to do a long one overseas. We shall see. Oh, I didn’t realise you have been here twice!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such interesting information, Suzanne! I love hikes but have not been on a long one or overnighter in many years! My brother in law and nephew did some tramping as you say in a group back in January in New Zealand (I’ve forgotten where) but he had a wonderful time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Terri. I am getting back into doing more hill work so it will make hiking more enjoyable, as it is certainly different from doing half marathons!! Great to hear that your brother-in-law and nephew enjoyed their time tramping in NZ. To be honest I prefer the word hiking than tramping 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great Post Suzanne!

    To be honest, I was impressed by how many people were prepared and properly equipped in NZ, especially anywhere near the great walks. I guess you need to be prepared if you are booking something so far in advance.

    The only huge exception was on Roy’s Peak. As it is so insta-famous we saw sooo many people heading up in the hottest part of the day with no bags and only a tiny amount of water. I was really worried for them all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Josy. Yes, it is worrying when you see people unprepared for the worst case scenario. Especially children heading out with parents no hat and no water, crazy!!
      Thankfully as you mentioned there are more who do go out well prepared for walking or hiking.
      By the way, Josy, you and your adventures were one of my motivators to expand my knowledge and fitness of my own backyard 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooh yay! That makes me so happy!

        Especially as you have such a ridiculously beautiful country as your “backyard”! I am going to love all your posts! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you’re right April and really it is just common sense. Unfortunately, many people think they can do hikes without thinking that accidents happen or without thought to changeable weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t wait to get back to NZ and do some proper walking or tramping as you say! Your post is very informative and full of useful tips. I love the photos and agree about the changeable weather, you’ve covered most things and the people are very friendly and welcoming as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna, I am pleased that you are able to glean a few pointers out of my post. It is advice for anyone anywhere when heading somewhere new to go hiking. Your hike will require quite a bit of research. I look forward to reading all about it as it is something I am planning to do in a few years once I am able to do it. Good luck and it will be a big achievement to accomplish such a long walk.


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