I did most of my hiking overseas this year, in Australia, Switzerland and Bhutan, but walked some great tracks in New Zealand as warm ups for those longer trips.
The Tableland Circuit in Kahurangi National Park was the perfect weekend hike, with great views across the park, eclectic accommodation (spent the night in a hut literally built into a rock shelf), and unexpected snowfall making the landscape even more scenic.
The Mt McIntosh Track and Mt Judah Track made for a wonderful day walk in the hills behind Glenorchy, an hour from Queenstown. Beautiful Otago scenery, historic mining remains, and some decent hills, a great combination.
An unexpected delight was the Hakarimata Walkway, behind Huntly, between Auckland and Hamilton. I saw almost no one walking from Parker Road to the Summit and back, passing through beautiful native bush with giant Kauri and tree ferns. The low lying cloud made for a memorable walk and views.
The Te Henga Walkway was my go to for training, one of the longest and hardest day walks in the Auckland region, an undulating 20km return walk between Constable Road and Bethells Beach along the stunning West Coast of Auckland.
My other go to for training with a heavy pack was heading up to the 376m high twin summits of the Mount William Walkway, 40 minutes drive of Auckland, by Pokeno. On a clear day you can see Auckland CBD in the distance. This parrot (one of a pair) was a quite unexpected sight. It had a small harness with presumably a tracking device on it’s back.