hiking South Island

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific hiking South Island

1. Posted by thezenyen (Full Member 88 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

If you had to choose only one hike to do and you had 5 days, which would you do?

And would it be safe for a lone female ?

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5592 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I guess it depends on how much experience you have with hiking, how much of a sense of accomplishment you want to have, and how much you hate sandflies. :)

Note that I haven't been lucky enough to walk most of the following, so my information is just from reading and hearing about them from people who did walk them, and from having been in the same general area.

But in any case, my recommendations:
Milford Track - perfect if you have done quite a few multi-day hikes (quite hard, but mostly because of the elements), want to have the ultimate sense of accomplishment, and consider sandflies to be your new best friends. Also the best known / most popular track; you'll need to book it weeks to months in advance.
Kepler Track - the second day is "hard", but otherwise I'd guesstimate that this is quite a bit easier to walk than the Milford, with my personal favorite forest scenery along the way. Going in a loop, but at least you don't have to worry about transportation, and there are hardly any sandflies.
Routeburn Track - If I can walk any track when I next return, this'd be it. The views (on a good day, of course) should be utterly breathtaking.

Also, if you happen to want to take it really easy, I can recommend the Queen Charlotte Track near Picton, where the geography is such that a watertaxi can get very near each of the overnight stops, and thus provide pack-transport - you'll only have to walk with a light daypack. Good sense of accomplishment too, as you can trace your route along the Queen Charlotte Sound, and show it as a sizable distance on most any map. :)

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5592 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Oh, and yes, it should be absolutely safe on your own. I have never known any trampers to be anything other than courteous and friendly, and have met plenty of girls walking tracks by themselves.

4. Posted by thezenyen (Full Member 88 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

thanks for the great info! yes i've done a couple of multi day treks so I'll mull over it and choose one.


5. Posted by jla (Budding Member 23 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Do you know if all the "Great Walks", i.e. Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, etc., are well marked? I tend to get lost easily so just wanted to make sure that these paths are pretty clearly demarcated. Makes being a female solo traveling a little harder, I suppose. I'll be traveling to NZ during peak season of March 2006. I hope to be able to do 1-2 Great Walks with overnight stay in huts.

Another question, would we need to bring anything other than food to hook at the various huts and some personal belongings if I am able to get accommodation at these huts? Thanks much!


6. Posted by Flyin_Kiwi (Budding Member 13 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

From the Dept of Conservation website. Gives you all the details regarding the major hiking trails in NZ. PLus loads of other info if you search around the site.



7. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Just like to add that I walked the Routeburn Track January last year and it was amazing, the variety of scenery and the beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges make it truly spectacular. Don't forget to book the huts quite well in advance (as soon as you know when you'll be doing it). Yes you do need to take your own food but there are gas cookers in the huts

Also the Abel Tasman track is very pretty, and is quite easy walking if you prefer something a bit gentler.