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


A week since Great Walk 2019/20 bookings opened (on 11 June 2019) 9,000 bookings have been made says DOC.

Date:  18 June 2019

“While these figures will change over the coming year, bookings are up 10% on this time last year and bookings by New Zealanders also up by 10%, making up about 70% of bookings so far,” says DOC Heritage and Visitors Director Steve Taylor.  

“The Great Walks are the rock stars of the walking world and not everyone was able to secure their preferred time or walk. However, there is still lots of room across the network of nine tracks and one river journey for people to secure a spot.”

The Paparoa Track had 564 bookings in the first day of bookings opening, 91% of which were made by New Zealanders.

“It’s good to see New Zealanders excited about their newest Great Walk. The track opens to walkers and bikers on 1 December and is already becoming pretty full for those first opening months,” says Steve Taylor.

“Another notable result is, while there was a 9% decrease in first day bookings on our most famous Great Walk, the Milford Track, there was a significant rise in bookings on lesser known gems, the Rakiura Track (up a whopping 129% on last year), Whanganui River Journey (up 83%) and Heaphy Track (up 46%).”

Milford Track received 2,000 bookings in the first day and is currently 80% booked up.

Further information

The Great Walks are premium multi-day tramps (and one canoe journey) that showcase the best of New Zealand’s landscapes, and natural and cultural values. The walks are well-formed and have a higher standard of tracks and facilities than other tracks.

International visitor growth and promotion of the Great Walks through DOC’s partnership with Air New Zealand has led to Great Walk bookings greatly increasing since 2012.

DOC limits numbers on these walks to protect the surrounding environments and maintain a quality experience for visitors. This means it can be difficult for individuals and groups to secure bookings over peak times on the most popular walks. DOC is working to address this through expanding the Great Walks network and investigating the use of pricing as a tool to manage visitor growth.

Great Walks opening day data June 2019
  June 2018 June 2019 % change on last year 
Milford Track 
Opening day bookings 2,170 1,978 -9%
New Zealanders 51% 53% 2%
International visitors 49% 47% -2%
Heaphy Track 
Opening day bookings 326 476 46%
New Zealanders 84% 81% -3%
International visitors 16% 19% 3%
Routeburn Track 
Opening day bookings 1,477 1,404 -5%
New Zealanders 54% 60% 6%
International visitors 46% 40% -6%
Paparoa Track 
Opening day bookings 0 564 N/A
New Zealanders NA 91% N/A
International visitors NA 9% N/A
Kepler Track 
Opening day bookings 945 1,000 6%
New Zealanders 58% 63% 5%
International visitors 42% 37% -5%
Abel Tasman Coast Track
Opening day bookings 829 954 15%
New Zealanders 76.50% 78% 2%
International visitors 23.50% 22% -2%
Tongariro Northern Circuit 
Opening day bookings 306 336 10%
New Zealanders 55% 64% 9%
International visitors 45% 36% -9%
Rakiura Track
Opening day bookings 168 385 129%
New Zealanders 85% 78% -7%
International visitors 15% 22% 7%
Whanganui Journey
Opening day bookings 75 137 83%
New Zealanders 73% 71% -2%
International visitors 27% 29% 2%


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