The Great Walks are hiking trails preserved by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DoC) that traverse some of the country’s most significant natural terrain. Winding through national parks, housing native wildlife, and hugging both sea and mountain, New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks are all multi-day adventures whisking hikers of all levels away into the wilderness.
As one of the shorter and more accessible of the Great Walks, the Routeburn Track is ideal for travelers with limited time or limited outdoor experience. I fell into this latter category when doing my working holiday in New Zealand, and Routeburn turned out to be a natural initiation to the backcountry. Bridging Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks northwest of Queenstown on the South Island, this trail’s 20 miles take you through hanging valleys, glimmering streams, and soaring ranges.