Ultralight Backpacking in New Zealand: Tips & Trails

Hiking in New Zealand: An ultralight backpacker on a well-marked trail between scenic mountains

In this post, we'll take a look at:

New Zealand offers a variety of adventures, from hiking in lush forests and climbing volcanic mountains to leisurely walks near glaciers, lakes, and wild coastlines.

To truly experience New Zealand’s natural beauty, walking is the best option. Numerous trails in the country’s 13 National Parks are well-kept and easy to navigate.

In this post, we’re diving into the world of ultralight backpacking in New Zealand. We’ll give you the essential information you need for your upcoming adventure.

We’ll also highlight the TOP 5 trails in two categories: day hikes (less than 30 miles) and multi-day trips that provide resupply options every two days.

Key Tips for Backpacking in New Zealand

  • Wildlife: Unlike Australia, New Zealand’s wildlife is mostly safe, with just a few spiders, like the white-tailed, redback, and katipo spiders, that can give a rare painful bite. The biggest concern in New Zealand’s waters is the presence of several shark species.
  • Wild camping: In New Zealand, wild camping is allowed, meaning you can establish your camp in any local authority area unless there are explicit restrictions or prohibitions in effect. Nevertheless, it’s crucial for campers to uphold fundamental “leave no trace” principles and follow the rules when staying overnight.

Top 5 Day Hikes (Under 30 Miles)

Here are top day hikes for enhanced experiences with ultralight gear:

  1. Tongariro Alpine Crossing (12.3 miles). See on AllTrails.
  2. Roys Peak Track (10.1 miles). See on AllTrails.
  3. Mount John Walkway (5.1 miles). See on AllTrails.
  4. Isthmus Peak Track (9.7 miles). See on AllTrails.
  5. Tama Lakes Track via Taranaki Falls (10.8 miles). See on AllTrails.

Top 5 Multi-Day Trips

New Zealand’s finest multi-day trails offering resupply points every two days:

  1. Milford Track (33.9 miles). See on AllTrails.
  2. Abel Tasman Coast Track (North to South) (37.4 miles). See on AllTrails.
  3. Kepler Track (36.4 miles). See on AllTrails.
  4. Queen Charlotte Track (45 miles). See on AllTrails.
  5. Gillespie Pass Circuit (34.3 miles). See on AllTrails.

Annual Weather Averages

Prior to choosing your gear, review the weather data for New Zealand (Queenstown):

High °F727268615446465055616470
Low °F505048433732323437434548
Rainy days131315161716151517191617
Note: This table is approximate; weather can change with altitude.
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