The Great Walks - Ao­raki Mt Cook

Waitaki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ME­GAN SUTHER­LAND

Two ‘‘spec­tac­u­lar’’ Ao­raki/Mt Cook walk­ing tracks are in a new group of Great Walks in New Zealand that will be of­fi­cially launched in Oc­to­ber.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paula Ben­nett and Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry have an­nounced the Great Short and Great Day Walks, an ex­ten­sion of the Great Walks brand.

Tas­man Glacier View, Mt Cook is now a Great Short Walk. Such walks take from 30 min­utes to three hours to walk.

The Hooker Val­ley is now a Great Day Walk. Such walks take from four to six hours to com­plete.

De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion tourism man­ager Ti­naka Mearns said the Hooker Val­ley and Tas­man Glacier View were ‘‘spe­cial places in New Zealand’’. .

DOC and Tourism New Zealand sur­veyed more than 6000 in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic tourists to track what their ex­pec­ta­tions of a ‘‘great walk’’ was.

Peo­ple wanted some­thing that was ‘‘not too far to walk to’’ that also had ‘‘spec­tac­u­lar scenery’’, she said.

Tas­man Glacier Walk and Hooker Val­ley met both those ex­pec­ta­tions.

She hoped the new brand would en­cour­age more peo­ple to visit the outdoors.

Ben­nett said the in­clu­sion was a chance to draw more tourists ‘‘off the beaten track and en­able more com­mu­ni­ties to ben­e­fit from tourism’’.

Waitaki MP Jac­qui Dean said the two tracks de­served their place in the new Great Walks net­work.

‘‘See­ing ice­bergs float­ing in the Tas­man Glacier lake dur­ing sum­mer or the lake frozen over in win­ter is truly a sight to be­hold and well worth the short stroll.

‘‘The Hooker Val­ley Track is also in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar for those keen to stretch their legs over a few hours, with breath­tak­ing

‘‘See­ing ice­bergs float­ing in the Tas­man Glacier lake dur­ing sum­mer or the lake frozen over in win­ter is truly a sight to be­hold and well worth the short stroll.’’ Jac­qui Dean

views of Ao­raki/Mt Cook, the Hooker Val­ley and the South­ern Alps.’’

She said ‘‘it was not hard to see why these two walks were in­cluded – they are real draw cards for in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors and New Zealan­ders alike who want to con­nect with na­ture and ex­pe­ri­ence our nat­u­ral land­scapes’’.

Lake Tas­man and the Tas­man Glacier, with Ao­raki/Mt Cook in the back­ground. The glacier walks will be clas­si­fied as a Great Short Walk.

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