Event: Which two will be the next Great Walks?
DOC Director Recreation Tourism and Heritage, Jennie Marks says the current nine Great Walks are increasingly popular and, to meet growing demand, Budget 2017 provided $12.7 million to expand the Great Walk network.
“This project is part of DOC’s work to ease visitor pressure at some high-use sites, focussing on protecting our natural heritage and ensuring New Zealanders continue to enjoy their great outdoors,” says Jennie Marks.
“Our thinking has evolved since the process began last year when we were looking at two new Great Walks. Depending on options, we may still achieve two walks or decide to invest in only one Great Walk if it is an outstanding option that requires significant new tracks and building upgrades.”
In September last year, DOC asked the public which walks should join the Great Walks network. DOC received more than 30 submissions, with 20 located in the North Island and 10 in the South Island.
These submissions were assessed by a panel comprising representatives from Federated Mountain Clubs, New Zealand Recreation Association, New Zealand Māori Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, as well as DOC. The panel selected the following walks to advance through to the next stage:
Te Paki Coastal Walk, Northland Aotea Track, Great Barrier Island Timber Trail, Waikato Tarawera Trail, Bay of Plenty Queen Charlotte Track, Marlbor ough Waiau-Toa/Molesworth, Canter bury Hump Ridge Track, Fiordland.
Key considerations for any new walk include opportunities to engage with Māori culture; accessibility for New Zealanders; and cost and environmental impacts to bring the track and facilities up to the Great Walks standard. Options will vary in relation to the level of cost required.
“Community support is also a vital part of choosing any new Great Walk and we’ll be engaging with community groups, along with local whānau, hapū and iwi. We’ll also talk with recreation, conservation and tourism sector representatives through this process,” says Jennie Marks.
DOC is currently working with proponents to collect further information to assess their suitability as potential Great Walks. An announcement of the successful Great Walk or Walks will be
Above: The sand dunes on the Te Paki Coastal Walk.
Middle: A bridge on the Aotea Track, Great Barrier Island.
Below: The Timber Trail is popular with cyclists and walkers.
Below: An event on the Tarawera Trail, Bay of Plenty.
Above: Magnificent views from the Queen Charlotte Track, in Marlborough.
Middle: A track on the Waiau-Toa Molesworth Track in North Canterbury,
Below: The Humpridge Track in Southland.