Walking in paradise: Check out these 5 day hikes in New Zealand

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The suspension bridge hikers cross near the start of the Rob Roy Track near Wanaka on the South Island. (Sheryl Jean)

New Zealand is a walker’s paradise.

With more than 12,000 miles of public trails crosscrossing the country’s two islands, there’s no shortage of options.  Hikes to volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, alpine lakes, mud pools, geysers and other natural features range from less than an hour to multiple days.

I recently wrote about five day hikes I liked on my fall 2016 trip to New Zealand for The Dallas Morning News. You can read the full article, but these are the hikes with a map below:

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(Sheryl Jean, with Google Maps)

Killer views from New Zealand’s Bealey Spur Track are worth the climb

Today’s rain did not keep me from hiking the fantastic Bealey Spur Track near Arthur’s Pass on the New Zealand’s South Island.

It was pouring rain five hours ago, when I blogged about finding a silver lining in rain while traveling, and it’s raining again. But in between, I made the most of a few mostly rain-free, sunny hours.

The nearly 4-mile (four to six hours round trip) trail, which is mostly uphill, traverses mossy beech forests, tussocks and lots of mud today. (See photo below.) You can climb a nearly 5,100-foot hill for another 1.5 hours, but I didn’t have time for that given my afternoon start.

Once you climb out of the forest, the ridge line and top of the ridge provide jaw-dropping, panoramic views of Mount Bealey, Avalanche Peak, Mount Rolleston, Mount Aicken and other peaks, which range from over 6,000 feet to  nearly 7,500 feet, as well as the Waimakariri Valley. (See photo at top.)

Mud on the Bealey Spur Track on Nov. 3, 2016.

As a bonus I got to peek at the baches (a cabin in New Zealand) lining the private road where the hike starts. Some were rustic shacks, while others had been renovated into modern ski chalets.

Opportunity allowed me to jump ahead on my New Zealand blog posts to the South Island, but I’m not done with the North Island yet. Stay tuned!