Aotearoa New Zealand has some world class overnight hikes for families, no matter how old your kids are. For young families, easing into the hobby of family tramping, an overnight hike with the kids can be a great start.
Whether it’s a flat walk through the native bush, or up to the bushline, choosing the right trip for your familys’ abilities is essential. Just remember, the planning and preparation stage is the most important step to ensure your family has a safe enjoyable adventure.
Plan My Walk is the best way to discover overnight hikes and to quickly see if they’re the right fit for your family. Developed by the NZ Mountain Safety Council, it has the country’s largest database of public walks. It also has trail descriptions accompanied by filters to find the right length and difficulty, track alerts, customisable packing lists, weather forecasts, reviews from other walkers, and an easy-to-use plan builder that sends your intentions to a trusted contact.
Here are eight hikes, suggested by the NZ Mountain Safety Council, perfect for young families venturing into the great outdoors.
Mt Heale Hut, Aotea/Great Barrier Island, Auckland
The Mt Heale hut can be accessed via a handful of tracks in the Aotea Conservation Park. However, the Aotea Track offers the best access and leads you through a kauri forest, across boardwalks, and to the island’s summit and the hut. A fully-serviced hut with excellent views is a great destination.
Sunrise Hut, Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay
Nestled in a tussock basin in the Ruahine Forest Park sits Sunrise Hut. At 1280m it has stunning views of the Hawke’s Bay plains and of course, breath-taking sunrises.
The Sunrise Hut Track is one the most popular in the park, especially for families meaning it requires bookings between Labour Weekend and April 30. Tip: Pack extra warm clothes.
Atiwhakatu Hut, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa
A two-hour walk through native bush alongside the Atiwhakatu River leads to the large 26-bunk Atiwhakatu Hut. A relatively flat, easy walk over swing bridges and through stunning New Zealand bush guides you to the hut which sits just near the river’s edge.
Tip: Check the weather forecast up until leaving home as the Tararua Forest Park is known for changeable weather.
Holly Hut, Egmont National Park, Taranaki
On the slopes of Mt Taranaki, Holly Hut is a popular base and pitstop for those exploring the national park. Just 7km from the North Egmont Visitor Centre, the Holly Hut track takes you around the mountain to the hut. There’s plenty to explore nearby including the Ahukawakawa Swamp and the Bells Falls.
Jans Hut, Wellington
A popular track within the Remutaka Forest Park, the Ōrongorongo Track is an undulating walk that passes through different forest types and follows a stream to the hut. The two-hour walk leads to many huts, one being Jans Hut. A serviced hut, a perfect size for the whole family to enjoy.
Bushline Hut, Nelson/Tasman
The Mount Robert Circuit to the Bushline Hut will keep the kids entertained with great views over Lake Rotoiti. Often done as a day walk with a lunch stop at the hut, this is a great overnight tramp for families with children or new trampers.
Nina Hut Track, Lake Sumner Forest Park, Canterbury
A relatively flat three-hour track that leads through stream crossings and sometimes muddy areas on the way up to the Nina Hut. River views, swing bridges and beech forest make up this great track for new trampers and families.
Woolshed Creek Hut, Mt Somers Area, Canterbury
Follow the miners track alongside the Woolshed Creek until the tracks climbs up to the summit before descending to the hut. This track is great for first-time trampers as an overnight stay, or as a lunch break spot before heading back down. The Woolshed Creek Hut is set in tussock country surrounded by small hills great for exploring for panoramic views.
Keeping Your Family Comfortable and Safe
Take the basics to keep you and the family comfortable and safe. What you take with you will make all the difference if something were to go wrong such as getting lost, delayed or injured.
Multiday Hiking Essentials
- Waterproof Jacket
- Emergency Communications Device (Personal Locator Beacon)
- Warm Clothing (Not Cotton)
- Hat and Gloves
- Sturdy Footwear
- Water and Food
- Emergency Shelter
- First Aid Kit
- Map and Compass or GPS
- Packliner + Pack
- Sun Protection
- Walking Poles
- Cooker, Fuel, Utensils
- Toiletries and Personal Medication
- Sleeping Bag
Find More Overnight Hikes
Narrowing down this list was hard work! These are just a few of our favourite family-friendly walks across the country, but there are so many other incredible trails to explore.
Check out Plan My Walk or download the app to find a walk near you. It’s completely free to use and was developed to help you plan safe and successful outdoor adventures. Happy walking!