Mackinnon Pass.
Image: John Strother | ©

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


Bookings open for the 30th Great Walks season this week, starting with Milford Track which booked out in record time yesterday according to DOC data.

Date:  04 May 2022

“Each year we think the Milford can’t sell out any faster and each year we are proven wrong,” says DOC’s Heritage and Visitors Director Tim Bamford.

“Yesterday was no exception. At 9:30 am we had 6,000 customers logged on, all looking to book the 7,480 spaces on the Milford. All available spaces were reserved within three minutes, although some were subsequently cancelled or updated.”

Bookings data shows 80% of bunk space was booked by New Zealanders, 10% by Australians, and 5% by US citizens. The remaining 5% was taken up by a mix of overseas customers.

“I’m heartened to see New Zealanders continuing to book onto the Milford in high numbers, alongside the return of international visitors which will be a boon for Te Anau and Southland communities,” says Tim Bamford.

“We’ve already been asked about bots taking all the spots but analysis has shown no evidence of the mass-manufactured email addresses typically associated with bots. Because of the way the booking process is designed and how inventory is reserved early in the booking process, there would be no advantage to using a bot anyway.”

“We really sympathise with all those who didn’t secure a spot this time. It’s a case of demand exceeding supply. The good news is that there are nine other stunning Great Walks to choose from including Abel Tasman, Rakiura and the Heaphy which opened for 2022/23 bookings today.”

The Heaphy Great Walk will be running as return trips from either the West Coast or Golden Bay ends of the track for the foreseeable future while DOC works to repair severe storm damage. This includes the replacement of a 147.3 metre suspension bridge over Heaphy River, says Tim Bamford.

“They may seem pretty basic to the average walker, but these tracks are actually hugely sophisticated pieces of infrastructure, with high levels of engineering, structure and track design expertise. They also traverse some of our most remote and dynamic landscapes, subject to increasingly frequent and extreme weather events. Keeping this network open and up to standard is a huge undertaking and, while we do all we can to minimise these, closures and disruptions are unavoidable from time to time.”

“The current options on the Heaphy offer fantastic quieter wilderness experiences with high-standard Great Walk facilities.”

“Anyone wishing to undertake a Great Walk should ensure they put in the necessary planning and preparation needed to stay safe and get the most from these wild experiences. This includes choosing a walk that suits their skills and fitness levels, knowing what to pack and checking track and weather conditions before heading out.”

Minimise your impact outdoors: DOC’s Tiaki Care Code

Great Walks 2022/23 bookings opening dates

Tuesday 3 May 2022, 9.30 am

  • Milford Track

Wednesday 4 May 2022, 9.30 am

  • Lake Waikaremoana Track
  • Heaphy Track
  • Routeburn Track

Thursday 5 May 2022, 9.30 am

  • Whanganui Journey
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • Rakiura Track

Friday 6 May 2022, 9.30 am

  • Tongariro Northern Circuit
  • Paparoa Track
  • Kepler Track


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