Day Walks in New Zealand

Must-do day walks in Queenstown, Wanaka, Tekapo, and other locations in New Zealand that offer scenic views or a reconnection with nature.

Walking in New Zealand National Parks

New Zealand has 14 national parks with four located on the North Island, nine on the South Island, and one on Stewart Island.

The four national parks on the North Island are: Te Urewera, Egmont, Whanganui, and Tongariro.

The nine national parks on the South Island are: Abel Tasman, Kahurangi, Nelson Lakes, Paparoa, Arthur's Pass, Westland/Tai Poutini, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring, and Fiordland.

The one national park on Stewart Island is: Rakiura.

You can walk in all these national parks. Some are more challenging than others and some require you to walk multiple days to get to breathtaking scenery.

Entry to national parks is unrestricted and generally free of charge, but if you are doing multi-day hikes and are planning on staying in huts on trails, there is a fee you must pay for staying in huts. Please consult the Department of Conservation website for more information on multi-day hikes and hut fees.

One-Day Hikes in New Zealand

Here on New Zealand Travel Insider, we only focus on hikes that can be done in one day, so one-day hikes or day walks.

Below you will find a selection of some of the finest day walks in New Zealand.

  • Scenic Lookout Walks

    • Lake Benmore Peninsula Track walk, Waitaki Valley, New Zealand Lake Benmore Peninsula walk – Get a detailed description of the Lake Benmore Peninsula track and see photos and a video of the stunning mountain and lake scenery offered by this walk.
    • Mt John Walkway near Lake Tekapo Mt John Walkway near Lake Tekapo – Get a detailed description, photos, and a video of this scenic walk up Mount John, which provides scenic views of Lake Tekapo and surrounding mountains.
  • Wanaka Walks

    • Mount Roy Track in Wanaka Mount Roy Track in Wanaka – Get a full description of this strenuous hike up Mount Roy that offers spectacular scenic views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.
    • Diamond Lake walk in Wanaka Diamond Lake walk in Wanaka – Get a description and see photos of the Diamond Lake walk up to a lookout that offers good scenic views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains.
  • Queenstown Walks

    • Queenstown Hill Time Walk Queenstown Hill Time Walk – The Queenstown Hill Time Walk is a demanding walk uphill, ending with fantastic views of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables, and other mountains.
    • Bobs Cove Track Queenstown New Zealand Bobs Cove track near Queenstown – Get a detailed description of this Queentown walk, and see photos and a video of walking around Bob's Cove up to a scenic lookout over Lake Wakatipu.
    • Lake Dispute track near Queenstown Lake Dispute track near Queenstown – Get a full description, photos, and a video of the Lake Dispute Walkway near Queenstown, which takes you up to a high-country lake.
  • Wellington Walks

    • Wellington City lookout walk to the Brooklyn wind turbine Brooklyn wind turbine Wellington walk – Get a detailed description, photos, and a video of the walk to the Brooklyn wind turbine in Wellington, which offers scenic views of the city and surroundings.
    • Mount Victoria Wellington Lookout walk Mount Victoria Wellington lookout walk – The Mount Victoria Lookout is easily accessible from Wellington's city centre and offers 360-degree scenic views. Learn how to get there and what to expect.
    • Pencarrow Lighthouse walk Wellington Pencarrow Lighthouse walk Wellington – Learn how to get to Pencarrow Head to see two lighthouses, beautiful coastal scenery, views of Lake Kohangapiripiri, the South Island, and the harbor.
    • Mount Kaukau lookout walk Wellington Mount Kaukau lookout walk Wellington – Learn how to easily get to Mount Kaukau and see a video of this lookout walk that offers scenic views of Wellington, the South Island, and wind turbines.
    • Colonial Knob walk New Zealand Colonial Knob walk New Zealand – Learn what to expect and see a video of this semi-challenging walk up Colonial Knob that offers 360-degree scenic views of Wellington and two islands.
    • Queen Elizabeth Park walk New Zealand Queen Elizabeth Park walk New Zealand – Learn how to get to and see a video of Queen Elizabeth Park in New Zealand for nice views of Kapiti Island and an early morning stroll on the beach.
  • Waterfall Walks

    • Matai Falls surrounded by dense green forest in the Catlins on coastal Otago in New Zealand Matai Falls: A waterfall in the Catlins – Learn how to get to and see a video of Matai Falls surrounded by green foliage and moss in a forest in the Catlins on the South Island of New Zealand.
    • Hikers at Mangatini Falls, West Coast, New Zealand West Coast waterfall: Mangatini Falls – Learn how to get to and what to expect from the walk to Mangatini Falls on the Charming Creek Walkway on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
  • Mount Cook National Park Walks