7 North Island Hiking Destinations in New Zealand

Take a hike at the end of the world.

Visiting New Zealand will always bring you adventure. If it doesn’t, then you’re probably doing something wrong. The country that sits “at the end of the world” is home to a collection of natural, breathtakingly beautiful terrain, with every pocket of the country having something nothing short of spectacular to offer.

And speaking of beautiful landscapes, we rounded up the best hiking trails in the North Island. Whether you go with a guide or head out on your own — you mostly don’t need any specific training or qualifications — pack up, put on your hiking boots and nestle into the natural world.

Hunua Ranges

About an hour from the city, the Hunua Ranges wait for trekkers. It’s home to Hunua Waterfall, one of the most popular bodies of water in Auckland. It’s the reward that waits for hikers who use one of the several trails.

You can head out on foot on three-hour loop trails such as the Cossey-Massey, reach the silent Cossey Dam, or even go a little further and complete Ernie’s Trail, a six-hour hike with no path but just orange triangular signs to show you the way.

Waitakere Ranges

The Waitakere Ranges also sit close to Auckland. This chain of hill ranges don’t just offer waterfall-filled rain forests to explore, but misty beaches at the stretching coastline are also included in the package.

If there’s anywhere in the North Island that has a good sampling of New Zealand’s natural features, it’s Waitakere. It’s a great place to spend a weekend, taking all of them in.

Karangahake Gorge

What will come as a surprise when visiting Karangahake is the lack of visitors. The gorge was once home to an old mining camp, and you can still see some steel ruins, cart tracks, and hill tunnels — it’s something like the outer corners of the zone in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker.

If that’s the vibe you’re going for, make sure to visit out of peak season, and the rain will gladly add to the eerie abandoned feel. But if you want the opposite, visit in the summer and make sure to bring more than a few of your friends.

Waitomo

Waitomo, on the other hand, is known for its magnificently complex cave network, and the glow worms in it. But on the surface, literally, Waitomo offers a hike or two on its verdant trails.

Walking into Ruakuri Scenic Reserve via Waitomo Walkway, you’ll encounter limestone rocks, tunnels, caves and a flurry of different plants and trees above you. Waitomo River will be soon by your side, and as will the Marokopa Falls.

About the Author

Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker originates from Northeast England. He began his journey on the road back in 2012 throughout Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Now, over 4 years in, he is a freelance travel writer and content marketing specialist. Tommy has visited the Philippines twice and especially raves about Banaue. He has attended Sinulog festival, swum with Whalesharks and even DJ’d in Boracay!He was featured in the Business Insider, BBC and Choose Philippines. Tommy goes by his own motto “every new place is a good place.”If you don’t see Tommy focused doing Hot Yoga, trailing through rainforests, ducking into the ocean or eating local street food, you’ll see him at a small bar drinking what the locals drink!