Tongariro Alpine Crossing is Instagram's 4th most popular tramping track in 2024 - study

New Zealand has four of the most popular tramping trails in the world - more than any other country - according to a social media study conducted by a UK-based travel company.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Routeburn Track, Milford Track and Kepler track all feature in Explore Worldwide's list of 'The World's Most In-Demand Hikes'.

Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu track topped the rankings ahead of trails in countries that include the US, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, the UK, Australia, France, Spain and Switzerland.

The study, which is not scientific, calculated how many Instagram posts have been uploaded per kilometre each of the trails.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing achieved 4th place on the list with 2585 Instagram posts per km of trail, the Routeburn scored 8th with 1085, the Milford 18th with 524 and the Kepler 20th with 476.

"The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which ranks in fourth place globally, is best known for its landscape shaped by paste eruptions, offering a unique experience across an active volcanic terrain," Explore Worldwide said.

"The hike passes by incredible features such as the Emerald Lakes and views of Mount Ngauruhoe, famously known as Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings."

It also suggested trampers consider a fifth Aotearoa trail that did not make the list.

"For those looking to escape the crowds, the Abel Tasman Coast Track, part of New Zealand's Great Walks, winds through regenerating native forest and is home to a variety of Kiwi native birds like tui, bellbirds, and fantails, so hikers can enjoy melodic sounds during a series of shorter day hikes or a full multi-day trek."

Explore Worldwide said the methodology for its rankings came from compiling "a comprehensive list of 132 popular hiking and trekking trails from around the world".

"Information was gathered on the length of each trail in kilometres as well as the number of Instagram posts with the trail's hashtag. To calculate which trails are deemed most in-demand, the number of posts was divided by trail length, thus determining the number of Instagram posts per km. Data correct as of May 2024," the company said.

Explore Worldwide's top 20 most in-demand tramps are as follows, with the Instagram posts per km of trail:

  1. Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia - 22,048
  2. Inca Trail, Peru - 6723
  3. Kalalau Trail, USA - 3684
  4. Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand - 2585
  5. Salkantay Trek, Peru - 1265
  6. Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal - 1214
  7. Table Mountain Hike, South Africa - 1189
  8. Routeburn Track, New Zealand - 1085
  9. West Highland Way, Scotland - 998
  10. The Yorkshire Three Peaks, England - 991
  11. GR20, France - 733
  12. Overland Track, Australia - 638
  13. Berg Lake Trail, Canada - 634
  14. Tour du Mont Blanc, France/Italy/Switzerland - 566
  15. South Downs Way, England - 560
  16. West Coast Trail, Canada - 548
  17. Camino de Santiago - Camino Francés, Spain - 537
  18. Milford Track, New Zealand - 524
  19. The Three Capes Track, Australia - 513
  20. Kepler Track, New Zealand - 476.