Exploring the Great Outdoors: Your Ultimate Guide to New Zealand Hiking Trails

Exploring the Great Outdoors: Your Ultimate Guide to New Zealand Hiking Trails

Embark on an adventure like no other as we delve into the ultimate guide to New Zealand hiking trails. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, from rugged coastlines to towering mountain peaks, New Zealand offers an unparalleled array of hiking experiences for adventurers of all levels. Whether you seek the challenge of multi-day treks through pristine wilderness or prefer leisurely day strolls amidst stunning natural beauty, this guide will navigate you through the country’s most iconic trails, providing insights into each route’s unique features and difficulty levels. Get ready to lace up your boots, breathe in the fresh air, and discover the unparalleled beauty of New Zealand’s great outdoors.

Hiking Trails in Auckland Region

Rangitoto Summit Track

At just under an hour’s ferry ride from downtown Auckland, the 7km, 2 hour-long Rangitoto summit track is one of the most popular hiking trails in Auckland that provides a convenient escape into nature. Rising from the waters of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island boasts an iconic volcanic landscape and offers hikers an unforgettable adventure in the world’s largest Pohutukawa forest. Ascending through well-formed paths through lava fields and native bush, the trail winds its way with a gradual incline to the island’s summit, rewarding intrepid explorers with panoramic views of the surrounding azure waters and the city skyline.

Mercer Bay Loop

The outer Auckland region also provides an abundance of day hikes that promise diverse landscapes and unforgettable experiences. Out east, near Clevedon, there is the tranquil Duder Regional Park Walk, where adventurers can wander through rolling farmland and coastal cliffs while soaking in sweeping views of the Hauraki Gulf. For those craving different yet still dramatic coastal scenery, cast your eyes on the West Coast of Auckland. Here, the Mercer Bay Loop Walk, another one of the popular hiking trails in Auckland, offers exhilarating vistas of towering cliffs and crashing waves.


If you are a keen hiker based outside of the city, VR Hotels offer multiple options of accommodation in Auckland, all of which combine prime location with exceptional service. Let us be the sanctuary of comfort as you make unforgettable memories of experiencing some of Auckland’s most awe-inspiring hiking trails.


Rotorua Hikes and Trails

The city of Rotorua sits adjacent to many smaller lakes other than just Lake Rotorua.  This region offers Rotorua hikes along lakeside trails rich in cultural significance and unmatched natural allure. Embark on the serene loop track around Blue Lake (1.5-hour long, 5.5km loop), where the tranquil waters mirror the surrounding lush greenery, providing a peaceful escape for hikers and joggers alike. For a slightly more challenging yet immersive experience, venture further to Lake Tarawera, where trails wind through native bush and past cascading waterfalls, revealing breathtaking views of the lake’s crystal-clear waters and the majestic volcanic landscape beyond.

Rotorua’s famous Redwoods Forest also hosts a network of captivating hiking trails amidst towering Californian redwood trees. This New Zealand hiking gem accommodates all types of adventurers, from those who prefer short and long day walks to those looking for overnight tramping routes.

Redwoods Rotorua

VR Rotorua Lake Resort stands as the perfect Rotorua accommodation choice for those embarking on Rotorua hikes. The hotel’s proximity to the aforementioned hiking trails, as well as the city centre, provides easy access for adventurers eager to immerse themselves in Rotorua’s natural wonders. We’re situated amidst the serene beauty of Lake Rotoiti, and it is our guarantee to offer a tranquil retreat where guests can unwind after a day of exploration.


Hiking Trails in Queenstown


The South Island city set against the stunning Southern Alps landscape may be well-known for adventure sports and vineyards, but there is also a plethora of hiking trails in Queenstown that cater to mountaineers of all levels. While renowned multi-day treks like the Kepler Track and Routeburn Track undoubtedly steal the spotlight, there are also hidden gems waiting to be explored. The Devils Creek Track presents a rewarding challenge for seasoned hikers (8.1km long, 6 hours one-way), meandering through lush forests and revealing breathtaking views of the Wakatipu basin and the surrounding mountains.

For those seeking shorter yet equally scenic hiking trails in Queenstown, the Gibbston River Trail provides a picturesque route along the Kawarau River, offering glimpses of vineyards, historic bridges, and the rugged Central Otago landscape. Whether tackling a multi-day epic or enjoying a leisurely stroll, Queenstown’s hiking trails promise unforgettable experiences amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Hikers seeking the ultimate basecamp for their Queenstown adventures need look no further than Lakefront Apartments & Lodges. Our serviced apartments in Queenstown are your home away from home. Looking over the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, it’s the perfect retreat after a long day exploring the backyard of Queenstown.


Hamilton Hikes and Trails

Te Aroha Summit Track

While not as mountainous as other regions in Aotearoa, the Waikato region is still a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with its ample New Zealand hiking opportunities amidst its scenic beauty. Just an hour’s drive away east of Hamilton is Te Aroha Summit Track, a popular hiking trail located near the town of Te Aroha. Rising to a height of 952 meters, Mount Te Aroha is the highest point in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the Hauraki Plains and the Bay of Plenty coastline, on clear days. Hikers should allow around 3-4 hours for the return journey, depending on their fitness level and pace.

If you’re looking for a day hike closer to Hamilton, the Hakarimata Summit Track near Ngaruawahia is your perfect choice. Climb to the summit of Hakarimata (374 m) on this relatively short 2km track and enjoy good views from the summit tower out towards the coast, across the Waikato Basin and down to Ruapehu. It is one of the best Hamilton hikes available.


Any adventurers visiting Hamilton for hikes and trails should choose to stay at VR Hamilton Hotel for its convenient location, comfortable accommodations, and excellent amenities tailored to their needs. Situated in the heart of Hamilton’s vibrant city centre, our Hamilton hotel provides easy access to a myriad of hiking trails in the surrounding area. After a day of outdoor exploration, hikers can return to the hotel to relax and rejuvenate in spacious and well-appointed rooms equipped with modern amenities.


Embracing the journey: Closing thoughts on New Zealand’s hiking wonders

As we conclude our ultimate guide to New Zealand hiking trails, we hope that this comprehensive resource has inspired you to embark on your own unforgettable adventures amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Aotearoa. From the rugged coastlines of the North Island to the majestic peaks of the South Island, New Zealand offers a diverse array of hiking experiences for adventurers of all levels. Whether you’re seeking the challenge of multi-day treks or the tranquillity of scenic strolls, there’s a trail waiting to be explored, each offering its own unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. So book a room at one of the VR hotels across the country, lace up your boots, pack your sense of wonder, and get ready to discover the unparalleled beauty of New Zealand’s great outdoors—one step at a time. Happy hiking!