New Zealand

Tramper

Great Walks Information

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

Bookings and fees apply to huts and campsites on the Great Walks. There are no restrictions or fees for day use of the tracks.

Huts on some tracks are serviced with wardens, flush toilets, heating, gas for cooking, and other comforts.

Great Walks season

During the Great Walks season, tracks and facilities are provided to a "Great Walks" standard. Bookings are required. Lowland tracks have a year-round Great Walks season, while alpine tracks have a shorter season.

Winter season

Tracks are not suitable for inexperienced trampers outside the Great Walks season. Alpine sections may be impassible in winter. Hazards include avalanche risk, snow conditions, and dangerous river crossings.

Lowland day or overnight walks from track ends can be a good choice during winter.

During the winter season, bookings are unavailable, but DOC backcountry hut tickets are used to pay for huts. Facilities at huts are reduced, and some bridges may be removed due to avalanche risk. Huts may have no fuel for heating.

 

The walks

Great Walk Features Length Great Walks season
Lake Waikaremoana, North Island Lake, forest 3-4 days, 46km All year
Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island Volcanic landscape 3-4 days, 43.1km Late October to late April
Whanganui Journey, North Island Kayak journey, Maori culture 5 days, 145km All year
Abel Tasman Coast, South Island​ Golden beaches, coastline 3-5 days, 54.4km All year
Heaphy, South Island​ Palm beaches, tussock downs 4-6 days, 82km All year
Routeburn, South Island​ Alpine scenery 2-4 days, 32km Late October to late April
Milford, South Island​ Fiords, alpine scenery 4 days, 53.5km Late October to late April
Kepler, South Island​ Lake, alpine scenery 3-4 days, 60km Late October to late April
Rakiura, Stewart Island​​ Forest, birdlife 3 days, 32km All year

Check the Department of Conservation web site for details and to book online:

Facilities

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. There are no campsites on 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 except in emergencies.

Map

Comments

  • eponymous 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 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
ID 61

About this article

Creator: Matthew Added 29 May 200129 May 2001 by Matthew. 5 revisions, most recently 29 May 201429 May by MatthewMatthew.

License

All rights reserved
9,117 views in the past year (760 per month).