NEW ZEALAND. Famous for being home of the Lord of the Rings, New Zealand is a country filled with stunning landscapes. Arguably the best way to enjoy and appreciate its natural beauty is with hiking boots on your feet and a backpack on your shoulders. The country offers a great variety of hiking opportunities including nine Great Walks, some of the most popular tracks in the country that provide its visitors with diverse and spectacular scenery.

However, you don’t need to attend one of the Great Walks to discover New Zealand’s astonishing nature. There are numerous other hiking and walking opportunities. One of them is Akaroa’s Banks Peninsula Track. This 35 kilometers long trail runs through forests and pastures that cover beautiful bays and offer breathtaking views of the South Pacific Ocean.

If you want to avoid crowds and enjoy beautiful scenery in peace, Banks Peninsula track is a great choice. Like many other New Zealand tracks, Banks Peninsula as well limits the number of walkers per day. However, its limit is lesser in comparison to some of the Great Walks, allowing only 12 walkers per day. Bookings are thus essential.

The track is owned and co-operated by the local families, which have worked together for over twenty years. You can book your track with thenm for two or four days. While the four-day walk prices range from 230 to 285 New Zealand dollars, the two-day walk costs between 150 and 175 New Zealand dollars. The prices vary by season. The only difference between the actual walks is that a two-day option requires walkers to track larger distance per day. As the track is not too demanding, the two-day option is perfectly doable. However, watching the beautiful scenery I can guarantee that you’d wish to go for four days.

View from Onuku Trampers' Hut |Liza Nagode

View from Onuku Trampers’ Hut |Liza Nagode

Banks Peninsula track allows you to be your own guide, giving you an opportunity to craft your own daily schedule. Beside your nightly accommodations, there is no fixed itinerary. Don’t worry though! As the tracks are well formed and easy to follow, getting lost is next to impossible.

Your adventure begins in front of Akaroa’s Post Office, where the bus will pick you up and take you to Onuku Trampers’ Hut where you will spend your first night. The actual walk will begin the next day. As the track is circular, you will end at the same place as you begun – the historic French and British settlement, Akaroa.

Banks Peninsula provides its walkers with four fully equipped, well maintained, and extremely homey huts. At Onuku Trampers’ Hut, you can choose to sleep in one of the smaller cabins with transparent roof, which allows for star watching. At Flea Bay Cottage you can warm up by the fireplace and attend a free white flippered penguin conservation tour in the evening. The following day, the 20-dollar kayaking tour will also provide you with an opportunity to observe dolphins and seals that regularly find themselves in the bay. The third-night Stony Bay Cottage will reveal you some innovative ideas to design your home. Finally, Otanerito Beach House will allow you to fully relax and prepare yourself for the next-day return.

Sleeping underneath the stars | Liza Nagode

Sleeping underneath the stars | Liza Nagode

The huts don’t provide its visitors with sufficient blankets and thus you should carry a sleeping bag (also available for hire). You should also bring your own towel and the food that you will need during the first two days (if you are a four-day walker) or during the first day (if you are a two-day walker). You will be able to restock your backpack at small but well stocked trampers’ shops at Stony Bay Cottage and Otanerito Beach House. If you decide for a walk during the summer season, make sure to bring your bathing suite as afternoons will be ideal for swimming in the bays.

One of the fully equipped kitchens at Stony Bay Cottage | Liza Nagode

One of the fully equipped kitchens at Stony Bay Cottage | Liza Nagode

For more information on how to get to Akaroa and the track’s details please visit the website