Best National Parks and Hiking in New Zealand

It’s undeniable that New Zealand has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, much of which is found in its 13 national parks that span over 11,000 square miles. Any of these parks will have you recharging your camera battery at the end of a full day.

If you’re a fan of the landscapes featured in any of the Lord of the Rings films, Fiordland National Park will be a highlight. The country’s biggest park sees scores of visitors each year, who embark on scenic boat trips throughout the area’s two main sounds: Milford and Doubtful. The endless mountain ranges in the park also offer great hikes, including the most famous of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Milford Track.

Located on the west side of the North Island, Egmont National Park is named after the volcano that looms at its core, Mt. Taranaki. The volcano has two names: “Taranaki” being its original Māori name, while Mt. Egmont was what Captain Cook called it when he first came to the region. It is more than 120,000 years old and is New Zealand’s most hiked volcano.

Another Lord of the Rings filming location and New Zealand’s third largest national park, Mount Aspiring is a hiker’s paradise, with some of the most breathtaking landscapes around. There are options to explore river valleys, deep wilderness, or hike on the mountain itself. The area is filled with pounamu (jade).

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