Our favourite mountains in New Zealand
The mountains in New Zealand are diverse, spectacular and should be part of your New Zealand experience. Surrounded by subtropical rain forest, alpine scrub, lakes and beaches — no two are the same. Here are our favourite kiwi peaks and why they're well worth a visit.
Mt Tongariro. Located in the Tongariro National Park, Mt Tongariro is an active volcano used in the making of the Lord of the Rings films. It is home to the world-famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 19km hike taking you through lava fields, around thermal lakes, forest and rocky alpine plains. Visit this mountain for a taste of the real Middle-earth.
Mt Cook. The tallest and most spectacular mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook is surrounded by the Southern Alps. With jagged peaks, glaciers, permanent snowfields and even icebergs, visit this area for an awe-inspiring alpine getaway.
Mt Eden. Located in the centre of Auckland City, Mt Eden is one of 48 volcanic cones and the highest natural point in Auckland. Stroll the beautiful botanic gardens at its base and join a guided tour to see the occupation terraces, storage pits and housing sites from an ancient Maori settlement. A must for 360-degree views of Auckland City.
Mt Maunganui. ‘The Mount’ to New Zealanders, Mount Maunganui is an extinct volcanic cone on the end of a peninsula. 230 metres (754 feet) above sea level, it not only has spectacular views of the ocean but is a location of archaeological significance with Pa (Maori fort) site on the top of the mountain.
Mt Ruapehu. Another of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, Mt Ruapehu is a commercial ski resort in the winter and offers spectacular hiking in the winter. We love it because when it is safe to do so you can walk right up and into the crater.
Roys Peak. Ok, we’ll admit it, Roy Peaks is our all-time favourite because it’s in Wanaka! Where we are based. But truly, we aren't just biased, it is a spectacular mountain. A three-hour hike (or 10-minute helicopter ride) to the summit brings jaw-dropping views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea as well as the southern alps beyond.
Mitre Peak. Possibly one of the most iconic peaks in New Zealand, Mitre Peak in Milford Sound is named for the Mitre headwear of Christian bishop. A prominent sight as you enter the sound, Mitre Peak definitely worth the trip to view.
Mt Taranaki. New Zealand’s most perfectly formed volcano, Mt Taranaki is known for its lush rainforest-covered slopes and beautiful walking tracks around its base to rivers, pools and waterfalls.
Mt Ngauruhoe. Featured as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mt Ngauruhoe is also located in the Tongariro National Park — and although recognised as a separate entity, Ngauruhoe is actually one of Mt Tongariro’s vents. The lower slopes of the mountain are blanketed with forest, flax and alpine herb providing a home to many native birds and New Zealand's only native mammals the Short and long-tailed bats.
Mt Sunday. Another Lord of the Rings location, Mt Sunday, otherwise known as ‘Edoras’ is a picturesque Canterbury summit, as wild and remote as it gets. While there no trace of the set remains — if you were a fan of the films you’ll recognise the scene. Hike the 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) path to the summit where you’ll catch a stunning view of the Rangitata River and Canterbury plains.