Fans of the outdoors love New Zealand. This is a country that is home to only four million people, but countless rivers, mountains, beaches, forests, fjords, and lakes. While the cities of New Zealand are lively and charming, no trip to this gorgeous country would be complete without a venture into its stunning wilderness. Take a look a just a few of the ways you can experience the beauty of New Zealand’s outdoors.
There’s no better way to experience the New Zealand wilderness than to spend a night under the open, starry sky. There are plenty of options available for those looking to camp in New Zealand. Renting an RV and hitting the open road is one of the best ways to explore the country; RV rental in New Zealand is accessible and enjoyable, and there are a vast amount of sites where you can hook up for the night. There are also many campsites and holiday parks where you can set up a tent and spend the evening. (New Zealand is known for its holiday parks, some of which can be downright luxurious!) Poukaraka Flats, near Auckland, is a popular spot to relax on the beach or kayak around the bay. Te Araroa Holiday Park is a good choice for those camping with families, as kids will love the rock caves and tidal waters. The Makarora Wilderness Resort is in the ideal location for those wanting to fish or hike. Keep in mind, camping is popular in New Zealand, and many sites tend to fill up quickly, so try to make reservations when possible!
With thousands of kilometers of walks, New Zealand has a trail for everybody. Whether you want to walk for one hour or one month, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the New Zealand wilderness up close. For those looking for a challenge, check out one of the country’s nine Great Walks (three on the North Island, and six on the South Island). These walks range from 32 km (the spectacular RouteburnTrack that links Mount Aspiring National Park to Fiordland National Park) to 145km (the Whanganui Journey, which, though considered a Great Walk, is actually more of a canoe or kayak trip). If you’re looking for a shorter walk, the South Island is home to the 3-hour Queenstown Hill Time Walk, the 5-hour Mount Robert Circuit, and the 1-hour Kaikoura Shoreline Walk (where you can spot some wonderful wildlife), just to name a few. The North Island, meanwhile, offers the 2-hour Rangitoto Summit, the 3-hour Putangirua Pinnacles, and the 8-hour Tongariro Alpine Crossing, considered to be New Zealand’s best day walk, filled with turquoise crater lakes and alpine meadows.
The National Parks
Covering more than 30,000 square kilometers, New Zealand’s national parks are a truly breath-taking sight. These 14 parks aim to preserve the country’s natural heritage, forests, and wildlife. On the North Island, you’ll find Te Urewara (famous for its rugged and remote forests and lakes), Tongariro (featuring active volcanoes), Whanganui (perfect for hiking and river trips), and Egmont (dominated by the impressive volcanic peak of Mt. Taranaki). On the South Island, you can visit Abel Tasman (considered to be the best coastal walk in NZ, thanks to its golden sand beaches and granite cliffs), and Kahurangi (home to the Heaphy Track, the longest of the country’s Great Walks). New Zealand’s national parks can be visited on a day trip, or can be further enjoyed by spending a night or two camping in the park.