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Five top tips to help you plan your New Zealand hiking trip

If you're planning next year's vacation and feeling a little bold, why not step outside your comfort zone? Head south to New Zealand and take a walk, a Great Walk,  through middle earth.

The Kepler Track, New Zealand's great walks

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, chances are you've never heard of tramping. The American equivalent of hiking, tramping is uniquely Kiwi - and with its dramatic landscapes and diverse scenery it’s no wonder thousands of holidaymakers head to New Zealand every year to get lost in the great outdoors.

Because if you want to truly absorb the magnificence of this country, the only thing to do is go off-the-beaten-track. And by that - of course - we mean tramp. With nine so called ‘New Zealand Great Walks’ scattered across both islands - whether you're a seasoned hiker or casual day-walker there’s something here to fit any level of expertise.

But before you head out on foot, there are a few things you should know in advance. So we’ve put our expertise to the test and come up with a few points to help you out.

Book in advance

A mistake visitors often make is assuming a place on one of the Great Walks doesn’t have to be reserved. New Zealand may be small but our network of walking tracks is extensive and popular - even in the off season. The huts range from $22-$54 NZD per night and campsites are between $6-18 depending on the track and season. you can read more about the tracks here.

Organise transportation

Most tracks are not on a loop and require a pick up or drop off at one or both ends. It's common for hikers to either drive their car to the end of the track and catch a taxi or a bus to the start, or drive to the start and bus or taxi back from the finish.

Take your own boots. If there’s one thing to invest in, it’s this. Make sure you break them in beforehand as well - nobody likes blisters! enough said. To be doubly protected - take some super fine merino hikers wool to wrap around your toes. 

Be prepared for the season

New Zealand climate is changeable so it's important to check the weather report before heading out into the wilderness. And while tramping in the rain/hail/snow is actually kind of fun, It can cause hazardous conditions on the trail. Make sure you take appropriate seasonal layers and always tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to be back. In peak season you will be required to sign in at Department of Conservation before you leave for your tramp but we recommend, for safety, signing in the book at all times.  Always read weather warnings and heed advice from your hut warden.  

Only take the essentials

Pack light! Trust us, after eight hours on the trail you'll be regretting that face-wash and pillow you thought you couldn't do without. Take lightweight, good quality gear that can be folded flat - and be sure to bring a waterproof pack liner in case of rain.

Tramping or hiking (whatever you choose to call it!) is the best way to immerse yourself in the splendor of nature. So be inspired! Use our five tips to help turn your New Zealand Great Walk into the adventure of a lifetime.