When people think of New Zealand, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the great outdoors. It’s green, it’s mountainous and it has more natural wonders than other countries twice its size. Adventure sports, nature walks, and coastline for days, New Zealand is a country defined by its nature, and everything seems to just have filled in the spaces in between. Renting a campervan in New Zealand and heading out on a journey to see some of its best national parks is a sure fire way to get to the heart of the country’s most scenic landscapes. Here is a list of some of New Zealand’s best national parks for you to sink your hiking boots into.
Te Urewera National Park: Located on the north island, this national park is known for its combination of lakes, forests and mountains. It’s focal point is Lake Waikaremoana which is popular for its fly-fishing and kayaking. Formed over 2,000 years ago by a massive landslide that blocked the nearby river, Te Urewera National Park is one of the top places to visit in New Zealand. If you are renting a campervan in New Zealand, the park has a fully serviced motor camp beside the lake as well as camping huts for those traveling by car.
- Walking: OK, walking may not sound that exciting at first, but Te Urewera has some extensive and scenic walking tracks. The trails will take you along the lake, up onto the ridge for the views and down through some of the lush forests.
- Fly Fishing and Boat Excursions: Fishing licenses can be purchased right on the premises and canoes and row boats can easily be rented within the park. Brown and Rainbow trout are plentiful within the lake.
- Aniwaniwa Museum: Check out this small museum managed by the Department of Conservation and learn all about the environment in the park.
Tongariro National Park: Also located on the north island, this national park was given to New Zealand as a gift from Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV around 1887. The park circles several of New Zealand’s biggest volcanoes and has one of the most diverse landscapes in the country. It is dotted with lakes, meadows, hot springs, craters and volcanoes that still periodically erupt. The mountains of the park have spiritual significance for the Maori people and the forests are home to herbs, medicinal plants and long-tailed bats. New Zealand campervan rentals can be parked in the park’s campgrounds as well as in towns adjacent to the park and the Department of Conservation supplies camping huts as well.
- The Tongariro Alpine Crossing: This hiking trail sees over 65,000 hikers every summer and is popular for its terrain and scenery. There are waterfalls, volcanoes and lakes that make the challenging hike worth the journey.
- Winter Sports: The ski areas offer perfect tracks for skiers and snowboarders. If you are not into the sports, try tobogganing, snow tubing or some of the treks.
- River Activities: Besides going for a good swim, the park’s river offers some pretty fantastic white water rafting and of course a good supply of trout for fly-fishing.
Abel Tasman National Park: Located on the south island, this national park is New Zealand’s smallest but also its most relaxing. Located right along the coast, visitors to this park love that they can experience both beach life and adventure sports all mixed into one stunning destination. Mossy streams meet the ocean and marble formations are covered in forest all with the views of tiny blue penguins and lounging fur seals.
- Walking Tracks: Take one of New Zealand’s greatest walks along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. It takes 3-5 days to complete and will take you through some of the park’s best scenery.
- Sea Kayaking: Take a guided tour or rent a kayak and head out on your own to check out the park from the sea.
- Beach Lounging: If hiking and kayaking don’t strike your fancy, just laze around on the beach surrounded by gorgeous scenery.
Renting a campervan or motorhome in New Zealand and touring the country to see some of its stunning national parks is one of the top ways to get involved in the landscape. From top to bottom, the country has scenery you will have to see to believe. These three parks are merely a few of what New Zealand has to offer those who are willing to make the journey.
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