Introduction

Find out what the Great Walks differential pricing trial might mean for you.

Price changes

A lower fee for staying in DOC huts and campsites in t rial areas will apply to New Zealand citizens, those ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and their children. New Zealand’s realm nations (Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau) will pay the New Zealand rate as they are New Zealand citizens. 

International visitors to New Zealand will pay a higher fee for staying in these DOC huts and campsites. 

When using the DOC Booking System to book a hut or campsite you need to indicate your country of citizenship or ordinary residence. The system will then generate the appropriate fee to charge you.

Pricing for all the Great Walks

Ordinary residence in New Zealand

The lower fee will apply to those who are ordinarily resident in New Zealand, ie someone who:

  • holds a residence class, student, or work visa, and
  • has lived in New Zealand for at least six of the 12 months immediately prior to their booking, and
  • has New Zealand as their primary place of established residence.

New Zealand’s realm countries (Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau) will pay the New Zealand rate as these nationals are New Zealand citizens.  

Proof of eligibility will be required for the New Zealand rate.

Acceptable eligibility proof for the New Zealand rate
Eligibility One of the following (copies)
New Zealand citizen

New Zealand driver’s licence
Birth certificate

New Zealand passport

New Zealand ordinary resident

New Zealand driver’s licence
or name and address on letter from:

  • employment
  • New Zealand bank
  • government agency, ie Inland Revenue Department, Ministry of Social Development
  • local council – rates/water bill
  • mortgage/tenancy documents.

Eligibility of children for the New Zealand rate 

The children of New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand are eligible for the New Zealand rate. 

This is because we use the parent’s residential status as a proxy for assessing the eligibility of children and young people to this rate. 

This means that we only require residency verification information regarding the parents, and not the children, of a family group that has paid the New Zealand rate. 

If at least one parent meets the residency criteria then they, and their children, will be eligible for the New Zealand rate. 

Information for schools

New Zealand schools already collect information we can use to determine a student’s eligibility. There are strict rules around establishing a student’s entitlement to a New Zealand education.

As a standard part of the enrolment process for students, schools are required to assess whether students are ‘domestic’ or ‘international students’, to verify supporting evidence of this, and to record this in the Ministry of Education’s enrolment system. 

Schools are also able to check the visa status of their students online via Immigration New Zealand’s VisaView system.

Most students will be classed as ‘domestic’ students and therefore meet the requirements for the New Zealand rate in the trial. See below for information about international students studying in New Zealand. 

School trips 

The residency requirements are still required to be met for students to qualify for the New Zealand rate. International students must meet these if they are to qualify for the New Zealand rate/be able to stay in huts and campsites for free. 

Schools receive significant income from international students. Many schools use the ability to access New Zealand’s amazing recreation opportunities as unique selling points to attract these fee-paying students from around the world. 

Individual schools will need to make their own decisions about whether the cost of an international student staying in a DOC hut or campsite on a school trip will be passed on to the student, or whether it will be met by the school. 

Spouses of New Zealand citizens 

To qualify for the New Zealand rate someone must be either a New Zealand citizen or be ordinarily resident in New Zealand. 

While the children of a New Zealand citizen qualify for the New Zealand rate regardless of their citizenship or residency status, spouses must be able to demonstrate that they meet the residency requirements if they wish to pay the New Zealand rate. 

For example: 

A family of two parents and two children who live overseas are visiting New Zealand on holiday and want to stay in a hut on the Milford T  rack. Only one of the parents has New Zealand citizenship. 

The parent with New Zealand citizenship would be eligible for the New Zealand rate, as would be their children. The parent who does not have New Zealand citizenship cannot be said to be ordinarily resident, so they would pay the international rate. 

The family’s cost per night for hut accommodation on the Milford would therefore be $210 ($70 + $140 + $0 + $0 = $210) – for a family of two adults and two children. 

Must live in New Zealand for six months prior to your booking for the New Zealand rate

The ordinary residence policy states that someone needs to be able to demonstrate that they are ‘ordinarily resident’ in New Zealand in order to qualify for the New Zealand rate, and that this means you: 

  • hold a residence class, student, or work visa, and
  • have lived in New Zealand for at least six of the 12 months immediately prior to their booking, and
  • New Zealand is their primary place of established residence.

