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Great Walk reader tips

Take sandfly repellent on the Heaphy Track, reader's advise. Photo: Matthew Cattin

We polled Wilderness readers for their Great Walk tips and advice. Here’s what they came back with.

1. Tongariro Northern Circuit

“Avoid peak season if you can. Mangatepopo and Oturere huts are cramped when full, and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing section of the circuit can be crowded.”

“Visit Waihohonu Springs and Oturere Falls. Try kiwi spotting at Waihohonu Hut.”

“Get up really early to beat the crowds on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – watch the day wake up and have the place to yourself.”

2. Lake Waikaremoana

“Be open-minded regarding the new guardians, Tūhoe. It’s early days yet.”

“Do the steep section last when your pack is lighter.”

3. Whanganui River Journey

“Don’t carry too much weight – you still have to haul gear out of the canoe each night.”

“Take your time and go with a guide to hear the rich history of the river.”

“Allow lots of time to enjoy chilling out on the edge of the river and swimming and relaxing.”

4. Abel Tasman Coast Track

“This walk is not as flat as you think it is. There is a lot of climbing up and out of bays. It can be baking hot in summer.”

“Keep an eye out for seals and penguins. Make sure you walk the entire length of the track.”

“Go in autumn, it’s quiet, warm and golden.”

5. Heaphy Track 

“Wrap your feet in hikers wool to cushion the impact of the stony walk from Browns Hut to Perry Saddle.”

“Take sandfly repellent and secure stuff away from wekas.”

“Allow time to experience kiwi and tahakē around Gouland Downs.”

“Make the most of the swimming holes at Saxon Hut and Perry Saddle Hut. But be warned – the water at Perry Saddle is freezing.”

6. Paparoa Track

“Take the time to explore the side routes. The surrounding towns on the west Coast are also part of the appeal.”

“Stay at Moonlight Tops and Pororari huts – both are spectacular and different in their own ways.”

“Do it as soon as you can because it’s not open too often.”

“If you stay at Ces Clark Hut, get up early to see the sunrise over the Southern Alps.”

7. Routeburn Track

“Add in the Greenstone to double the fun and experiences.”

“A post-tramp dip in Lake Mackenzie is very worth while no matter the weather.”

8. Milford Track

“Get to Mintaro Hut early and if it’s a fine day head up to Mackinnon Pass for the views. Tomorrow’s weather may be completely different.”

“Appreciate the rain, it brings the waterfalls.”

“It might snow, even in summer – we had snow on Christmas Day.”

9. Kepler Track

“Allow time to do the side-trip to Iris Burn Falls and the Luxmore Cave.”

10. Rakiura Track

“Do a morning side trip to Sawyers Beach from Port William Hut.”

“Make sure to stay up and look for Kiwi. But if you miss them on the track, you can see them on the sports field above Oban township the next night.”

“Add on a trip to Mason Bay – you may as well, after all the effort of getting to Rakiura.”