September 20, 2020

Things You Need to Know Before Hiking in New Zealand

There are plenty of beautiful places all around the world where you can take your hiking to. If you’re an avid traveler and a hiker as well, then you should definitely combine these two passions of yours and explore a variety of places.

Not only will it create a much-needed variety to a beloved activity, but it also allows you to see the natural sights of a place. On that note, there are plenty of places and countries all over the world that have beautiful hiking trails and spots. In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choices.

With that in mind, you might want to consider the beautiful land of New Zealand as your next hiking destination of choice.

There are plenty of reasons why New Zealand is a great place to go hiking, but there is an even bigger incentive given to the huge Lord of the Rings fans who want to walk around Middle Earth.

It is known for its beautiful rolling hills and rugged landscapes, which makes it a perfect place to go on an adventure and reconnect with nature. Even if you don’t know anything about Lord of the Rings, hiking in New Zealand is still definitely recommended.

On that note, here are several things you need to know before you go hiking in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, They Call Hiking ‘Tramping’

One of the first things you should know about before you go hiking in New Zealand is that what we call hiking is called tramping in this part of the world.

New Zealand has long been into the act of tramping around in their rough wilderness. It’s something that they have done historically, especially since they have this beautiful alpine wilderness to do this in.

The act of tramping usually means a person who has nothing but their backpack, their hiking boots, hiking poles, and maybe some cooking supplies goes around and traverses the New Zealand wilderness for a few days or so. The person doing the tramping is, of course, called a tramper.

Although tramping is usually a term used for longer hikes that may require camping, it doesn’t mean that day-trip hiking isn’t something that they’re familiar with. Thus, if you’re a beginner, you can still go hiking around New Zealand.

It is Steep

As mentioned before, New Zealand is known for its Alpine surroundings that historically has been a hiking spot for a lot of native New Zealanders for a while now. Thus, if you’re going to be hiking in New Zealand, it may be important to note that a lot of their hiking trails will be quite steep and won’t be flat all the time.

This information is going to be relevant to people who might have difficulty tramping on steeper inclines. However, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be so steep that you’d have to crawl on your hands and feet to be able to get to where you have to go.

Nonetheless, they’re going to be a challenge if you’re not used to hiking on inclines.

New Zealand Has Great Walks

Speaking of a challenge, if you’re an avid hiker looking to traverse the more famous hiking spots or trails in New Zealand, then you should know that they have nine “Great Walks” to speak of.

These Great Walks are New Zealand’s best hiking trails because they are one of the most popular and well-maintained hiking trails of the country.

The Great Walks of New Zealand covers a lot of its beautiful and various sceneries from the forests to the coastlines. In fact, these trails are maintained to a high standard by the Department of Conservation in the country, so these are trails that would be relatively easy to traverse for both beginners and veteran trampers.

You can complete the walks between a three to six-day span since they can be quite expansive. Nonetheless, they’re not called Great Walks without reason, so you should definitely check them out.

You Need to Pack for All Seasons

One thing that you should know about New Zealand is that you can experience all four seasons in one day for the entire year when you’re there.

You can feel the chill of the winter, and the warmth of summer, and the breeze of spring and fall. With that said, it will be quite inconvenient for you if you end up dressed for the wrong season!

Make sure that you have clothes fit for all seasons. Wear something underneath your layers that you’re comfortable wearing when you remove these layers and vice versa. You never know what type of weather situation you might be dealing with when you’re in New Zealand.

Lots of Different Kinds of Trails

When you’re in New Zealand, you won’t have to look anywhere else for all kinds of hiking trails to choose from.

If you have a particular preference for a hiking trail based on your expertise or any other personal choice, then do your research, and you’re likely going to find a hiking trail that can accommodate your hiking trail preferences.

Whether you want a day hike or to go straight-up camping in the wilderness for a couple of days or more, there are plenty of hiking trails for you to choose from. If you’re not used to the New Zealand environment, then you might want to go for a day hike first just in case.

Types of Accommodation

When you’re hiking for several days, usually, the only plan you have for accommodations would be the tent that you’re bringing with you. Although that is a viable option in and of itself, there are different types of hiking accommodations you can choose from as well. There are plenty of facilities in New Zealand that provide that for you.

In New Zealand, there are huts available in all sorts of places in the backcountry that you may come across during one of your hikes. These hikes have fees depending on their location or their facilities, but there are also basic huts that you can stay in for free.

Most of these huts are maintained by the Department of Conservation of New Zealand, and they’re a great convenience to plenty of hikers, both local and foreign.

Brown Water is Safe to Drink, But Boil First!

If you plan on staying in one of the huts mentioned before, then there is something to keep in mind. These huts have water available to drink for any people planning on staying in these huts.

However, sometimes, the water that you get might be a bit brown. If this is the case, then you don’t have to worry.

If the water is from the taps in the huts themselves or from the rainwater barrels available in the facilities, then they’re safe to drink.

However, it is advised that you boil this water first for three minutes or more before drinking to be extra safe.

Department of Conservation (DOC)

When hiking in New Zealand, you’re going to come across the influence of the Department of Conservation a lot. In this article alone, we’ve mentioned them a couple of times!

This is no surprise given the fact that they are the ones who are looking over all of the hiking trails or walking tracks in New Zealand to make sure that they are maintained and safe to use.

If you plan on hiking on any of their walking tracks, just look for their visitor centers all around the country. You can book their huts there and find out more about the national parks and the trails in the country that they supervise.

Never Go Alone

No matter where you are in the world when you plan on going hiking, even if it’s just a short hiking trip, you should make sure that you never go alone. You should also notify someone of your hiking plans, as well. This is for your safety when you go hiking.

This is especially important if you’re a beginner. You should have a hiking partner that is more experienced than you are and can navigate using a variety of navigation tools.

That way, when push comes to shove, you will be able to get yourself out of any trouble you might encounter while you’re on your hike.

All Your Waste Should Follow You Out

This is another tip that you should follow no matter where you are. Nonetheless, when you’re hiking around New Zealand, make sure that you don’t leave any waste along with you.

The Department of Conservation is particularly strict about the state of their walking trails. However, even if they aren’t, it’s good courtesy not to leave any waste where you hike.

Make sure that you pick up after yourself and bring along any trash that you have with you and dispose of it properly.

New Zealand has a lot to offer to people who love tramping. That’s why it’s a place you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Hopefully, the tips listed above will be able to help you on your tramping journey all across New Zealand. Before going on any hiking trip, though, it’s always important to be prepared, so the tips listed above should be able to help you with that matter. Enjoy the hike!

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