DOC kicks off Short Walks and Day Hikes
IntroductionWe are kicking off the promotion of a Short Walks and Day Hikes network, with an event on pest free Rangitoto Island in the Hauraki Gulf, today.
Alongside Sport Auckland, the event involves up to 200 Green Prescription walkers walking the Rangitoto Summit Track, which is one of the 14 Short Walks.
The Green Prescription members are walking to the top of Rangitoto, 259 metres above sea level, as part of their fitness programme following advice from their doctor that they would benefit from being more active.
"The Short Walks and Day Hikes are existing DOC tracks, showcasing some of New Zealand's best walking experiences. Spread throughout the country, DOC is encouraging New Zealanders to visit these sites and enjoy the benefits of being in nature," says DOC's Recreation and Heritage spokesperson Tinaka Mearns.
The 14 Short Walks take between 30 minutes to three hours to complete. The 5 Day Hikes take three to eight hours to complete.
"We developed the Short Walk/Day Hike network of tracks in response to research undertaken with Tourism New Zealand. We know that New Zealand is highly regarded for its great walking experiences by New Zealanders and international visitors," says Tinaka Mearns.
The 14 Short Walks and 5 Day Hikes were assessed by local DOC staff as being able to accommodate increased visitors. They also considered potential biodiversity, biosecurity and cultural impacts from having more people walk the tracks.
"This promotion is about getting the right information into peoples' hands to inspire them to try new walks in different regions. In this way we encourage people to experience different places they may not have thought of visiting," says Tinaka Mearns.
Joint research by DOC and Tourism NZ, involving nearly 6,000 people both domestically and internationally, revealed there are seven key factors people consider when deciding on the suitability of a walk.
The factors include: different levels of fitness of the walkers; the landscapes and scenery; time to complete the walk; time available on the day; the terrain of the walk; unique experiences to see and do and the facilities available on the walk.