Everyone knows that walking beats driving. You can see a wider range in a vehicle because you cover a greater distance, but hiking on a trail allows you to see things in exquisite detail that you would be absolutely oblivious to from the seat of a car, truck, bus or even motorcycle. That’s why one of the best ways to engage in South Pacific travel is by hiking along some of the numerous trails that can take you through vast regions of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and other local islands. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Tongariro Crossing. Often regarded as a day hike, this trail will lead South Pacific travel warriors into vistas of New Zealand heights, affording them with gorgeous views from above the clouds. From the summit of Mount Tongariro, there doesn’t seem to be much else left to see on any hiking trail, as one is majestically framed between the lip of a volcano that has just been traversed while another larger mountain looms ahead. The much-overlooked Tongariro National Park in the northern part of New Zealand is host to intensely magical and incredible scenery, including terrain shaped by lava formations and mountain craters. The landscape is so otherworldly that Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was filmed here.

  • The Overland Track. Australia’s Overland Track affords hikers spectacular Tasmanian vistas and a rich diversity of flora and fauna, incredible waterfalls, immense lakes, and a pristine natural environment. Likely to take a week, this hike is fairly easy to moderate if the sometimes severe and moody weather works with you. A pack is recommended by South Pacific travel veterans in order to avoid side-trip scrambles.

  • Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve. Fiji’s pre-eminent hiking trail is located in the capital city (Suva on Viti Levu) and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and is known for its variety of birds. Bird-watchers often walk the trail on investigatory journeys. With somewhat milder trails, the reserve affords vistas with waterfalls, scenic lookouts, and pathways to local villages that can be investigated, as well. Seasoned South Pacific travel guides do warn, however, that in some of the small villages you will need permission from the village chief in order to look around. It’s also a good idea to offer him a gift as you make your request.

Numerous trails are available for hiking pleasure, discovery, and enjoyment of the natural environment throughout the South Pacific, which makes it a popular travel destination for people who love to be immersed in the world and see it in detail rather than through the fogged-up window of a car.