Hiking in New Zealand: The Series


November 8, 2018

We're starting a hiking in NZ blog series that will give you an awesome list of hiking destinations around the country, all of which are approved by ArcadiaNZ students. In this first post we'll go over some basic hiking safety tips and in the coming weeks you'll see a ton of great places to gear up with your friends and see some of New Zealand's incredible natural beauty.

Hiking in New Zealand is truly a must. There are 13 national parks in NZ, ie nearly 30% of the whole country. There are hikes up to glaciers, hikes over high mountain passes, hikes with hot thermal springs close by, hikes next to the ocean and hikes through Mordor. There are hikes across golden sand beaches, hikes in beech forest, hikes around lakes, and many take three or four days to complete with huts/lodges every 5 – 8 hours of hiking. If you think you might like to hike when you are in NZ:

  1. Be sure to bring your backpack, sleeping bag, good waterproof hiking rain jacket and
    comfortable hiking boots over from the US. Hiking gear is a lot more expensive in NZ than in the US.
  2. Join the university ‘tramping club’ (tramping is NZ speak for ‘hiking’) because you will meet others keen on weekend trips, they have cheap gear to rent including cookers/pots/pans, and they organize weekend trips during the semester. It is also good to check with local members about which hikes they think are possible depending on the time of the year.
  3. Get the ‘ NZ Metservice’ app on your phone and also check Metvuw.com for the latest
    forecast charts. The weather can change fast in NZ.
  4. Rent a locator beacon for hikes – eg Unipol at Otago University has locator beacons to hire
    for $5 NZD
  5. Never wear jeans hiking in NZ – jeans in the rain are a disaster – they are heavy, wet and
  6. Be sure to tell others of your hiking plan, and expected end day.
  7. Pack wisely with extra food and water. Items like a head torch don’t weigh much and can
    help stop you getting lost in the dark. Chocolate and nuts and dried fruit are energy full and delicious.
  8. Try and travel in a small groups and keep an eye out for each other, regrouping regularly
    even if there is a difference in abilities.
  9. Learn the hiking etiquette rules – no rubbish can be left anywhere in a national park, not
    even an apple core, and be sure to leave all huts/lodges clean with the floor swept and
    mattresses stacked.
  10. Have FUN! Some people are so intent on getting to the destination that they forget to enjoy the hiking. One of my most magical moments last year was sitting on the Copland Track waiting for some friends to catch up and discovering an owl perched in a tree next to me.