Guided Hiking on the Great Walks of New Zealand

But do it with a local, sharing local knowledge and giving back to the region and the environment.

When you book with a Bushman, you’re getting a tailored experience, every time.

No tour is ever the same, but the result is. Experience the unique ecological links that the Great Walks sit on from the Rakiura Track to the Tongariro Northern Circuit and beyond, all through a locals eyes.

Meet and connect with our local guides; Kiwis who are passionate about their regions, locals who are sharing their time to show you unforgettable walks.

Meet them ➜

We do things differently

Register your interest

Fill out the form below with as much detail as possible. We will reach out with availability and pricing. All our tours are offered as private and family friendly.

Meet your guide

Once locked in, you get to connect with your guide before you leave, work out requirements and what sort of chocolate they like.

Make it very Unique

Before and during your Great Walk experience, you can customise the trip or take our itinerary. Combine star gazing with hidden tracks and wildlife spotting.

The Great Walks of New Zealand

Ten stunning hikes now make up our most epic walks. These range in difficulty and length and are a must-do for Kiwis and visitors alike. We’ve listed them all below from north to south with their highlights and statistics.

Jump to a walk
Lake Waikaremoana | Tongariro Circuit | Whanganui Journey | Abel Tasman | Heaphy | Paparoa | Routeburn | Kepler | Milford | Rakiura

Lake Waikaremoana

Located on the East Coast of the North Island, in between Lake Taupo and Gisborne.

46 km

One way

3 to 4 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

Like the Abel Tasman, this is another lesser-known Great Walk. Lake Waikaremoana is a must-do if you’re up for stunning lake views and spotting nearly every native bird species found in the North Island. Also known as the “gateway to Te Urewera”, this is the home of the Māori tribe Ngai Tuhoe – you’ll learn more about their culture from the Tuhoe wardens stationed at the huts during peak season.

What to expect

Wander along the shore of Lake Waikaremoana for 3 days and explore the mystical landscapes this track has to offer, from prehistoric rainforest to wetlands, waterfalls, and a ‘goblin forest’. If you’re someone who loves water and open, blue sky views (when it’s not raining), this is a must.

Starting from $290*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip. 

Build an Itinerary for the Lake Waikaremoana Track

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Located south of Lake Taupo and in between Manawatū-Whanganui and Waikato of the North Island.

43.1 km

Loop track

3 to 4 days

Of tramping and climbing

Difficulty

Intermediate

Looking for a special adventure? Something you can only do in a few other places on Earth? Hike around New Zealand’s most active volcano in a safe 3 or 4-day loop in the dramatic Tongariro National Park. Follow the trail through the volcanic landscape, beech forest, glacial valleys and past breathtaking, emerald blue lakes; easily making this one of New Zealand’s best Great Walks. Ask your Bushman about the unique wildlife along the way, like the rare whio (blue duck) and the karearea (NZ falcon). The Park is known for its unique, contrasting landscape – from alpine grassfields to native forest, ancient lava flow and desert-like plateaus. Optional: You’ll also get the chance to climb the iconic Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom for Lord of the Rings fans).

What to expect

Starting in the Whakapapa Village, the first day is easy-going, featuring fantastic views of Mt Ngauruhoe and allowing you to warm up for the steep climb on Day 2. Once you’ll reach the Central Plateau, it’s time to admire the Blue and Emerald Lakes and the panoramic views over the park. Optionally, you can join your Bushman on a climb up “Mt Doom” – after all, it’s not every day you get to ascent an active volcano. The last part of the trail leads through stream valleys and open fields, sidling around the foothills of Mt Ngauruhoe. After lunch, you’ll gradually climb up to Tama Saddle, with an optional side-trip to the stunning Tama Lakes (two old explosion craters that you should definitely do). From there on, it’s an easy stroll back to the Whakapapa Village.

Starting from $1,290*

*Covers your Bushman, huts and transport where applicable. The more that book, the less the fee is per person. Food and gear are available with your booking.

Build an Itinerary for the Tongariro Northern Circuit

Whanganui Journey

Located south-west of the Tongariro and on the edge of Manawatū-Whanganui and Taranaki.

87 or 145 km

One way – Kayaking or Canoeing

3 to 5 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Advanced

Keen to swap your hiking boots for kayaks and togs this summer? Then head out on the Whanganui Journey, a rugged river located deep in the wilderness of our North Island. With cosy huts, a marae, and the Bridge to Nowhere, this trip has plenty on offer and every day is packed with action and scenery.

What to expect

Choose between 3 or 5 days, canoes or kayaks and bring your family and mates along – an experience like this gets even better when it’s shared. No matter if you want to tackle some rapids or simply paddle amidst the beauty of bush clad hills with waterfalls to either side, the Whanganui Journey has something for everyone.

Starting from $250*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip. 

Build an Itinerary for the Whanganui Journey

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Located through the edge of the Tasman coastline at the very northern part of the South Island.

