New Zealand is experiencing its highest ever growth in international visitor numbers. The existing Great Walks are one of New Zealand's best-known nature-based experiences, and several of the walks are reaching their limits for capacity at peak times.
This is an exciting opportunity for DOC to enhance the existing network of Great Walks.
Selecting additional Great Walk(s) will provide more space on the network particularly during peak visitor times, enable greater access for New Zealanders and encourage visitors to experience new parts of New Zealand.
About the process
Last year, we invited communities, iwi and members of the public to put forward an existing walk which could be enhanced to become part of the Great Walks brand. We received over 30 submissions, and an external selection panel chose a number of submissions that met DOC's criteria:
- Te Paki Coastal Walk, Northland
- Aotea Track, Great Barrier Island
- Timber Trail, Waikato
- Tarawera Trail, Bay of Plenty
- Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough
- Waiau-Toa/Molesworth, Canterbury
- Hump Ridge Track, Fiordland.
Which walks are being considered?
We will continue to engage with iwi and community groups at all three sites. We will focus on the potential visitor experience on each walk and any possible issues, costs, impacts and support for future development.
Once this work is complete we can identify which walk or walks out of the three we should progress and undertake detailed business cases for. This will be a final step in the process to identify one or more new Great Walk.
How are walks evaluated?
Walks need to align with the existing Great Walks, and highlight the very best of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage.
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.