South Island

New Zealand’s South Island is the nation’s largest and most rugged island. While bigger than the North Island, the South Island holds less than a quarter of New Zealand’s population – in other words, the South Island is especially wild and beautiful. Christchurch, Dunedin, and Nelson are the island’s largest cities, and Queenstown is a prominent destination for travelers. Parks and wilderness areas can be found throughout the South Island, including nine amazing national parks: Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Lakes National Park, Arthur’s Pass National Park, Paparoa National Park, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park, Westland Tai Poutini National Park (which includes Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier), and Fiordland National Park.

The South Island is divided into seven regions (Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago, and Southland). Read more about New Zealand’s regions.

Hiking Tracks on the South Island

The walking tracks (hiking trails) in this collection are listed from north to south and west to east. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. There is also a search feature, which can be used to quickly isolate the hike you are looking for. Each track links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Otira Valley Track600Otira Valley Track
This out and back return hike ventures up a valley on the north side of Arthur's Pass, finding a footbridge over Otira River and broad views of surrounding mountains.
3.8 km
125 meters
-42.8986,
171.5587
Bealey Chasm Walk605Bealey Chasm Walk
This short walk passes through moss-covered beech trees to a bridge over Bealey River where it slips through a ravine.
0.65 km
12 meters
-42.9192,
171.5584
Jacks Hut Bridal Veil Falls Lookout610Jacks Hut to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout
This hike on Arthur's Pass Walking Track crosses beech forests and alpine shrublands, dropping across a canyon to arrive at a view of Bridal Veil Falls.
2.5 km
75 meters
-42.9196,
171.5586
Arthur's Pass Walking Track Bridal Veil Falls Lookout615Arthur's Pass Village to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout
This hike up Arthur's Pass Walking Track takes a gradual approach to a viewpoint with a perspective of Bridal Veil Falls and surrounding mountains.
1.8 km
68 meters
-42.9353,
171.56063
Devils Punchbowl Falls620Devils Punchbowl Falls
This out and back return hike ascends to a viewing platform near the base of an impressive waterfall that should be a top priority for Arthur's Pass National Park visitors.
2 km
90 meters
-42.9353,
171.56063
Millennium Walk to Avalanche Creek Waterfall625Millennium Walk to Avalanche Creek Waterfall
This short walk goes from Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre to a bridge and viewpoint below a waterfall on Avalanche Creek as it approaches Arthur's Pass Village.
0.5 km
7 meters
-42.942,
171.5626
Old Coach Road Walk630Old Coach Road Walk
If you stay overnight at Greyneys Shelter Campground, start the day with this short loop that travels through the forest surrounding the campground along an old roadbed.
1 - 1.4 km
15 meters
-42.9843,
171.5906
Kereru Loop Wooded Gully Track640Kereru Loop
This short loop combines Wooded Gully Track, Kereru Track, and Red Pine Track to slip through forest to a picnic spot next to Wooded Gully Stream in Mount Forest Thomas Conservation Area.
2.45 km
95 meters
-43.1922,
172.3362
Castle Hill650Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area
This hike explores a fascinating jumble of limestone boulders close to Arthur's Pass National Park.
2.6 km
65 meters
-43.23335,
171.7222
Tasman Glacier View Track750Tasman Glacier View & Blue Lakes
This pair of tracks form a short two-pronged hike with views of small emerald pools and a large milky lake below Tasman Glacier in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
1.85 km
85 meters
-43.698,
170.16325
Hooker Valley Track760Hooker Valley
This extraordinary out and back return hike in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park makes its way up a valley surrounded by massive peaks to Hooker Lake, which is filled with icebergs originating from a glacier below Mount Cook.
11 km
20 meters
-43.7187,
170.09315
Kea Point Track763Kea Point
This easier return walk goes to landing above Mueller Lake with views of Mount Sefton and Mount Cook in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
3 km
95 meters
-43.71875,
170.0926
Sealy Tarns Track766Sealy Tarns
This incredibly steep and incredibly scenic hike in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park uses a string of staircases to ascend a mountainside to pools that reflect views of Mount Sefton and Mount Cook.
5.8 km
547 meters
-43.71875,
170.0926
Mueller Hut Route769Mueller Hut
Ascend past Sealy Tarns on a rough route to a famed hut with spectacular views of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
10.5 km
1,045 meters
-43.71875,
170.0926
Mount Ollivier770Mount Ollivier
This 1,933-meter tall summit can be reached by ascending above Mueller Hut for even grander views over in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
11.7 km
1,170 meters
-43.71875,
170.0926

Camping on the South Island

The South Island of New Zealand has many good places to camp.

