Walking & 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. 

See also: Te Araroa Trail and Great Walks 

North Island 

The North Island walking tracks have distinct landscapes and offer a variety of challenges for keen walkers.

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.


YHA Gisborne

YHA Gisborne is a homestead-style hostel and is ideal for pre and post walks. Knowledgable staff can help you find a walk to suit your preferences and ability. 

Book YHA Gisborne

For walkers:

Leave your extra luggage at the hostel pre-walk.

South Island

The South Island is a walker's paradise with a vast network of well-maintained tracks and trails as well as more 'off the beaten track' trails for the super keen enthusiasts. If you want to spend a few hours, or a few days, in the New Zealand great outdoors, get inspired and get walking! Then relax and kick back at one of our 35+ hostels that are perfectly situated for these awesome walks. Jump to: MarlboroughArthur's Pass, the  Mackenzie district or the North Island walking tracks.

Walk Marlborough

Queen Charlotte TrackThe 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 rides are available. YHA Picton awaits pre and post ride. 


 YHA Picton

YHA Picton

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.

Book YHA Picton

For walkers:

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.

YHA Arthur's Pass

Stay at YHA Arthur’s Pass Mountain House, a modern, heated suntrap with great views but still with a small hostel feel. Take the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass for a short or extended stay and then carry on to Greymouth or return to Christchurch.

Book YHA Arthur's Pass

For walkers:

Bag and bike storage is available for the duration of your walk and a drying room will dry your wet gear upon your return. 

MacKenzie District and Aoraki Mt Cook (Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mt Cook)
The Mackenzie District is the most popular region for walking and hiking for international visitors and it is easy to see why with beautiful crystal blue lakes, soaring mountains and rolling hills. Whether you want to find a secluded lookout or spend the day taking in the varied landscape you will find a suitable walkway in the Mackenzie District.
Walk through beech forest to grass and shrub lands, along lakefronts and some of the most pristine rivers in New Zealand.  For 360-degree views of Mackenzie Basin flats, lakes and mountains walk from the Lake Tekapo winter park up Mt John to the observatory. 
Aoraki/Mt Cook Area provides walking tracks, tramping tracks and routes for those with a high degree of experience and skill. Take in the sight of mountains up close, in winter view the frozen Tasman Glacier Lake, which in summer has floating icebergs or simply take in the birdlife and summer alpine flowers. 
Hooker valley track, Mt Cook – 3 hours return (30 minute and 1 hour options). Mountain, glacier and river views are the reward of this track winding through rocky hill sides and across multiple swing bridges. (explorers)

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.

YHAs Aoraki Mt Cook & Lake Tekapo

Relax in the inviting YHA Aoraki Mt Cook. Pluck some tunes on one of the hostel’s guitars and stay toasty with the central heating throughout.

Book YHA Aoraki Mt Cook

For walkers:

Kick up your feet in front of the cosy fire or in the free sauna. A large drying room is available for wet gear.

Located on the glacier-fed Lake Tekapo lakefront, enjoy the unobstructed views to the lake and mountains beyond. YHA Lake Tekapo is close to the township with great facilities.

Book YHA Lake Tekapo

Relax by the fire in the large lounge or soak away aching muscles at nearby Tekapo Springs.

Book direct online, or ring our Customer Services team at 0800 278 299.

Aoraki Mt-Cook

DOC Short Walks

Nelson biking

Mountain Biking Hostels


Adrenaline Activities