DOC has received 37 proposals for new Great Walks as the department plans to build two new Great Walks by 2021.
The proposals included 30 different walks across the country. A panel including Federated Mountain Clubs, New Zealand Recreation Association, NZ Maori Tourism, Tourism NZ, Air New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa have whittled the proposals down to a shortlist of about 12 options, which are being consulted with iwi.
The shortlist will be released publicly later in the process. DOC has said North Island walks would be given preference and a condition of the new walks was that they had to be upgrades to existing trails, not entirely new tracks. The two walks will be selected by June 2018.
The department has $12.7 million to develop the walks. DOC tourism manager Tinaka Mearns said the existing Great Walks were reaching capacity.
“This is an opportunity to expand the network in places where there is local support and showcase other beautiful but lesser-visited parts of the country,” Mearns said. “We also want to give New Zealanders Great Walks closer to home and at quieter times of the year.”