60 km

One way

3 to 5 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

Have you ever dreamed of endless beaches and a hike you can do (partly) in jandals? The Abel Tasman might just be your perfect Christmas getaway! You’ll get to experience the best of wild Tasman on this 60 km, easy-going track. Keep an eye out for fur seals, penguins, and Tui while following the winding track past the native bush and golden bays – the name of the region says it all.

What to expect

The well maintained huts are an absolute treat after a day of walking and there are plenty of worthwhile side trips like Cleopatra’s pool and Cascade Falls. Once finished, catch a water taxi back to the starting point, or stay a few days and enjoy the beaches. There may or may not be a beer fridge at the last hut…

Starting from $320*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip. 

Build an Itinerary for the Abel Tasman Track

Heaphy Track

Located on the northern edge of the West Coast in between the border of Tasman of the South Island.

78.4 km

One way

4 to 6 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

Of all the Great Walks, this ancient Māori trail offers the largest contrast. Ranging from lush forests, grasslands and mountain ranges to the roaring West Coast sea, nikau palms and limestone arches. The Kahurangi National Park is famous for its bluffs, natural arches and contains the largest cave system in New Zealand. Keep an eye out for the great spotted kiwi, takahe and the nocturnal, carnivorous land snail! Apart from unique wildlife and breathtaking, ever-changing scenery, you’ll also find traces of the past on the Heaphy. The river mouth seen on the last day lays at the junction of two pounamu (greenstone) trails, used by Māori pounamu hunters to access the jade rivers of Westland from Golden Bay.

What to expect

The trail starts with a gradual climb up to the highest point of the track, offering panoramic views across the Aorere Valley. A deep swimming hole next to the first hut is the perfect spot for a refreshing swim. There is plenty to explore on the second day, while you slowly descend towards Gouland Downs. Explore numerous caves and waterfalls around a limestone outcrop, before hiking through flat tussock country and bush flats. On the third day you’ll reach the Heaphy River, walking through a stunning rain forest of kowhai, cabbage trees and nikau palms. Have we mentioned the huge 148m suspension bridge offering views of the river? It’s an NZ must do. The last part of the track leads through native forest and also features some beautiful beach walking for those last few photos.

Starting from $1,400*

*Covers your Bushman, huts and transport where applicable. The more that book, the less the fee is per person. Food and gear are available with your booking.

Build an Itinerary for the Heaphy

Paparoa Track and Pike29 Memorial Track

Located on the West Coast of the South Island, ending between Greymouth and Westport.

55 km

One way

3 days

of walking and tramping (mountain biking option available)

Difficulty

Intermediate

You will half expect a dinosaur of some sort to appear in the bush on your journey here. The Paparoa and Pike 29 Memorial Track embody our most pristine bush and wildlife – providing a clear reason why we check bio-issues at airports. This track has been labelled a “jewel in the crown” that once only the hardiest of trampers would find. The moss that hugs our native trees provides a look into a mystical land, while the smells and weather completely regenerate your senses. Two new huts provide a “room in the bush” – probably better than any you’ll find during your trip here.

What to expect

This track is fantastic for those looking to do a Great Walk but intimidated by the effort possibly involved. Families and people new to hiking will get a good sense of multi-day trips, while not having to sacrifice time to enjoy it. Day one features a steady climb while the remaining time is spent heading back downwards to the car park. You will pass our most ancient forests, creeks and outlooks that have made this a Great Walk. This is our first Great Walk designed for both hiking and mountain biking (it’s one of the best in NZ for bikes), therefore the track is wide and steady.

Starting from $290*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip. 

Build an Itinerary for the Paparoa

Routeburn Track

Located slightly north-west of Queenstown and north of Te Anau of the South Island’s Southland region.

33 km

One way

2 to 4 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

This short Great Walk connects Mount Aspiring National Park to Fiordland and is the perfect option for families and beginners, offering a variety of breathtaking scenery. Hike past crystal clear lakes, alpine tarns, stunning mountain peaks and rugged valleys, while admiring the unique wildlife along the way. Your Bushman will be able to point out the numerous native birds, including robins, fantails and, of course, the cheeky kea (the world’s smartest bird and only alpine parrot).

What to expect

Starting on a swing bridge, the trail leads through native beech forest and open grassy flats before climbing steadily to the first hut. Huge views of the valley below make every step worth it, and after reaching the highest point of the track on Day 2, you’ll get the chance to admire the deep blue waters of Lake Harris on top of the saddle. After making your way down towards the Hollyford Valley and Lake Mackenzie, you’ll be able to admire the spectacular Earland Falls and to take in the panoramic views on Key Summit over the Humboldt and Darran mountains. Expect plenty of chat and education from your Bushman.

Starting from $290*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip. 

Build an Itinerary for the Routeburn Track

Kepler Track

Located near the town of Te Anau, the track is in the south-west of the South Island, in the Southland region.

