New ZealandGreat Walks: Which one will be the next Great Walk?

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

Te Paki Coastal Track (Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga, North­land), Hump Ridge Track (South­land) and Queen Char­lotte Track (Marl­bor­ough Sounds) will be fur­ther con­sid­ered for de­vel­op­ment, fol­low­ing a process that be­gan when DOC called for pro­pos­als for ad­di­tional Great Walks last year an­nounced De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (DOC) Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Lou San­son.

Over the com­ing months, DOC will com­plete more de­tailed work on the three walks. This will in­clude en­gag­ing with com­mu­nity groups, iwi, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the recre­ation, con­ser­va­tion and tourism sec­tors, and in­ves­ti­gat­ing and com­par­ing the costs of bring­ing them to Great Walks stan­dard. At least one of th­ese walks will be­come the new Great Walk, and a fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made in late 2018.

“We cur­rently have nine world-class, multi-day Great Walks show­cas­ing New Zealand’s unique land­scapes, na­ture and cul­ture. The walks have well-formed tracks, high stan­dard huts and fa­cil­i­ties, pro­vid­ing a pre­mium, ac­ces­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence,” Lou San­son says.

“Some of th­ese walks are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly crowded at peak times. By ex­pand­ing our Great Walks net­work, we can cater for the grow­ing in­ter­est amongst New Zealan­ders and in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors for world-class walk­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in spec­tac­u­lar sur­round­ings.”

Bud­get 2017 al­lo­cated $12.7 mil­lion to ex­pand the Great Walks net­work to help re­duce pres­sure on the cur­rent Great Walks.

In Novem­ber 2017, DOC in­vited com­mu­ni­ties, iwi and mem­bers of the pub­lic to put for­ward ex­ist­ing walks that could be en­hanced to be­come part of the Great Walks net­work and re­ceived over 30 sub­mis­sions.

Seven walks were short­listed by a panel, com­pris­ing Fed­er­ated Moun­tain Clubs, New Zealand Recre­ation As­so­ci­a­tion, New Zealand Māori Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, Tourism In­dus­try Aotearoa and DOC. The De­part­ment se­lected the Te Paki, Queen Char­lotte and Hump Ridge tracks for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion based on the panel’s rec­om­men­da­tions. Th­ese three have fan­tas­tic po­ten­tial to be­come part of Great Walks net­work by the 2021 sea­son.

Lou San­son says two other walks from the seven also have sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial and would be con­sid­ered for the Great Walks net­work in the fu­ture. Th­ese are Tarawera Trail (Bay of Plenty) and Wa­iau/Molesworth (Can­ter­bury). Fur­ther work on th­ese op­tions will be pro­gressed af­ter de­ci­sions on the top three are made.

Fi­nal three po­ten­tial Great Walks are:

Te Paki Coastal Track,

North­land is a 48km one-way track that takes around three days to com­plete. This track fol­lows the Te Paki Stream be­fore reach­ing the coast at Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/90-Mile Beach, past Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga and fin­ish­ing at Pi­whane/Spir­its Bay. Of­fer­ing a wild and re­mote coastal walk along spec­tac­u­lar beaches, the track tra­verses the one of the most sig­nif­i­cantly spir­i­tual ar­eas for iwi, hapū and whā­nau in Aotearoa.

Hump Ridge Track,

south­ern Fiord­land is a 61km loop track tak­ing three days to com­plete. Be­gin­ning and end­ing in Te Wae­wae Bay, this track takes tram­pers from the coast­line up through a pic­ture book of for­est types to alpine tops. The walk fea­tures spec­tac­u­lar alpine and coastal views, beaches and his­toric wooden viaducts.

Queen Char­lotte Track,

Marl­bor­ough is a 71km one-way track that takes three to five days to com­plete. Walk­ers be­gin the track at his­toric Mere­toto/Ship Cove – Cap­tain Cook’s land­ing site, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing views of pic­turesque bays, coastal for­est and tra­di­tional New Zealand baches along the way. This track is also a Great Ride and of­fers a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion and flex­i­bil­ity along its route through to Anakiwa in the Grove Arm of Queen Char­lotte Sound.

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