The number of Great Walks has more than doubled after DOC announced 14 Great Short Walks and five Great Day Walks.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said the list included world famous walks and “relatively unknown gems” to draw tourists off the beaten track.
The list includes walks that already attract tens of thousands of visitors, including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (TAC), Cathedral Cove Walk on the Coromandel Peninsula, the Fox Glacier Valley Walk and the Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
DOC has partnered with Tourism New Zealand to promote the walks to New Zealanders and overseas visitors. The walks were assessed by local DOC staff as being able to accommodate an increase in visitors.
“DOC’s own research has shown tourists are looking for shorter, easier experiences and we’re meeting that demand by highlighting the best through this new brand,” Barry said.
DOC will spend $2.36m over the next two years to upgrade five of the most popular tracks.
That includes $1m on the TAC for toilets and to upgrade the track and roads, on top of $4m it’s already spent on the track in the past decade. The Roys Peak Track near Wanaka will get $500,000 to create car parks and other amenities. At Cathedral Cove, $400,000 will be spent on a car park and upgrades to the track and amenities, adding to $2.1m of earlier upgrades. The Fox Glacier walk will also get a $400,000 upgrade, on top of $2.5m already spent on the road, track and car park.
In total, the department has spent $21.8m maintaining and upgrading the 19 tracks over the past decade.
A further six short walks and five day walks are to be announced in the future.