60 km

One way

3 to 4 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

No day is the same on the Kepler Track – opened in 1988, it shows hikers all the best features Fiordland has to offer. Exposed mountain ridges contrast with a peaceful lakeside, cascading waterfalls, fragile wetlands, limestone formations and opportunities for Bushman to personally introduce you to our most stunning fauna and flora. Admire stalactites and stalagmites in the Luxmore Caves, before freshening up in the stunning Iris Burn Falls. Not to mention the panoramic views of the Te Anau Basin and surrounding peaks along the way. Fun fact: The track was named after German astronomer Johannes Kepler, as the stars are so mesmerising in this part of the world.

What to expect

After a stroll past Lake Te Anau and through native forest, a steady climb leads up to the first hut, followed by a day along the tops of the mountain range with stunning, panoramic views over surrounding peaks and valleys. The last day finishes up with a range of scenery, including a low saddle, a gorge and Lake Manapouri. Discover unique native bird life with the help of your Bushman, like kea (the world’s only alpine parrot), kaka, bellbirds, fantails and our native owl, the ruru.

Starting from $1,500*

*Covers your Bushman, huts and transport where applicable. The more that book, the less the fee is per person. Food and gear are available with your booking.

Build an Itinerary for the Kepler

Milford Track

Located in the stunning Fiordland National Park, south-west of Queenstown in the South Island.

53.5 km

One way

4 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

Stunning Alpine vistas, huge valley views and hundreds of cascading waterfalls. There is a good reason why the Milford Track is one of the finest walks New Zealand has to offer and one of the most sought after in the world. Follow your Bushman (or your feet) through ancient and magical rain forest, valleys carved by glaciers long vanished into legend, and wander alongside pristine alpine lakes while soaking in the peace and solitude of our backcountry. You’ll also have the chance to admire the Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand (580m).

What to expect

After a scenic ship cruise through breathtaking Fiordlands, the track will lead you over suspension bridges, a glorious mountain pass and through native beech forest, with cosy backcountry huts along the way. The track gradually climbs up over the first two days, allowing you to warm up for the steep section to the top of Mackinnon Pass on Day 3 (considered as one of the most breathtaking views in the Southern Hemisphere). Be ready for stunning views over Milford Sound and the surrounding valleys and soak it all in.

Starting from $362*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip.

Build an Itinerary for the Milford Track

Rakiura Track

Located on the north-east of Stuart Island, a short boat ride south from Invercargill.

32 km

Loop track

3 days

of walking and tramping

Difficulty

Intermediate

A true island adventure and getaway. Wander through dense forest and past remote beaches on the Rakiura track while listening to the sounds of Kiwi, fantails and Pukekos around you. 3 days on this lesser known Great Walk gives you the chance to immerse yourself in our native bush, spot Kiwis and relax on sandy shores – there is much to see and do here! This location can be seen in many documentaries including Last Chance to See with Steven Fry and Mark Carwardine, and Gordan Ramsey’s Naional Geographic documentary, Uncharted.

What to expect

Nature is very much in charge on Stewart Island and the forest has changed little over thousands of years, providing a sanctuary for forest and sea birds alike. You’ll also get the chance to visit several historical sites, including an early Māori settlement and sawmilling relics. Most of the track is boardwalk and not too steep, making it a perfect hike for families and beginners. You’ll really feel like you’ve gotten away on Stewart Island – one of the last truly natural places on earth.

Starting from $135*

*Covers your itinerary and booking of the Great Walk, plus transport and huts. Unless otherwise stated, this is a self-guiding trip. 

Build an Itinerary for the Rakiura Track


faqs

Will you organise transport?

Yes, we will arrange all the logistics which includes transport (including walks that are one way). We will also include the booking of your huts which will be charged separately.

Why are huts charged separately?

We don’t have control over hut bookings as this is done through a universal system run by the Department of Conservation. Therefore, the date you want to head out needs to be available first. If it is, we will book the huts for you and charge your credit card. You won’t be charged right away.

Is food included?

Yes. We will provide you with the options of freeze-dried meals and the recipe you’d like (including vegetarian options). These will be ordered in advance and handed over from your Bushman at the start.

Do you hire out gear & equipment?

Yes, our partners around the locations of the Great Walks will provide some options for gear. You will need the minimum requirements to head out safely.

Could I just do these walks without a guide?

Absolutely! What we offer are a local’s knowledge and support. Our Bushmen and women know the regions, the ecological and environmental balance, the history and local secrets most other hikers literally walk passed.

Do you guide all of the Great Walks?

No, we only service a few and these vary over the season. For the ones we don’t guide, we offer the chance to book your own personal Bush-Agent. A member of our team will work with you to arrange affordable travel, accommodation, your walk tickets, food and everything in between.

Head here to learn more about this ➜

Easy hikes in New Zealand

Let us Know Your walking plans

Fill out the form below to let us know what track you’re interested in hiking and the details you’d prefer. We don’t take payment right away as we will look at availability for you and any extras you’d like. A member of our tribe will reach out soon, so double check that email address!

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