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Vancouver Island, British Columbia | French Alps
Darjeeling, India | Queenstown, New Zealand
Sardinia, Italy | Julian Alps, Slovenia | Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
New Zealand has dozens of famous hut treks, and by any reckoning Mt. Aspiring National Park’s 42-mile Rees-Dart route should be counted among the best. Expect rugged mountains and glaciers, wild rivers, dense beech forests, and visits by the ubiquitous kea, an inquisitive alpine parrot. Stay at three huts a day’s walk apart ($20-$35 per night per person, food not included; doc.govt.nz), or camp at undesignated backcountry sites, which require no permit. Wait for weather windows before attempting Rees Saddle and the must-do side hike to Cascade Saddle (plan an extra night at Dart Hut for it). The 360-degree views of the Southern Alps are well worth the effort.
Paddle among dolphins, crested penguins, and fur seals on a one-day trip in Milford Sound. The route passes under sheer cliffs and waterfalls, and you’ll stop for lunch at a secluded, boats-only beach. Fiordland National Park, fiordlandseakayak.co.nz
This born-in-New Zealand sport entails running the Kawarau River on an inflatable boogie board; it’s a rollicking 10-mile descent through rapids up to class IV in difficulty. frogz.co.nz/thegorge.html
Slide down chutes and rappel over waterfalls on a canyon descent at Twelve Mile Delta. canyoning.co.nz
Guidebook and map
Tramping in New Zealand, (Lonely Planet, $22); Mount Aspiring park map (omnimap.com, $18)