This means that people who booked while living overseas will qualify for the New Zealand rate – if you have actually lived in New Zealand for six months before you undertake your walk. 

Verifying eligibility for the New Zealand rate 

If you have paid the New Zealand rate for DOC huts or campsites in the trial areas and you cannot demonstrate your eligibility for this when asked to by DOC staff, you will need to pay the difference between the New Zealand rate you have already paid and the international rate. You will also need to pay an additional administration fee. 

For the Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler Great Walks you should bring a copy of the relevant information to show at the DOC visitor centre when you collect your tickets. 

If you are going to walk the Abel Tasman Great Walk it is not a requirement that you provide this information to a visitor centre before you begin your walk, however you will need to bring a copy of the relevant information with you as our rangers at the huts and campsites will be undertaking checks.  

Types of information you can provide 

Demonstrating your eligibility for the New Zealand rate can be as simple as providing a photocopied version of your passport or birth certificate, or your New Zealand driver's licence, or other information that demonstrates that New Zealand is where you usually live – such as:

  • a utility company invoice with your name and address on it
  • official correspondence addressed to you at your New Zealand address
  • employment records
  • records of benefit payments from the Ministry of Social Development
  • banking records
  • rates demands
  • Inland Revenue records
  • mortgage documents
  • tenancy and utility supply agreements
  • documents showing that your household effects have been moved to New Zealand. 

Note that the presence or absence of any of the documents listed above is not determinative and each case will be decided on the basis of the evidence provided.

Agents and the trial

Agents should be familiar with the new rates structure and the New Zealand rate eligibility requirements. They will also need to be able to share this information with their clients and remind those that have paid the New Zealand rate that they will need to be able to demonstrate their eligibility once they arrive at the Great Walk.

Agents may wish to use the following text when communicating with customers. This text is consistent with the information on DOC’s website and the pre-departure information people will be automatically be sent by the booking system once their walk is booked:

The Department of Conservation is trialing a new pricing system for people staying in a hut or campground on four of the most popular Great Walks for the 2018/19 season and international visitors will pay more to stay than New Zealanders on these walks during the trial period of October 2018 to April 2019. 

Prices for huts for international visitors, including children, on the Milford Track will be $140 per night, on the Kepler and Routeburn $130 per night, and the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk $75 per night. 

Prices for campsites for international visitors, including children, on the Kepler and Routeburn will be $40 per night, and the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk $30 per night. 

To be eligible for the New Zealand prices you must be able to demonstrate that you are a New Zealand citizen or are ordinarily resident in New Zealand. Someone is ordinarily resident when they hold a New Zealand residence, student or work visa and have been in New Zealand for six of the 12 months immediately prior to their booking  (ie, starting their walk), and where New Zealand is their primary place of established residence. 

You don’t need to provide us with any information about this, but you do need to be able to do so when asked by Department of Conservation staff. The process will be as follows for the four Great Walks in the trial:

For the Milford, Routeburn, or Kepler Great Walks, you can do this by bringing a copy of the relevant documentation to show at the Department of Conservation’s Visitor Centre when you collect your tickets. 

If you are going to walk the Abel Tasman Great Walk it is not a requirement that you provide this information to a Department of Conservation Visitor Centre before you begin your walk, however you will need to bring a copy of the relevant information with you on the walk as the Department’s rangers will be undertaking checks at huts and campsites. 

The Department has advised that the kind of information required to demonstrate your eligibility for the New Zealand rate can be as simple as providing a photocopy of your passport or birth certificate, your New Zealand driver’s license, or other information that demonstrates that New Zealand is where you usually live – such as a utility company invoice with your name and address on it. More information can be found on their website 

If you arrive at the Great Walk having paid the New Zealand rate and cannot demonstrate you are eligible for that rate, your booking will be invalid. While you may still be able to walk you will be required to pay the difference between the New Zealand rate that you paid and the International rate. Furthermore, administration fees will apply.

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