Campervan hire in the South Island of New Zealand is one of the best ways to experience the endless number of hiking trails on offer as you wind through mountains, glaciers, icebergs, valleys and forests.
The South Island boasts such a variety of tracks that there is something spectacular for every experience level including 1-2 hour trails, day trips and multi day hikes.
Here are 5 of our most favourite South Island hiking tracks
Rees and Dart River Hike
This spectacular hike will take you along both the Rees and Dart Rivers over the course of 4 to 5 days.
Starting from Muddy Creek and ending at Chinaman’s Bluff, the hike is recommended for those with some experience hiking and a degree of fitness. Along the Dart and Rees rivers you will experience green forests, alpine vegetation, ice blue rivers and the beauty of the Dart Glacier.
Camping is permitted along the trail in certain areas, so it is a good idea to make contact prior to embarking. Also available in three locations are huts with between 20-32 bunkers each. These huts are open to the public but booking is essential.
The Rees and Dart River hike can prove challenging depending on weather conditions so it is advisable to stay within the safest recommended months of December to April.
More information: Rees and Dart River Hike
A scenic 2 hour trip in your camper hire from Queenstown will find you at the start of the Milford Trail. The trail is perhaps New Zealand’s most famous and undoubtedly a must for any nature loving, hiking enthusiast.
To enjoy the whole trail, it will take you about 4 days all up, but the beauty of the path is that it is manageable for really any level of experience.
A boat trip from Te Anau Downs is the beginning of the track where you will walk 53 km in total along silent fiords, luscious forestry, suspension bridges, mountain passes and natural wonders such as the Pompolona ice fields.
If you prefer the convenience of a guide for your hike, tours are available with experts who will be able to show you the very best of the famous New Zealand Milford Track.
More information: New Zealand Milford Track
Marlborough – Waikakaho/ Cullen Creek Walkway
This hike is only a 5 minute drive in your motorhome hire from the town of Picton, making it the perfect day trip while travelling in your campervan hire in New Zealand’s South Island.
Following the path of an old gold miner, the hike will take you through Wairau Valley and Linkwater, with an old mining town to see along the way. None of the original infrastructure from the town still stands, however old signs remain giving insight to life in that time.
The trail is 9km long and will take you around 5 hours if you have a moderate level of fitness and decent hiking shoes.
What’s not to love about walking through some of nature’s finest creations across watercourses, up hills and through the beauty of regenerating forests.
More information: Waikakaho/ Cullen Creek Walkway
The Franz Josef Glacier
The Franz Josef Glacier is one of the world’s most accessible rivers of ice and an incredible experience you cannot afford to miss when touring in your campervan hire.
The beauty of this glacier is that it is only a 5 minute drive from the town of Franz Josef and the entire trail will take you around 1.5 hours.
The initial 15 minutes of the trek are simple enough, allowing you to take in the glorious forest trail.After reaching a rocky riverbed that requires crossing however, the path becomes a little more challenging and requires you to stick to the path.
Signs are positioned the whole way and it is vital that they are respected due to some of the treacherous terrain surrounding the path.
For a close encounter with the glacier, some tours offer helicopter trips over blocked paths.
More information: can be found here.
Hooker Valley Track
The Hooker Valley trail begins about two and a half hours from Wanaka at the White Horse Hill campground making it a perfect stop for your campervan hire adventure throughout the South Island.
Hiking through the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, you will enjoy a relatively easy trail which is mostly flat, with mountain views, iceberg lakes, glaciers and rugged untouched terrain.
The entire trail will take you around 4 hours and across 3 separate swing bridges with breathtaking views. Winding up along Hooker Valley, through Hooker River, the trail concludes with a glacial lake and view of the iconic Aoraki Mount Cook.
More information: Hooker Valley track
We’ve got your heart pumping for a trip and all you need is a campervan?
Check out our campervan listings for New Zealand and book your campsite in advance to save money.
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