DOC is looking for proposals for two existing tracks that could be enhanced to become part of the Great Walks network. These suggested walks must provide outstanding multi-day walking experiences that deliver what visitors expect from a Great Walk.
“We’re just under half way through the period for submitting initial proposals. So far, we have received 24 full and partial submissions, and we’re keen to hear from anyone else who feels their walk should be included,” says DOC’s Tourism Manager Tinaka Mearns.
“Our Great Walks are world-famous. We’ve been working hard to raise their profile and get more people on them with some fantastic results. We now want to create further opportunities, particularly for New Zealanders, to undertake accessible adventures in new locations. By developing two new walks we want to showcase the best of New Zealand, and to support communities to benefit from the increased visitation these walks bring.”
As the majority of Great Walks are currently in the South Island, DOC is actively (though not exclusively) seeking North Island proposals. This makes them easier for more New Zealanders to get to, and the less extreme climate provides potential for year-round walking – providing opportunities in the quieter seasons.
“Working with New Zealanders, through a fair and transparent selection process, we aim to select the best two new locations and ensure these have local support,” says Ms Mearns.
DOC’s work supports New Zealand’s tourism industry by:
- Caring for the spectacular landscapes and nature that draw the crowds;
- Providing experiences that promote connection with and investment in our natural and cultural heritage;
- Designing facilities and tracks to sustain high-use while protecting the environment; and
- Encouraging greater spread of visitor numbers across New Zealand to reduce environmental impacts, help manage demand at popular sites, and support the whole of government approach.
The creation of these two new Great Walks is part of this work, and the result of the Government’s Budget 2017 $76 million package to enable the Department to better manage for visitor growth.
DOC is inviting initial proposals until 30 November this year. These will be assessed by an external independent panel and subject to consultation with iwi. Submitters whose ideas meet the criteria and have potential, will then be asked for full proposals. Final decisions on the two new Great Walk locations are expected by July 2018. This will be followed by negotiations and any development work to bring the experience to Great Walk quality. The new Great walks are due to be open for visitor use by summer 2021.
Go to www.doc.govt.nz/newgreatwalks to make a submission or find out more.
- Currently DOC offers nine Great Walks:
- Rakiura Track
- Milford Track
- Kepler Track
- Routeburn Track
- Heaphy Track
- Abel Tasman Coast Track
- Whanganui Journey (technically a paddle not a walk)
- Lake Waikaremoana
- Tongariro Northern Circuit
- Another one (Paparoa Track) is currently in development on the West Coast.
- The two walks selected through this process will make a total of 12.