South Island NZ

Parent Regions


Any interesting history for the region?


What are the standout bushwalking features?


How do you get there? Include all access points if there are many?


Which maps cover the region?


Where can I stay there? or near there?



Contact details

Contact details for National Park offices or similar...

Walks in South Island NZ


Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Part of the Abel Tasman NP. Easy but challenging walk on well maintained coastal track. Day walks are possible as drop off and pick up by water taxi is available. Combining with sea kayaking amongst the seal colony is a special experience. Many coves, beaches, even a few crossings on hanging bridges. Stunning scenery and lots of birds and wildlife.

5 km return
2 hrs

Castle Hill

Castle Hill Basin lies between the Torlesse and Craigieburn mountain ranges and is characterised by its distinctive limestone rock formations. These limestone rock formations are the water eroded remnants of limestone formed during the Oligocene age 30-40 million years ago when much of present day New Zealand was covered by the sea.
The area is of special cultural, spiritual and historical significance to Ngai Tahu who named it Kura Tawhiti (treasure from afar). Hidden amongst the limestone outcrops of Castle Hill are traces of 500-year old charcoal drawings traditionally said to have been left by the Waitaha, the first people to travel through this area.

5.9 km return
105 mins

Cowans Hill

The track passes the Church of the Good Shepherd and Dog Statue, along the shoreline, before heading along the edge of an exotic forest to open hillside tussock country and small tarns where wetland birds stop to feed, before heading back down to the Tekapo River through a plantation.

6.6 km return
2.5 hrs

Fox Glacier Valley Walk

The Fox Glacier Valley Walk follows the south bank of the Fox River through ancient podocarp rainforest. The track heads gently up the valley crossing ancient glacial moraine surfaces, with the forest reflecting the various ages of the glacier moraines which it has colonised and gets you within 4km of the glacier face.

2 km return
1 hr

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Franz Josef Glacier is now just 300m above sea level and 12km long, starting its journey in the neve of Mt Tasman, having once stretched as far as 35km out into the Tasman Sea. As a result of its accessibility, it is one of the most widely visited glaciers in the world.
This walk gives you some sort of perspective of the power of ice and water and includes a view of the spectacular 35m high Trident Falls.

82 km
5 days

Heaphy Track

A 4-6 day walk linking Golden Bay and the West Coast crossing through part of Kahurangi National Park, the Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand's nine Great Walks.<br /><br />The Heaphy Track includes a great range of feature including Beech forests, iconic Nikau Palm groves and the Gouland Downs.

6.1 km return
2 mins

Hectors Coastal Track

Hector's Coastal Track offers coastal scenic views, as it crosses Caroline Bay, up to the old Lighthouse and along the cliffs to Dashing Point and beyond.

1.7 km return
1 hr

Hokitika Gorge

Hokitika Gorge, often referred to as the "Blue Gorge', due to its vivid turquoise water, swing bridge and surrounding of lush native bush, looks just too good to be true.

10.3 km return
3 hrs

Hooker Valley Track

One of the most popular walks in the park, the track leads up the Hooker valley towards Aoraki/Mount Cook. It passes close to the Alpine Memorial (a great viewpoint) and Freda’s Rock before coming to the viewing point of the Mueller Glacier and the first swing bridge.

Cross the Hooker River here and carry on to the second swing bridge. Look out for many different wildflowers along the way, including celmisia and the Mount Cook buttercup/kopukupuku.

The track from the first swing bridge to the second travels between old moraine ridges and humps. Past the second bridge, the vegetation changes to more open tussock and a wider valley floor. A third swing bridge leads to the East Hooker and the source of the Hooker River. The track ends at the glacier lake, where there are amazing views to be had of Aoraki/Mount Cook, Hooker Glacier and the Southern Alps/Ka Tiritiri o te Moana.

Return the same way, enjoying more views down valley and across to the Sealy Range.

60 km return
4 days

Kepler Track

The Kepler Track is a 60 km, 3-4 day loop track taking you from the gentle, beech-forested shores of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri to the tussocky alpine tops and grand Mt Luxmore. Your reward for the hill climb is a long section above bushline with marvellous panoramic views of the Kepler Mountains on one side, and lakes, rivers and hanging valleys on the other.

The Kepler Track is an excellent track for you and your family and friends, especially if you love the outdoors, want an adventure with a bit of a physical challenge that is not too hard to get to and has excellent facilities.

This is a Great Walk and offers a high standard of track and very comfortable, serviced huts as well as camping opportunities. During the winter months (May to October) the Kepler Track remains open, but with reduced facilities.