• Nicole He

Top 5 Beginner Hikes in New Zealand South Island

Lots of people enjoy hiking for the scenic views but it can be difficult to find one suited for beginners that aren't used to long hikes. So we're listing out our top picks for beginner hikes, in the South Island of New Zealand, that are beginner-friendly and outlined how much time it takes for each one of them!

Source: Destinationless Travel

South Island

1. Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier track

40 minutes

Explore New Zealand's longest glacier with a short walk through the alpine-fed lakes, with a path that's large and clear, it's definitely one of the easiest hikes! We recommend taking this hike during sunrise for the best views of the glacier.

2. Jack’s Blowhole hike

40 minutes

Take a walk through farmlands marked by painted poles and governed by sheep, to a blowhole that runs 55 metres deep. It's a beautiful location with exploding waves and roaring sounds of the ocean. You definitely should not miss this short track, for a 3km hike it rewards you with some of the best views around.

3. Purakaunui Falls Walk

15 minutes

This walk is short but definitely sweet. It's one of Otago's iconic, most-photographed sights. This walk takes you from the carpark through to a beautiful opening where you can see a large waterfall and native bush of the area. The flat ground of the hike makes it highly suitable for wheelchair users to get to the top and take in the scenery!

4. McLean Falls hike

40 minutes

Another short hike from the carpark, it's a 15-20 minute walk through a mossy forest to view one of the tallest waterfalls in the Catlins Forst park. If you go further than the lower waterfall lookout to the upper one, it can be around a 40-minute walk.

5. Fox Glacier

40 minutes

Have you ever wanted to try ice hiking? Roughly 2.6km, this ice-hiking adventure goes through a valley that has been carved out by a large glacier - back when it used to be a lot larger. You can book tours here and although it can be a long hike, it can be shorter if you don't go the full length of the valley.

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