Avalanche Creek Shelter CampgroundAvalanche Creek Shelter Campground
This 10-site campground in Arthur’s Pass Village has a large shelter and easy access to the park visitor center and nearby hiking tracks.
Greyneys Shelter CampgroundGreyneys Shelter Campground
Camping is free around this small 3-wall stone shelter along State Highway 73 south of Arthur’s Pass Village.
Lake Pearson CampgroundLake Pearson (Moana Rua) Campground
This campground has about 20 sites along the shore of a peaceful lake between mountains in the Canterbury Region near Arthur’s Pass National Park.
White Horse Hill CampgroundWhite Horse Hill Campground
This 60-site campground is surrounded by great hiking tracks and just a few kilometers from Mount Cook Village, making it an ideal place to stay during a visit to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
Wooded Gully CampgroundWooded Gully Campground
This broad campground with minimal amenities has grassy sites near the start of the hiking tracks into Mount Thomas Forest Conservation Area.

 

Lodging on the South Island

The South Island of New Zealand has additional accommodations.

Arthur's Pass Alpine MotelArthur’s Pass Alpine Motel
This lodging option in Arthur’s Pass Village offers self-contained cabin accommodations that are convenient for visiting Arthur’s Pass National Park.

 

View New Zealand tracks, campgrounds, and lodging in a larger map
Or explore Tracks in New Zealand on the Oceania Hike Finder Map
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Devils Punchbowl Falls Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Devils Punchbowl Walking Track Arthur's Pass Village Hiking Track Devils Punchbowl Waterfall New Zealand Devil's Punchbowl
Devils Punchbowl Falls is a star attraction in Arthur's Pass National Park. The dynamic waterfall plunges 131 meters into a canyon near Arthur's Pass Village. The area's Māori named the waterfall Hinekakai, taking inspiration from its beautiful threads of water. Visitors can reach the waterfall on a 2-kilometer (1.4-mile) round trip walk beginning from Arthur's Pass... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: August 31, 2016
Otira Valley Track Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Arthur's Pass Village Hiking Track New Zealand
Just over the north side of Arthur's Pass and 5 kilometers from Arthur's Pass Village, you'll find Otira Valley Track, which ascends a trough-shaped valley off the west side of the pass. The track ends at Otira River Footbridge. Under normal circumstances, a bridge would be an odd place to end a hike (since a bridge lead to something on the other side). The route beyond... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Creeks · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 3.8 kilometers / 2.35 miles · Elevation change: 125 meters / 410 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 29, 2016
Bealey Chasm Walk Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Bealey River Hiking Track Bealey Valley Track Footbridge Arthur's Pass Village New Zealand
North of Arthur's Pass Village, Bealey River passes through a narrow gorge, creating a mix of tumbling white water and blue pools. A footbridge on Bealey Valley Track crosses over this point on the river, called Bealey Chasm. Visit the chasm on a short walk beginning from State Highway 73. Bealey Chasm Walk starts with a short section of Arthur's Pass Walking Track and... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Creeks · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 0.65 kilometers / 0.4 miles · Elevation change: 12 meters / 40 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 9, 2016
Old Coach Road Walk Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Greyneys Shelter Arthur's Pass Hiking Track New Zealand
This mostly unremarkable woodland walk explores the forest a few kilometers south of Arthur's Pass Village. Much of the track follows an old coach road that went to Arthur's Pass so the walk provides a history lesson on the area's earlier travelers. The easy walk is 1 to 1.4 kilometers long, starting and ending at Greynes Shelter Campground. With just 15 meters of... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 1.4 kilometers / 0.9 miles · Elevation change: 15 meters / 50 feet
By: Published: Last updated: July 1, 2016
Millennium Walk Avalanche Creek Waterfall Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Avalanche Creek Falls Arthur's Pass Hiking Track New Zealand
Millennium Walk is a very short hike from the visitor center for Arthur's Pass National Park to a viewing platform alongside Avalanche Creek Waterfall. This walk is 500 meters round trip with only a few meters of elevation change, covered over stone steps at the end of the walk. If you stop by the visitor center in Arthur's Pass Village, this short walk to the waterfall... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: December 8, 2016