New Zealand Great Walks
The New Zealand Great Walks are a set of popular tramping tracks developed and maintained by the Department of Conservation. They are New Zealand's premier tracks, through areas of some of the best scenery in the country, ranging from coastlines with beaches to dense rain forests and alpine terrain. The tracks are maintained to a high standard, making it easier for visitors to explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand's backcountry.
The backcountry huts are conveniently located, comfortable, well-equipped, and high capacity. Both the huts and tracks on the Great Walks are of a higher standard than other tramping tracks in the country. These tracks are very popular with overseas visitors, partly due to their heavy promotion by the Department of Conservation and tourism operators. Many of the Great Walks have booking systems to manage visitor pressure. Guided walks are available through private operators along many of the walks.
There is no charge nor any permit required for walking access to the Great Walks. Charges and restrictions apply, rather, to overnight accommodation, whether in huts or tents. The start and end sections of the Great Walks can be accessed for free and explored via return day walks. However, this is not possible on Milford Track, as both ends require boat transport to get there. Sections of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track are particularly popular for day walks without overnight accommodation, as even the middle sections are serviced by water taxis.
The walks range from 32 kilometres (20 mi) length to 82 kilometres (51 mi) in length and take between 3 and 6 days to complete, with the Whanganui Journey on river being 145 kilometres (90 mi) long over 5 days.
Only the Tongariro Northern Circuit and the Kepler Track are loop walks, all other Great Walks require transport to return back to the starting point.
A tenth Great Walk, the 45-kilometre (28 mi) "Pike29 Memorial Track" is planned to be opened in 2018 as a memorial to the 29 miners killed in the Pike River Mine disaster. This will be the first addition since the existing Great Walks network was established in 1993.
List of routes
- Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
- Tongariro Northern Circuit - the first day of the circuit follows the Tongariro Alpine Crossing over volcanic terrain.
- Whanganui Journey — this is actually not a walk but a kayak voyage on New Zealand's longest navigable river. It is however managed under the Great Walks system.
- Abel Tasman Coast Track - the most popular track.
- Heaphy Track - at 82 kilometres the longest of the walking tracks, delivering the biggest contrast from palm-fringed beaches to sub-alpine tussock grasslands.
- Routeburn Track - at 32 kilometres the shortest of the walking tracks.
- Milford Track - the most famous of the Great Walks.
- Kepler Track
Stewart Island / Rakiura
- Tramping in New Zealand
- New Zealand tramping tracks
- List of rail trails#New Zealand
- New Zealand Cycle Trail — originally conceived as single route, this is now to become a 'Great Rides' system analogous to the Great Walks.
- Protected areas of New Zealand
- "A Short History of Long Walks in NZ". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
- Michael de Waal-Montgomery (2015-11-04). "Enter the world of 'The Lord of the Rings' with Google's latest Street View imagery from New Zealand". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
- "Great Walks of New Zealand". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
- "Great Walk and National Park addition to memorialise 29 Pike miners". Department of Conservation. 15 Nov 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
- Samantha Gee (10 Sep 2015). "Abel Tasman National Park generates $1m revenue after record-breaking season". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- "Milford Track - New Zealand Hiking Trails". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
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