1. Hollyford Track (2-8 days)
Some of New Zealand’s most popular Great Walks are in the World Heritage Site of Fiordland National Park. Why not try this awesome Great Walk alternative, the Hollyford Track? The track is open year-round, plus the track is usually well-maintained with decent huts to stay in, costing NZ$15 per person per night. The Hollyford Track begins in the sheer rock faces of the Darren Mountains and follows the Hollyford River through beautiful native forest on its journey to the wild west coast. Find out more in 5 Incredible Multi-day Hikes in the Fiordland National Park.
Location: Fiordland National Park, South Island
2. Pouakai Circuit (2-3 days)
Walk around one of New Zealand’s most beautiful volcanoes, Mt Taranaki, on the Pouakai Circuit. The track takes you through wild and wonderful forest, tussock-covered sub-alpine wilderness and the unique Ahukawakawa Swamp. Side trips to waterfalls and epic viewpoints are an added extra. Stay in the DOC’s large serviced huts with mattresses, bunks, heating and lighting for NZ$15 per person per night.
Location: Egmont National Park, North Island
3. Humpridge Track (3 days)
For a more “luxurious” yet stunningly beautiful walk in the Fiordland National Park, try the Humpridge Track. The track showcases some sensational views of the rugged Fiordland coastline while travelling over sub-alpine tops. The accommodation is privately-owned lodges – a lot more luxurious than your average DOC hut. There are 8-bunk dorms available, as well as double rooms. For around NZ$175 per person, that pays for a night in each of the two huts, as well as breakfast. Bookings are made at the Humpridge Track information centre in Tuatapere.
Location: Fiordland National Park, South Island
4. Mt Holdsworth Jumbo Circuit (2-3 days)
Travel over the stunning mountain tops of the Tararua Forest Park. The track is a quick hike through beech forest to the mountain tops with well-serviced huts to stay in. Huts have heating, mattresses, bunks and cooking facilities for NZ$15 per person per night. Bookings are essential during the summer season, but it’s first-come-first-served in the off-season.
Location: Tararua Forest Park, North Island
5. Inland Track (3 days)
Everyone’s heard of the Abel Tasman Great Walk, but check out the Abel Tasman National Park’s wild side on the Inland Track! Walk to the calls of native birds through this tract of undisturbed forest. The track is a little rougher than those of the Great Walks, and you will often have to follow orange track markers than an actual “track”. Accommodation are two standard DOC huts with mattresses, bunks and heating costing only NZ$5 per person per night. Bookings are not required.
Location: Abel Tasman National Park, South Island
6. Aotea Track (2-3 days)
Escape to Great Barrier Island and get lost in the wilderness of the Aotea Track. With an abundance of wildlife, awesome island and mountain views, forests, waterfalls and natural hot springs, there is a lot to experience on this multi-day track. Accommodation in the service DOC huts is NZ$15 per person per night. Find out more in Guide to the Aotea Track on Great Barrier Island.
Location: Great Barrier Island
7. Pelorus Track (3-4 days)
A great place to get off the beaten track between Nelson and Picton is on the Pelorus Track. Get a semi-remote forest experience as you follow the Pelorus River, the same river that featured in The Hobbit trilogy, along with some interesting waterfall features and a chromite mine. The accommodation is standard DOC hut accommodation with mattresses, bunks and heating, costing NZ$5 per person per night.
Location: Mt Richmond Forest Park, South Island
8. Te Paki Coastal Track (3-4 days)
For a super cheap, easy multi-day hike and camping experience, do the Te Paki Coastal Trail. Discover the magnificent coastline around Cape Reinga, Ninety Mile Beach and Spirits Bay in this tranquil northern paradise. Two of the campsites are free, while another one is only NZ$8 per person per night. Just do a section of the trail to make it completely free. Find out more in 12 Free Multi-Day Hikes in New Zealand.
Location: Te Paki Recreation Reserve, North Island
9. Queen Charlotte Track (3-5 days)
The perfect mix of coastline and thick native forest awaits hikers on the Queen Charlotte Track. Enjoy tranquil bays, wildlife and a good range of accommodation options along the way to truly make this popular hiking track your own. Be aware that there is an NZ$18 fee for multi-day hiking which goes over private land. Accommodation ranges from DOC campsites costing around NZ$8 per person per night to backpacker accommodation starting from NZ$30 to luxurious private rooms around NZ$200 per night. More information can be found in 10 Awesome Activities in the Marlborough Sounds.
Location: Marlborough Sounds, South Island
10. round the Mountain Track (4-6 days)
An awesome alternative to the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk is the Round the Mountain Track. Travel over fascinating volcanic landscape as you hike around the flanks of the active Mt Ruapehu. You will experience a great variety of landscapes from forest to exposed volcanic rocky outcrops. One of the hut accommodations is a Great Walks hut which needs to be booked in advance, costing NZ$36 in the “Great Walks Season” and NZ$15 outside of the Great Walks season. Otherwise, the other huts are NZ$15 per person per night and availability is on a first-come-first-served basis.
Location: Tongariro National Park, North Island
11. Southern Circuit Stewart Island/Rakiura (4-6 days)
Not only is Stewart Island the home of the Rakiura Great Walk, but the island is also 80% national park well-connected with hiking routes and trails along with hut accommodation. The Southern Circuit is a truly remote backcountry experience. With so much time out in the wilderness, you’re almost guaranteed to see a kiwi bird in the wild. There is a mix of Great Walk huts (around NZ$24 per night) and standard huts (NZ$5 per person per night) on the track for accommodation. Find out more about the island in Stewart Island Guide for Backpackers and Rakiura National Park Guide for Backpackers.
Location: Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island
12. St James Walkway (5 days)
An easier-grade multi-day hike is the St James Walkway, which is a great introduction to multi-day hiking in New Zealand. Cross lush pastoral lands, beech forest and into sub-alpine regions. Mountain views will make the whole experience extremely rewarding. Stay in the serviced DOC huts which are NZ$15 per person per night. No bookings are required and spaces in the hut are on a first-come-first-served basis, so get in quick!
Location: Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve, South Island