Best lake trails in New Zealand

5,455 Reviews
Explore the most popular lake trails in New Zealand with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of lake trails in New Zealand
Top trails (186)
#1 - Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tongariro National Park
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Length: 12.1 mi • Est. 6 h 41 m
To experience what many people call the "World's Greatest Day Hike" you will need no permits, however, transportation arrangements must be made for both ends of the hike, so make sure you do some planning! You must also be mindful of shuttle pick-up times if you decide to summit Mt. Tongariro or Mt. Ngauruhoe (both cannot be done within the same day). There are sections of the hike that are considered active volcano areas, and the trail has optional side trips to Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe (famously known as 'Mt Doom' in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) as well as passing Mount Ruapehu.Show more
#2 - Hooker Valley Track to Hooker Lake
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
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Length: 6.5 mi • Est. 3 h 3 m
The trail is easy to follow and has spectacular views. Stunning walks over bridges and beautiful ice formations. Doable for anyone with reasonable fitness. Only a few inclines / steps but not technically difficult. Carpark is pretty much packed after 900am but there is enough parking for ~200 so your bound to get something anytime throughout the day. Show more
#3 - Milford Track
Fiordland National Park
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Length: 37.4 mi • Est. Multi-day
Note: There are partial closures on the Milford Track due to earthquake risks and storm damage. Check here for more information: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/milford-track/ Ancient glaciers, rainforest, and waterfalls greet hikers that retrace the steps of early explorers by taking on the Milford Track Great Walk. The best time to hike is March, when the temperatures are warm and there may be less rainfall. The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council has created a video to help prepare walkers for the alpine section of the track over MacKinnon Pass which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRpgTXEncSk&t=231s In the Great Walks season (23 October - 30 April) reservations are required for huts, which have gas cooking stoves and staff on site and cost $140 per night for International visitors and $70 per night for New Zealand residents. Outside the Great Walks season (1 May - 22 October) facilities, including bridges, are greatly reduced. Flood and avalanche risks exist and only experienced hikers with knowledge of the local weather should attempt the hike. Reservations are not required - huts are first come, first serve. Prices are steeply discounted. Camping is not allowed along this route, so you will need to stay in the three huts (fees apply and reservations are needed during Great Walk Season) Clinton Hunt, Mintaro Hut, and Dumpling Hut. There are also private lodges along the route you may want to research that provide luxury accommodation at higher prices. Show more
#4 - Kepler Track
Fiordland National Park
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Length: 37.7 mi • Est. Multi-day
Alpine vistas and lake beaches define this approximately four day hike on the edge of the Fiordland Wilderness. The region receives high rainfall and changeable conditions. Rain, snow and cold snaps occur at almost any time of year. Pre-departure planning and preparation can be done in Te Anau at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Center on Lake Front Drive. The hike can be done in other direction, but the more popular direction goes counterclockwise. It is not recommended that you hike outside the Great Walks Season unless you have extensive experience and knowledge of the local weather. In the Great Walks season (23 October - 30 April): Bookings are required for huts and campsites, huts have gas cooking stoves and resident wardens Outside the Great Walks season (1 May - 22 October): Facilities are greatly reduced, avalanche risk exists, experience is required Bookings are not required - huts and campsites are first come, first served $130 per International visitor per night for all ages (booking required) $65 per adult per night; 17 years and under free (booking required) The Kepler Track also allows camping in designated campsites. Campsites have toilets, water, and picnic tables. New Zealand rate is $20 per adult per night; 17 years and under free (booking required). International rate is $40 per person per night for all ages (booking required). For a list of the hike broken into segments, see here: https://www.alltrails.com/lists/kepler-trackShow more
#5 - Muller Lake Lookout
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(383)
Length: 1.2 mi • Est. 34 m
The most spectacular views per ounce of energy in all of New Zealand. Make sure to come on a clear day for the best experience. The trail is easy to follow and very comfortable. The carpark is pretty much packed after 900am but there is enough parking for ~200 so your bound to get something anytime throughout the day. Highly recommended.Show more
#6 - Routeburn Track
Mount Aspiring National Park
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Length: 19.9 mi • Est. 11 h 38 m
New Zealand's second most popular Great Walk. A moderately difficult high-mountain traverse that links Fiordland and Mount Aspiring national parks. Usually a two to three day trip - popular in summer and almost impassable during winter. New Zealand's second most popular Great Walk. A moderately difficult high-mountain traverse that links Fiordland and Mount Aspiring national parks. Usually a two to three day trip - popular in summer and almost impassable during winter. For the full route North to South see here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/new-zealand/otago-region/routeburn-track This route has slightly more incline, but the majority of tours and guided hikes go the opposite direction (South to North), so it can be nice to do the opposite and avoid some of the crowding, however, either direction is a great choice. For the list of segments: https://www.alltrails.com/lists/routeburn-trackShow more
#7 - Diamond Lake Track
Mount Aspiring National Park
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Length: 4.4 mi • Est. 2 h 52 m
It is highly recommendable to take the east track to Rocky Mountain on the way up and the west track on the way down. Wear waterproof hiking boots because in places it’s super muddy and wet. All in all, the hike is beautiful and not heavily traveled if you choose to go up to Rocky Mountain.Show more
#8 - Mount John Walkway
Twizel, Canterbury, New Zealand
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Length: 5.1 mi • Est. 2 h 53 m
Nice hike for a lookout over Lake Tekapo, the city, as well as the surrounding mountains. Definitely worth the time! More information about tracks around Lake Tekapo can be found here: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/lake-tekapo-area/things-to-do/lake-tekapo-town-tracks/Show more
#9 - Lake Marian Track
Fiordland National Park
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Length: 3.8 mi • Est. 2 h 28 m
Great trail! Beautiful view of the lake on the mountain. Make sure to follow the well marked trail at the beginning. If it’s rained recently be sure to have proper boots, it’ll get muddy real quick. https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/lake-marian-track/Show more
#10 - Tongariro Northern Circuit
Tongariro National Park
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Length: 39.2 mi • Est. Multi-day
Located in the heart of North Island in Tongariro National Park. A volcanic park full of unique lunar landscapes, old craters, lakes and steaming hot pools. https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/central-north-island/places/tongariro-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/tongariro-northern-circuit/Show more
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