Top South Island hikes

Our backyard is full of stunning natural beauty, great peaks and valleys, glaciers, and some of the best landscapes in – dare we say it – the world. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced hiker, New Zealand’s South Island will have the ideal track for you.

Here we take you through a handful of tracks that are our top picks for scenic routes over multiple days, staying at some of the cutest huts in the region. Make sure to take note of the level of experience required for each trek.

Abel Tasman Coast Track – 60km one way – 3-5 days – 4 huts & 19 campsites – Intermediate

unknown-1One of the South Island’s Great Walks, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is a stunning trek around the top of the South Island just outside of Nelson, and can be traversed in either direction. Make sure to book huts and campsites well in advance, as this is a very popular hike.


  • Long suspension bridge over Falls River
  • Cleopatra’s Pool
  • Awaroa Inlet (consult tide schedules for crossing times)
  • Wainui Inlet

Mueller Hut Route, Mt Cook –10.4km round trip – 1 day, or overnight – 1 hut – Advanced

unknown-2Looking to follow in Sir Edmund Hillary’s footsteps? This hike takes in views of Mount Ollivier, his first conquest. The Mueller Hut route is a short but difficult climb only recommended for experienced hikers. It is well worth spending an evening at Mueller’s Hut after your climb and before your final ascent.  Bookings are required.


  • Look out over the Hooker Valley
  • Views of the Mueller Glacier
  • 360 degree outlook

The Kepler Trail – 60km loop – 3-4 days – 3 huts & 2 campsites – Intermediate

kepler-track-239Another of the Great Walks, the Kepler Trail is the South Island’s wilderness at its greatest. Taking in lakes, cliffsides, and caves (if you so desire), you can experience the beauty of nature on this trek. Book huts and campsites in advance.


  • The huge Lake Te Anau
  • Luxmore Cave (side trek)
  • Rocky Point
  • Bridge at Rainbow Ridge

Travers-Sabine Circuit – 80km loop – 4-7 days – 7 huts, 3 campsites & hotels at St Arnaud and Rotoroa – Advanced

15Valleys, forests, mountains, alpine outlooks and streams make the Travers-Sabine Circuit a picturesque tramp for those up to the challenge. For those looking for a little bit of luxury at the beginning and end of the hike, you can stay in hotel accommodations in both St Arnaud and Rotoroa. Bookings are required for huts and campsites along the way.


  • Lake Rotoiti
  • Whiskey Falls (side trek)
  • Travers River
  • Travers Saddle crossing
  • Sabine Forks
  • Multiple beautiful side treks