Walking and Hiking Hostels
Join in our love affair with the great outdoors and start walking though unsurpassed native forests, lakes, rivers, mountain peaks, gorges and valleys.
Walk Gisborne & the East Cape
Gisborne is the first city in the world to greet the sun each morning. Gisborne and the East Cape have walking tracks that include coastal views, open hill country, bush, rare forest and historic sites. Whatever your walking ability or interest, Gisborne has walks to suit.
The 400 - 500 year-old Kahikatea (podocarp) forest in Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve is a remnant of the forest which once covered much of the Gisborne Plains. Tolaga Bay is home to the Cooks Cove Walkway, a treat for historians as panels along the way detail Captain James Cook’s 1769 visit to the cove. Explore the hole-in-the-wall (Te Kotere o te Whenua) and the excavation of an archaeological site first occupied by Maori. Want something different? Try caving. Mangaone Caves Track is an easy 20 minute walk to a limestone cave. Longer wilderness tramps such as the Manganuku track are accessed further from Gisborne in the East Cape region.
The Marlborough Sounds are best known for satisfying water-babies with watery reaches, beaches and bays. But landlubbers rejoice! For keen walkers, the 70km shared-use Queen Charlotte Track guarantees uncontestably beautiful coastal scenery.
Enjoy the views on skyline ridges, with sweeping downhills and climbs. You can begin in Picton with a boat ride to Ship Cove (there’s no road to the start of the track), have your luggage portaged to your accommodation stop each night and finish 70 hard-earned-kilometres later in Anakiwa.
If two - three days’ walking doesn’t appeal, day walks or rides are available. YHA Picton awaits pre and post ride.
YHA Picton offers some extra special add-ons such as free hot apple crumble with ice cream and breakfast from May to October, free bike hire, fishing gear and treehouse. Unwind from your walk with the cosy courtyard fire or spa pool. A free booking service to the Queen Charlotte Track, tent hire and luggage storage is available.
Walk Arthur's Pass
Arthur's Pass is the highest pass over the Southern Alps and the National Park is the gateway to a network of great Southern Alps walking tracks. Explore the eastern side of Arthur's Pass National Park with wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and beech forests. Or, on the western side there are deep gorges, rivers and waterfalls that flow through rainforest. The middle is known as the 'great divide' and offers alpine landscapes with snowy peaks, glaciers and scree slopes.
Arthur's Pass village is the start for many of the short walks. Longer walks begin at the edge of the highway and traverse through incredible landscapes. Some excellent short walks include the Devil's Punchbowl Falls, Bridal Veil Track, Historic Village Walk, Temple Basin and the Dobson Nature Walk. Full-day walks include Cons Track, Avalanche Peak, Mount Aicken and Mount Bealey. There are a number of multi-day walks for experienced trampers.
No matter which walk, the park's most famous inhabitant will likely make an appearance. Kea birds are famous for their cheeky nature.
Walk Mackenzie District & Aoraki Mt Cook
Visitors flock to the Mackenzie District for the region’s renowned walking and hiking tracks. There are dozens of walks and two famous locations to start from:
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is home to New Zealand's highest mountains, longest glaciers and permanent snow fields; all set under the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. The Mt Cook National Park offers alpine walks to satisfy day walkers and those with the highest degree of experience and skill, including mountaineers. Short walks begin near the village and are well marked. Try The Red Tarns Track, Kea Point and the Hooker Valley Track. Experienced alpine hikers can traverse over the Mueller, Copland and Ball mountain passes.
Tekapo is about a 100km drive from Mt Cook. In Tekapo, walkers discover beech forest and golden landscapes bordering some of the most pristine rivers in New Zealand and the famous, glacial-fed Lake Tekapo. For 360⁰ views of the Mackenzie Basin flats, lakes and mountains, walk from Tekapo Springs to the Mt John observatory.
Stay: YHA Lake Tekapo & YHA Aoraki Mt Cook
YHA Lake Tekapo offers unobstructed views over ice-blue water to the mountains beyond. With spacious, modern shared living areas, a variety of private and shared room types and free WiFi, the team can recommend some great walks around the area and suggest activities to make the most of your time in Lake Tekapo.
YHA Aoraki Mt Cook offers cosy, solar-powered alpine accommodation nestled among majestic mountains and natural beauty. Guests love the hostel's inviting log cabin feel and coming home to a warm fire in our comfortable lounge at the end of a day exploring Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.
A family-owned backpacker hostel, YHA Picton The Villa has everything on its doorstep; diving, kayaking, walks, or of course, a ferry ride to the North Island.
YHA Hanmer Springs
Sitting adjacent to the town's main attraction, the hot springs, YHA Hanmer Springs is a modern backpacker hostel with all the home comforts you might need.
Great Walks Hostels
Check out some of the best spots to stay before or after your Great Walk.
Te Araroa Trail Hostels
Check out which hostels to stay at when taking on the country-long Te Araroa Trail!
DOC Short Walks
The Department of Conservation have a great selection of Short Walks to help you see the best of NZ in small doses. See some of our favourites.
Top Mountain Biking Towns in New Zealand
Whether you're an avid downhill mountain biker or trail rider, our hostels have got you covered when it comes to hanging up your helmet at the end of the ride.