On the rim of Red Crater in Tongariro National Park, North Island.

4 Top Outdoor Adventures in New Zealand

In Backpacking, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Have you adventured in New Zealand yet? If not, then why not? Some of my all-time favorite assignments for Backpacker magazine have involved trekking and paddling on this island nation with an amazing bounty of natural beauty and a outdoors-loving culture to match it.

This is the time of year to start planning a visit during the upcoming austral summer; for many trips, you need to make travel arrangements and hut reservations months in advance. I’ve listed below a series of five-star, multi-sport adventures that could fill a two-week (or longer) visit to New Zealand.

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6 Responses to 4 Top Outdoor Adventures in New Zealand

  1. Mitch Stevens   |  October 29, 2014 at 11:50 am

    great and informative article. Someday I wish to travel to New Zealand

  2. michaellanza   |  October 26, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Hi Wayne, I’ve heard that sentiment before, more often in response to articles I’ve written for Backpacker magazine. In my experience, other factors have a much greater impact on the popularity of a hike or outdoor destination than whether there was a recent magazine or blog article. The biggest factors are how hard it is to get to the place–if it’s physically demanding or far from major population centers, you won’t see a lot of people–and whether it’s a national park, which are always popular.

    That said, you can avoid crowds even on the most popular trails by avoiding the times that most people go there. For instance, I’ve hiked the Mist Trail and Half Dome in Yosemite when there wasn’t anyone else around just by starting early in the morning (a beautiful time of day when you’re also going to get better light for photos and see more wildlife).

    As for my Tongariro story, as I point out in the trip-planning suggestions under Make It Happen, the vast majority of dayhikers arrive on buses between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., resulting in a huge pulse of people on the traditional Tongariro Crossing route right after those buses roll in. So either start the hike by 7 a.m. or after 9 a.m.; we did the latter and saw just a few other hikers all day.

    You are fortunate to live in a beautiful country. I look forward to visiting again. The many people who visit New Zealand annually support a tourism industry that has a significant, positive impact on your national economy, so I think there are many more benefits than drawbacks to living in such a wonderful place. Enjoy.

  3. ronwagn   |  October 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    We have been there and to me it is like going to Alaska and Hawaii in one trip. It is the greatest travel destination in the world.

    • wayne   |  October 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      just remember, there is no shortage of trails to do in NZ,, do some homework and you can find some hidden gems of your own.. be prepared for rough tracks that may require navigaton skills and bad weather any time of the year

      • michaellanza   |  October 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

        You’re right. I’ve done some of them, Wayne, like the Steele Creek Track between the Caples and Greenstone. Very rugged, beautiful hike, and we saw no one else.

  4. wayne   |  October 24, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    i’m a new zealander
    i wish people wouldnt run these stories, lost count of how many articles talk about the same trips in nz, result they get overrun with people and stop being such great walks,
    tongariro crossing gets up to a thousand people a day on it… so if thats not your thing, find your own track and don’t rely on these articles that are ruining our best places with crowds of people…

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