The DOC Great Walks are a set of premium tramping tracks throughout New Zealand.
The tracks are maintained to a high standard, making it easier for visitors to explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand's back country. Huts are conveniently located, comfortable, well-equipped, and high capacity. These tracks are heavily promoted, and very popular with overseas visitors -- so there is no escaping the crowds on most of the Great Walks: bring a sociable attitude, a deck of cards, and ear plugs. Privately run guided walks are available along many of the tracks.
Bookings and fees apply to huts and campsites on the Great Walks. There are no restrictions or fees for day use of the tracks. In general, lowland huts and campsites must be booked year-round. Alpine tracks have a peak season requiring bookings and an off season where regular DOC hut tickets are used and bookings are not available.
Huts on some tracks are serviced with wardens, flush toilets, heating, gas for cooking, and other comforts during peak season, but minimal facilities (and perhaps no fuel for heating) during the off season.
Alpine tracks may be impassable in winter due to snow and avalanche risks. However, day or overnight walks may be very worthwhile. A winter walk into a hut on the Routeburn Track provides alpine scenery dramatically different from the summer experience.
|Lake Waikaremoana, North Island||Lake, forest||3-4 days, 46km||Required|
|Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island||Volcanic landscape||3-4 days, 43.1km||Required Oct-Apr|
|Whanganui Journey, North Island||Kayak journey, Maori culture||5 days, 145km||Required|
|Abel Tasman Coast, South Island||Golden beaches, coastline||3-5 days, 54.4km||Required|
|Heaphy, South Island||Palm beaches, tussock downs||4-6 days, 82km||Required|
|Routeburn, South Island||Alpine scenery||2-4 days, 32km||Required Oct-Apr|
|Milford, South Island||Fiords, alpine scenery||4 days, 53.5km||Required Oct-Apr (no camping)|
|Kepler, South Island||Lake, alpine scenery||3-4 days, 60km||Required Oct-Apr|
|Rakiura, Stewart Island||Forest, birdlife||3 days, 32km||Required|
Check the Department of Conservation web site for details and to book online:
Huts on Great Walks are fitted with bunks or platforms with mattresses, drinking water, toilet, heating facilities and fuel. Cooking facilities may be available, although these may be in heavy demand. Wardens may be present in summer. Cooking utensils and other bedding are not provided. Wardens do not sell food or other products: trampers must be fully prepared.
Designated campsites provide water, sinks and toilets, and may have cooking shelters. They do not have cooking facilities. Unlike other tracks, there are charges for camping. Free camping is prohibited within 500m of any Great Walk track, or within 1km of the Milford Track.
Shelters on the Great Walks are provided for emergencies or for sitting out inclement weather, for lunch breaks, and as support for camping areas. Overnight use is generally prohibited.
eponymous Missing from this list is 'the Pinnacles' in Thames. The monster 80 bunk hut is well worth a visit.
16 October 2007
heyhey High season on the tracks is generally Labour Weekend (October 25) to Queen's Birthday (April 25), low season is the reverse.
Exceptions are the northern SI tracks (Heaphy & Abel Tasman) which are from October 1 to April 30, and Waikaremoana in the North Island which is high season rates year round.
23 February 2004
crazymagic when are the seasons?... am i just not seeing the dates?...
23 August 2003
Lucky77 The articals are useful but still need more contributors to present their views.
8 June 2003
Dirk I found the artical usful although some prices for the huts and camp sites would be great to have.
3 September 2001