If you love nature then you can be sure that the National Parks of New Zealand will be one of the highlights of your travels. There are 14 of them and they occupy almost one-third of the total land area. For comparison, national parks in the Czech Republic cover about 2% of the area.
You can find all kinds of landscapes inside them Glaciers, rocky shields, forests and jungles, fjords and lakes or volcanic environments, beautiful rivers, and waterfalls. You can explore them on foot, by bike or even by kayak. Get to know them from all sides, from high-up, from the water or underground.
All the parks are managed by the Department of Nature Conservation commonly known as the DOC which looks after nature but also tries to offer visitors the best and safest travel experience. So they also prepare all the maps, routes, signs, landmarks, leaflets, etc. Each of the parks is interwoven with a network of diverse routes of different character and difficulty. All kinds of people can enjoy their adventures there, from seniors to adventure enthusiasts. It’s a good idea to start with visiting the closest DOC to get a lot of useful information or just search online their very well developed websites, where you can easily get all the information in one place.
Most of the national parks also offer huts or campsites for overnight stays. They are differently equipped and also variously occupied. So it is always better to inform about the one you choose to stay in advance and book it if needed (in the case of Great Walks - the most famous New Zealand tracks - months ahead. If you are experienced hiker, we have to definitely recommend you a multi-day exploration by your own. You will definitely love it.
It is hereby declared that the provisions of this Act shall have effect for the purpose of preserving in perpetuity as national parks, for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the public, areas of New Zealand that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique, or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest.
— National Parks Act 1980, Part 1, section 4, subsection 1