Whether you’re a local or an overseas traveller, you’ve probably heard of some of New Zealand’s famous multi-day hikes. And while our Great Walks are amazing, we know that not everyone has days to spare to take on these epic adventures. Luckily, New Zealand also has some incredible walks that can be made in a day and without a tent in tow.

Here are some of the best day walks in the country:

Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Tongariro National park, North Island
With spectacular volcanic scenery including old lava flows, incredible emerald lakes, and unforgettable views of nearby mountains, the crossing is one of the county’s most popular walks. Starting from Mangatepopo Village near Whakapapa, the walk takes you up Mt Tongariro, past streams, craters, lakes and even an old volcanic vent before descending to a lush forest. Take note, this track is not for the faint hearted and you’ll need a good level of fitness to take it on. It’s also very weather dependant,

Distance: 19 kilometres
Time: 8 hours

Cape Kidnappers Walking Track – Hawke’s Bay, North Island
Ever heard of a gannet? If you haven’t, it won’t be long before you’ve both heard of and heard them if you take on this dramatic coastal walk.
Close to Napier, Cape Kidnappers is an easy-going beach walk to the Cape, where you’ll meet Australasia’s largest gannet colony up close.
Pass breath-taking stratified cliff faces, spot fault lines and even see fossilised shells on your way to the Black Reef nesting site.

Distance: 19 kilometres
Time: 5 hours return

Hooker Valley Track – Canterbury, South Island
When it comes to great walks, you’re spoilt for choice in Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Hooker Valley track is up there with the best of them.
The track follows the Hooker River through the valley to an incredible glacier lake, where, on a clear day, you can also see Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest Mountain.
You’ll cross swing bridges and pass icebergs on your way, so pack your camera (and some strong nerves if you fear heights).

Distance: 10 Kilometres
Time: 3 hours return

Coast to Coast Walk – Auckland, North Island
More of an urban explorer than a hiker? You’ll love Auckland’s famous Coast to Coast Walk . This walk is one of the best ways to explore Auckland and learn about its history and georgraphy. From the bustling city, to the peace and quiet of the historic One Tree Hill, this walk really has it all. And on completion, you’ll officially be able to say you’ve walked from one side of New Zealand to the other.

Distance: 16 kilometres
Time: 5 hours

Mt Robert Circuit – Nelson Lakes, South Island
Showcasing some of the most picturesque features of Nelson Lakes National Park, this walk is a must do if you’re stopping by Nelson, and makes for one memorable day trip.
Starting on Paddys track around the side of Mt Robert, the steady climb to Robert Ridge provides plenty of photo ops. Zigzag down the Pinchgut Track, a spectacular and lush bush track with views of nearby Lake Rotoiti, to complete the loop.

Distance: 9 kilometres
Time: 5 hours return

Ben Lomond Summit – Queenstown, South Island.

Ben Lomond is a 1748m mountain overlooking Queenstown and it takes some real effort to tame – so pack your water, because this walk is sure to turn on the thirst.
The first section takes you exploring through a native beech forest, before a final, and very challenging push uphill to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded incredible panoramic lake and mountain views. We aren’t going to lie, you’ll need to be fit for this one, but it’s all worth it in the end.

Distance: 11 kilometres
Time: 8 hours

Keen to know more?
We’re just scratching the surface with these and there are plenty more fantastic day walks dotted throughout the country. If you’re picking up a rental car from us anytime soon, ask our team to share their own local knowledge for great walks in their area. Our friendly team is always happy to help.