10 Epic hiking tracks South Island, New Zealand

Thinking about an epic hiking holidays before winter?

New Zealand's South Island is the perfect destination for it. Here is a shot of our 10 favourite hikes:

1. Travers-Sabine circuit, Nelson Lakes.

Location: Nelson Lakes National Park.

Distance: Around 86km, including the Blue Lake diversion.

Time: This is a multiday hike, 6-7 days.

Difficulty: Advanced, tramping track.

We recommend enjoying some side trails to explore the blue lake/Rotomairewhenua, clearest fresh water lake in the world. Or the famous Angelus Lake through Robert Ridge.


2. Gertrude saddle, Fiordland.

Location: Milford Sound Road, Fiorland.

Distance: 7km return.

Time: 4-6 hours.

Difficulty: Advanced, tramping track, it is not recommended in winter due to avalanche danger.

This challenging tramping route should only be attempted by experienced trampers and in good weather. The reward is one of the most amazing views of Milford Sound.


3. Avalanche Peak, Mount Aspiring.

Location: Arthur’s Pass.

Distance: 2,5km one way.

Time: 6-8 hours.

Difficulty: Advanced, only recommended in good weather conditions as the track is really exposed.

 There are two routes to the summit, Scotts Track and the Avalanche Peak Track. We recommend take the Avalanche Peak track to the summit and Scott's Track on your return. It is a 1100m steep climb rewarded with stunning and dramatic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.


4. Copland track. Overnight hike, hot springs.

Location: West Coast.

Distance: 18km one way.

Time: 7 hours one way.

Difficulty: Intermediate, easy tramping track.

18km one way in ascending gradually through the spectacular Westland’s forest. After the long walk you can enjoy the natural hot pools at Welcome Flat.


5.  Mueller Hut Route, Mount Cook.

Location: Mount Cook.

Distance: 5,2 km one way.

Time: 4 hours one way.

Difficulty: Advanced, tramping track.

A 360-degree panorama encompassing glaciers, ice cliffs, vertical rock faces and New Zealand’s highest peaks.


6.  Roys Peak, Wanaka.

Location: Wanaka.

Distance: 16km return.

Time: 5-6 hours.

Difficulty: Easy, walking track.

One of the most popular hikes in New Zealand. Make sure you have a good torch if you want to attempt to do it for sunrise. The view from the summit includes most of Lake Wanaka, the surrounding peaks and Mount Aspiring/Tititea. 


7. Isthmus Peak, Wanaka.

Location: Wanaka.

Distance: 16km return.

Time: 5-6 hours.

Difficulty: Intermediate, tramping track.

The track overlooks Lake Wanaka and Lake Hāwea, with great views of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana.


8. Lake Marian, Fiordland.

Location: Milford Sound Road, Fiordland.

Distance: 2,4 km return.

Time: 3 hours.

Difficulty: Intermediate, tramping track.

Discover this gem on the way to Milford Sound, a 3-hour return hike to an alpine lake in a beautiful hanging valley.


9. Rob Roys glacier, Wanaka.

Location: Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka.

Distance: 10km return.

Time: 3-4 hours.

Difficulty: Intermediate, easy well-maintained track.

This track offers an entry point of Mount Aspiring National Park, it leads you to active glaciers, waterfalls and a dramatic alpine landscape. It is described as an easy track, but the elevation is 522m over 5km, the trail condition is good, and the elevation is gradual. It is doable in 3-4 hours, depending of how many times you stop to contemplate the stunning landscape, there are several lookouts on the way up.


10. Hooker Valley track, Mount Cook.

Location: Mount Cook.

Distance: 10 km return.

Time: 3 hours.

Difficulty: Easy, walking track.

The track ends with an amazing view over the iceberg-speckled Hooker Lake and up to majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana.


This is our selection. Which one is your favourite hiking trail in New Zealand? Let us know!

 If you want to find out more about any of these fantastic activities or locations contact one of our friendly team members today!

Contact us on Contact Number: 03 9642 5138
Email: team@journeysbydesign.com.au

 Blog article by Erika Pablos