Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


New Zealand is closer towards expanding the family of Great Walks, with the announcement of three walks under consideration to become part of the Great Walks network.

Date:  23 August 2018

Department of Conservation (DOC) Director General Lou Sanson has announced that Te Paki Coastal Track (Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga, Northland), Hump Ridge Track (Southland) and Queen Charlotte Track (Marlborough Sounds) will be further considered for development, following a process that began when DOC called for proposals for additional Great Walks last year.

Over the coming months, DOC will complete more detailed work on the three walks. This will include engaging with community groups, iwi, and representatives from the recreation, conservation and tourism sectors, and investigating and comparing the costs of bringing them to Great Walks standard. At least one of these walks will become the new Great Walk, and a final decision will be made in late 2018.

“We currently have nine world-class, multi-day Great Walks showcasing New Zealand’s unique landscapes, nature and culture. The walks have well-formed tracks, high standard huts and facilities, providing a premium, accessible experience,” Lou Sanson says.

“Some of these walks are becoming increasingly crowded at peak times. By expanding our Great Walks network, we can cater for the growing interest amongst New Zealanders and international visitors for world-class walking opportunities in spectacular surroundings.”

Budget 2017 allocated $12.7 million to expand the Great Walks network to help reduce pressure on the current Great Walks, provide economic benefits to regionally-dispersed communities across New Zealand and showcase our country’s full range of outstanding landscapes.

In November 2017, DOC invited communities, iwi and members of the public to put forward existing walks that could be enhanced to become part of the Great Walks network and received over 30 submissions.

Seven walks were shortlisted by a panel, comprising Federated Mountain Clubs, New Zealand Recreation Association, New Zealand Māori Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, Tourism Industry Aotearoa and DOC. The Department selected the Te Paki, Queen Charlotte and Hump Ridge tracks for further consideration based on the panel’s recommendations. These three have fantastic potential to become part of Great Walks network by the 2021 season.

Lou Sanson says two other walks from the seven also have significant potential and would be considered for the Great Walks network in the future. These are Tarawera Trail (Bay of Plenty) and Waiau/Molesworth (Canterbury). Further work on these options will be progressed after decisions on the top three are made.

Final three potential Great Walks

Te Paki Coastal Track, Northland is a 48km one-way track that takes around three days to complete. This track follows the Te Paki Stream before reaching the coast at Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/90-Mile Beach, past Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga and finishing at Piwhane/Spirits Bay. Offering a wild and remote coastal walk along spectacular beaches, the track traverses the one of the most significantly spiritual areas for iwi, hapū and whānau in Aotearoa.

Hump Ridge Track, southern Fiordland is a 61km loop track taking three days to complete. Beginning and ending in Te Waewae Bay, this track takes trampers from the coastline up through a picture book of forest types to alpine tops. The walk features spectacular alpine and coastal views, beaches and historic wooden viaducts.

Queen Charlotte Track, Marlborough is a 71km one-way track that takes three to five days to complete. Walkers begin the track at historic Meretoto/Ship Cove – Captain Cook’s landing site, experiencing views of picturesque bays, coastal forest and traditional New Zealand baches along the way. This track is also a Great Ride and offers a range of accommodation and flexibility along its route through to Anakiwa in the Grove Arm of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Background information

The seven shortlisted walks were:

  • 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


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