New Zealand Great Walks

Map of the Great Walks of New Zealand
Sub-tropical vegetation along Heaphy River
Mountain pass on Milford Track
An alpine section of the Kepler Track after snowfall

The New Zealand Great Walks are a set of popular tramping tracks developed and maintained by the Department of Conservation.[1] They are New Zealand's premier tracks, through areas of some of the best scenery in the country, ranging from coastlines with beaches to dense rain forests and alpine terrain. 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 backcountry.

The backcountry huts are conveniently located, comfortable, well-equipped, and high capacity. Both the huts and tracks on the Great Walks are of a higher standard than other tramping tracks in the country. These tracks are very popular with overseas visitors, partly due to their heavy promotion by the Department of Conservation and tourism operators. Many of the Great Walks have booking systems to manage visitor pressure. Guided walks are available through private operators along many of the walks.

There is no charge nor any permit required for walking access to the Great Walks. Charges and restrictions apply, rather, to overnight accommodation, whether in huts or tents. The start and end sections of the Great Walks can be accessed for free and explored via return day walks. However, this is not possible on Milford Track, as both ends require boat transport to get there. Sections of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track are particularly popular for day walks without overnight accommodation, as even the middle sections are serviced by water taxis.

Seven of the nine walks are covered by Google Street View from November 2015.[2]

The walks range from 32 kilometres (20 mi) length to 82 kilometres (51 mi) in length and take between 3 and 6 days to complete, with the Whanganui Journey on river being 145 kilometres (90 mi) long over 5 days.[3]

Only the Tongariro Northern Circuit and the Kepler Track are loop walks, all other Great Walks require transport to return back to the starting point.

A tenth Great Walk, the 45-kilometre (28 mi) "Pike29 Memorial Track" is planned to be opened in 2018 as a memorial to the 29 miners killed in the Pike River Mine disaster. This will be the first addition since the existing Great Walks network was established in 1993.[4]

List of routes

Typical swing bridge on Waikaremoana Great Walk
Emerald Lakes in the volcanic landscape of Tongariro

North Island

South Island

Stewart Island / Rakiura

See also


  1. "A Short History of Long Walks in NZ". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  2. Michael de Waal-Montgomery (2015-11-04). "Enter the world of 'The Lord of the Rings' with Google's latest Street View imagery from New Zealand". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  3. "Great Walks of New Zealand". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  4. "Great Walk and National Park addition to memorialise 29 Pike miners". Department of Conservation. 15 Nov 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  5. Samantha Gee (10 Sep 2015). "Abel Tasman National Park generates $1m revenue after record-breaking season". Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  6. "Milford Track - New Zealand Hiking Trails". Tourism New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
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