New Zealand's beaches are a trail runner's playground.
New Zealand's beaches are a trail runner's playground. (Photo: Schlarb-Wolf Productions)
In Stride

3 Awesome Trails to Run in New Zealand

Brought to you on film by running’s greatest bromantical couple

Wairiki beach is a playground for trail running.

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In March, ultrarunners Jason Schlarb and Jeremy Wolf traveled to New Zealand on a mission to deepen their friendship, learn to drive an RV on the left side of the road, and inspire us with beautiful images of remote trails. Two of those things actually happened.

“Spending two weeks with a good buddy is fun, but it’s still two weeks with the same person,” Wolf says. It must’ve gone okay, however, because the film of their journey, Kiwi Tracks, very heavily centers on the duo’s enviable bromance. And because Schlarb and Wolf are already planning next year’s adventure “somewhere we can go back toward being foot-powered instead of dealing with a vehicle.” 

The RV.
The RV. (Schlarb-Wolf Productions)

Which brings us to the RV: “We almost tipped the motorhome over parking on the side of a hill,” Wolf says. “And someone—I won’t mention any names—clipped the guardrail.”

We’re happy to report the imagery turned out fantastic, even if the RV didn’t. Check out this exclusive cut of their movie, Kiwi Tracks, then read on for Wolf’s three top Kiwi trails, and tips for conquering them.

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The Milford Track

Length: About 33.5 miles
Grade: Easy to intermediate
Highlights: Sutherland Falls, New Zealand’s tallest waterfall, and glacier-carved fiords
Wolf’s take: Before you board the 1 hour 30 minute boat ride from Te Anau Downs to the start, make sure you have approval from the Department of Conservation to do the run in one day. (You’d need to get tickets from them anyway if you were doing the four-day hike.) “They’ll want to do a little background check on you to know that you’re capable of doing it,” Wolf says. As for filling up your water bottles, finding water is easy. “We filled up water right out of the streams,” Wolf says. “The Milford Track is one of the wettest places in the world.” On that note, pack a lightweight raincoat. But don’t expect to be sloshing through puddles. “The trail maintenance is impeccable—it has drainage ditches,” Wolf says. “It’s like a superhighway of trails.”

Want more? Check out our guide to the Milford Track here.

Routeburn Track.
Routeburn Track. (Schlarb-Wolf Productions)

Wharaiki Beach

Length: As long as you want
Grade: Intermediate
Highlights: Open, sparsely populated beaches, wildlife, caves
Wolf’s take: It’s a playground for trail running. You can run high up on these huge cliffs that drop straight down to the ocean. Or you can run on the beach, and depending on the tides, they’ll reveal big caves in the rocks and you can run 100 yards into them. There was a sea lion in the back of one of the caves, just hanging out.

Mount Fox

Length: 4.6 miles and 1,063 feet of elevation gain one way
Grade: Expert
Highlights: Glaciers, epic views, gnarly trails
Wolf’s Take: Two glaciers come down out of the mountains and end in the jungle. It’s really wild because you’re running through really lush, dense jungle, and then you get to the top and you’re looking over this giant glacier through the valley. 

Lead Photo: Schlarb-Wolf Productions