The Best Hiking Trails in NZ’s South Island Region

New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful countries, with its sprawling mountains, wild forests and stunning ocean views. The country is also an adventurer’s paradise, offering dozens of fantastic hiking trails, including some that can be completed in a single day. Here are five of New Zealand’s best day hike trails to check out on your next offshore adventure!

#5: Rocky Mountain Trail

With an elevation of 450m and a duration of just two or three hours, Rocky Mountain is a brief but stunning hike that has been kitted out with plenty of ladders and steps along the way. Ideal for families and people of all levels of hiking experience, the trail can take just under 1.5 hours to summit in a best case scenario, and offers legendary sunrise views across Lake Wanaka.

Be sure to get up early to see one of these sun-ups in all its glory! There are also numerous viewpoints based along the trail, including fantastic views of the Diamond Lake. The 7km return route is simple to walk as well, making it once again ideal for family hikers, particularly those with older children.

#4: Roy’s Peak

This popular day hike from Wanaka is based just 5km outside of the lakeside town itself. It boasts an elevation gain of around 1,250m, and takes between five and seven hours to hike. It is a relatively simple trail to walk, despite being quite long, and the walk itself offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

One thing to bear in mind is that this trail is exposed all along its route, so you will need wind-proof gear, sunscreen, and lots of water! The undulating ridge in particular is a must-see, and offers a great photo opportunity for tourists, and the route is easy enough to have you back to playing online casino Singapore games by sundown.

#3: Isthmus Peak

Another trail near Wanaka, this 1,000m elevation gain peak hike is situated between the mountain range that separates Lake Wanaka with Lake Hawea. It is the same length, but not as widely popular, as the Roy’s Peak hike, which is part of what makes it so rewarding, particularly for introverts, nature lovers, and those looking for some peace and personal space.

The trail winds through private farms and woodlands alike, and has a good balance between being exposed and sheltered, while also offering amazing views just like Roy’s does.

#2: Ben Lomond Trail

This is Queenstown’s trademark 1437m  elevation gain hike which attracts hundreds of tourists and evangelists every year. Emerging in the forest just above Mount Alfred, the well-maintained trail meets up with the infamous Ben Lomond Saddle.

Here, you can choose to either steer right to Bowen Peak, or go left to the Ben Lomond Summit. Either way, you can expect awesome views of the Remarkables Mountains, as well as Lake Wakatipu and countless picturesque canyons and valleys. For those who want a shorter hike (the original is between six and eight hours long), the route can be shortened if you take the Queenstown Gondola up the first part of it!

#1: Mount Alfred

This is a lesser known gem in the South Island region, starting just a few minutes outside the town of Glenorchy. It winds through native bush and woodlands until it emerges onto a steep outlook from which both the ridge and the summit can be accessed.

The northern point of the trail overlooks Paradise and the Earnslaw Glacier, and from the south, you can see Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. It offers a manageable elevation gain of 1,000m and a duration of roughly six hours!