New Zealand offers outdoor enthusiasts some of the most remarkable and unique hiking opportunities in the world. To mark the 30th anniversary of the Great Walks, the Department of Conservation is launching a campaign encouraging travelers to get out into nature in Aotearoa, New Zealand, as well as celebrate the fantastic conservation work. taken over by the DOC, iwi (local Maori tribes), companies and communities over the last thirty years.
The Great Walks are a network of ten multi-day walks through New Zealand’s North and South Islands, providing unparalleled access to some of the world’s most incredible natural landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage sites. country. The network was first created in 1992 by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to safeguard precious ecosystems that were becoming overly loved by a growing number of freedom walkers.
Traversing national parks and other culturally significant protected areas, these walks have become a popular must-see for national and international visitors, with nearly a million visitors in the last ten years. The popularity of the Great New Zealand Walks demonstrates the importance of conservation and sustainable immersive nature experiences in New Zealand’s tourism offerings, and the 30th anniversary is an important milestone for tourism in the country.
The Great Walks network was first introduced with seven of New Zealand’s best and most popular multi-day walks, including the Tongariro Northern Circuit, Lake Waikaremoana, Abel Tasman, Heaphy, Routeburn, Milford, Kepler and the newly formed RakiuraTrack. Several years later, the Whanganui Journey multi-day canoe adventure joined the network, followed by the Paparoa Track in December 2019. New Zealand’s next and eleventh Great Walk will be the Hump Ridge Track in Southland, with work underway to elevate the existing walk. and make it accessible in time for the 2023/24 walking season.
There are many different ways to experience New Zealand’s Great Walks, be it walking, running, cycling or rowing. Visitors can stay in one of 950 cabins, hike the entire 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles) of trails, or just a small portion of them, camp at one of 300 campsites, or visit one of thousands of cultural heritage sites. . As part of the anniversary, the new campaign aims to help travellers, both domestic and international, enjoy the New Zealand outdoors in their own way.
Here is just a sampling of some of New Zealand’s Great Walks:
Abel Tasman Coastal Tracknelson
The Abel Tasman Coastal Track allows you to explore golden beaches and a remarkable canopy of coastal forest within the mild climate of Abel Tasman National Park.
Length: 37 miles/60km
Duration: 3-5 days
Location: 40 minutes from Nelson
This breathtaking track was designed to showcase all the best aspects of Fiordland: towering mountains, native forests, waterfalls and glacier-carved valleys, with cheeky wildlife sure to greet you.
Length: 31 miles/60km
Duration: 3-4 days
Location: 2 hours from Queenstown, 5 minutes from Te Anau
Tongariro Northern CircuitTongariro National Park
This amazing and diverse hike circles Mount Ngauruhoe, an active volcano in Tongariro National Park. Witness craters, blast pits, lava flows, and volcanic landscapes.
Duration: 3-4 days
Location: 45 minutes from Ohakune, 1.2 hours from Taupo
heavy trackWest Coast
This ancient Maori trail winds through scrubby hills to lush forests, past nīkau palm trees and on to the roaring seas of the wild west coast.
Length: 48 miles/78.4 km
Duration: 4-6 days
Location: 1 hour from Westport, 1 hour