First Trip to New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific First Trip to New Zealand

1. Posted by nzevie (First Time Poster 1 posts) 17w Star this if you like it!


I am in New Zealand and trying to plan my 1 month holiday and looking for advice on where is best to start my exploration?

New Zealand has some amazing nature and I wanted to ask which Island is best to start my journey from-North or South island?

I am into short and one-day walks as I won't be able to make any of the proper 3 day or more hikes.

The internet is full of guides and I found some useful info and tips on best one-day hikes such us here:

I would be really grateful if anyone has any tips about that!


Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules

[ Edit: Sorry, no potential promos please. Link to Forum Rules added. ]

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5760 posts) 17w Star this if you like it!

You're currently in New Zealand? Then I'd kinda start wherever you are, because it's a rare location in New Zealand without worthwhile hikes in its immediate vicinity. Just look for the dark green with yellow Department of Conservation signs. :)

In general, this time of year (beginning of autumn), I'd probably start in the south, though as you only have a month, it really doesn't matter that much. Divide your time roughly as three weeks on the South Island, one week on the North Island.

The Walking and tramping page on the DoC website allows you to search by region and duration. If I search both 1-4 and 4+ hour hikes (but no overnight hikes), there's 770 listed. I've probably hiked... I don't know... around 100 of those? Can't recall a single one which wasn't worth the time. Depending on how you're planning to get around, pick a couple of destinations with sights you're interested in, in a roughly logical geographical order, stay 3-5 days in each such destination, and enjoy your time hiking!

My personal favorite areas would be the area around the glaciers, the MacKenzie plain (Lake Tekapo if my favorite location in the entire world; there's a great short hike up to Mt John, with amazing hot chocolate at the observatory cafe), Nelson Lakes and Tongariro National Park.

Also, if you'd like the experience of a multi-day hike, but without needing to consider food and packing (I'm making a total guess on what's holding you back here), the Queen Charlotte track has the unique feature of pack-transport by water taxi between catered accommodation. So you do a number of day hikes in a string, with just your day pack with water and lunch, while your clothes and other things will be waiting for you for you when you arrive in the afternoon. Lots of climbing up and down to the next saddle, amazing views over the sounds.

3. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2555 posts) 17w Star this if you like it!

Some thoughts to add to Sander's excellent advice. And yes do use the DOC website as your main resource.

From Te Anau short hikes off the Milford Road.
From Wanaka, the Rob Roy Glacier hike from Raspberry Creek.
From Mount Cook Village, the Hooker Valley track.
From St Arnaud, the Mount Roberts track.
In Hawkes Bay, Te Mata Peak.
In Abel Tasman national park, water taxi out and walk back along the shore track.
Mount Ruapehu ridge from the top cable car station.

4. Posted by evelinchamp (Inactive 6 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

I’m really interested in Hobbiton because of Lord of the Rings. Is there a tour or a hike program to trek the areas shown in the trilogy? They all look so amazing.

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5760 posts) 16w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting evelinchamp

I’m really interested in Hobbiton because of Lord of the Rings. Is there a tour or a hike program to trek the areas shown in the trilogy? They all look so amazing.

There used to be various tours which'd hit the main destinations, yes - but there's also lots of articles on where to find each exact location, so I see very little benefit for taking an organized tour. For most locations you need a lot of imagination and a very good memory to recognize that yes, this is exactly where that particular 2-second shot was filmed. (E.g. there's a famous location in the middle of a park in Wellington where they filmed "Get off the road!" - the most recognizable tree from that location came down in a storm a couple of years ago, but even before that, it really could've been any narrow path on a hill side anywhere.) For many others, just being in the general area is enough to get the sense of it all (wide shots of snow-capped mountains).

Hobbiton really stands by itself for being the complete movie set, carefully maintained, with non-stop tours leading you through it all. I've visited Hobbiton three times over the years - twice immediately after the main movies, when only the scaffolding remained, as they never intended it to become a tourist attraction, and once after The Hobbit movies, when it was all built up again, this time with the intent to last, and with all the props remaining. I kinda liked the original experience better, as it wasn't as well-organized yet, and you let your imagination fill in the gaps a bit more. After The Hobbit it started feeling a little bit like a theme park. Still, its main attraction are those endless amazingly green rolling hills - and the small lake with the Party Tree - and those remain as real as they ever were.

[ Edit: Edited on 16 Mar 2022, 07:54 GMT by Sander ]

Posts 6 - 8 were removed by moderators