Great Walks

The Department of Conservation (DOC), announced moderate price increases in hut fees on the Great Walks during the coming season.

New Zealand has nine Great Walks which are very popular. In the last 3 years, numbers of people walking the tracks have increased by 35%. About 60% of those are international visitors. Maintaining the huts and the tracks, and removing waste from these inaccessible places is expensive because sometimes helicopters are needed. Hut fees cover some of these costs but there is still more than a $3m shortfall every year. It is free to walk the tracks but visitors pay to stay overnight.

Three of the Great Walks are in the North Island, six in the South Island especially in Fiordland. The most popular is the Abel Tasman National Park for a number of reasons. It is open all year round. It has a milder climate than many other parks, it doesn’t cross mountain ranges like some of the other walks so it is easier. It follows the coast with access to beautiful beaches and it is possible to use water taxis to and from various parts of the track. In fact, most visitors probably visit for one day. Other Great Walks take 3 or 4 days with stops overnight at a hut. You need to be quite fit. They vary from about 35km to more than 60km in length and some involve strenuous climbing.

Many of these tracks are only open from October to April. The biggest price increase is for huts on the Milford Track which will now cost $70 a night, up from $54. Bookings open May 17th. Check out DOC’s website


• a hut –a building which provides shelter from the weather. It has basic sleeping facilities (eg. bunk beds) and some cooking facilities. It is shared accommodation.
• Conservation – protection of our natural resources: plants, animals, parks, rivers etc
• inaccessible – cannot get there easily
• shortfall – difference between income and expenditure when there is not enough income
• strenuous – difficult, requiring good fitness and a lot of energy

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