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NZ is getting a new Great Walk but booking a spot comes with a catch

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Apr 2024, 3:59pm

NZ is getting a new Great Walk but booking a spot comes with a catch

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Apr 2024, 3:59pm

It’s not unusual for a Kiwi or visitor to have “hike one of New Zealand’s Great Walks” on their bucket list, or to have the goal to walk them all.

If you were someone who has achieved such a goal, then the Department of Conservation has news for you: the goalposts have shifted.

New Zealand is getting a new Great Walk this October but there’s a catch when it comes to booking a spot.

The collection of 10 Great Walks is set to grow to 11 when the Hump Ridge Track joins the list alongside trails such as the Kepler Track, Heaphy Track and Routeburn Track.

This isn’t the first time DoC has announced plans to add the Hump Ridge to the collection. It was first earmarked in 2020 and then postponed to 2023 before supply chain delays and weather conditions pushed the date to 2024.

Now, DoC is confident the three-day loop on the edge of Fiordland will be Great Walk-ready by October.

However, don’t be surprised if you can’t see it on the website for booking Great Walks when it opens on May 28.

DoC has combined booking systems this year so people can book Great Walks, other huts and campsites all on the same website.

“This means people will only need a single account to book the Great Walks and all other accommodation next season,” director of heritage and visitors Cat Wilson said.

Unless you want to try the Hump Ridge. Currently, bookings are made through the Hump Ridge Trust. Even when it becomes a Great Walk in October, bookings must be made through the trust.

When Great Walks bookings open next month, trampers should be quick, Wilson said, as the Milford Track was booked out on opening day in 2023 and overall bookings were 7 per cent higher than pre-pandemic numbers.

Bed nights on the Abel Tasman Coast Track were up 11.2 per cent, Tongariro Northern Circuit was up 10 per cent and the Heaphy Track was back to 88 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

“Users who don’t already have an account on DoC’s existing huts and campsites booking system will need to create a new login and account at https://bookings.doc.govt.nz/Web/,” Wilson said.

“This year, we recommend people have their online login sorted in advance to book their preferred walks on ‘bookings open’ day, so they’re all ready to go.”

Great Walks of New Zealand

South Island

• Abel Tasman Coast Track

• Milford Track

• Routeburn Track

• Paparoa Track

• Heaphy Track

• Kepler Track

• Rakiura Track

• Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track

North Island

• Lake Waikaremoana Track

• Tongariro Northern Circuit

• Whanganui Journey

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here.

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