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.
|600||Otira 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|
|605||Bealey 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|
|610||Jacks 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|
|615||Arthur'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|
|620||Devils 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|
|625||Millennium 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|
|630||Old 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|
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|
|650||Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area|
This hike explores a fascinating jumble of limestone boulders close to Arthur's Pass National Park.
| 2.6 km|
|750||Tasman 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|
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.
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|
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|
|769||Mueller Hut |
Ascend past Sealy Tarns on a rough route to a famed hut with spectacular views of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
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.
Camping on the South Island
The South Island of New Zealand has many good places to camp.
|Avalanche 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 Campground|
Camping is free around this small 3-wall stone shelter along State Highway 73 south of Arthur’s Pass Village.
|Lake 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 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 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 Motel|
This lodging option in Arthur’s Pass Village offers self-contained cabin accommodations that are convenient for visiting Arthur’s Pass National Park.
Or explore Tracks in New Zealand on the Oceania Hike Finder Map