DOC is calling for ideas for two new Great Walks, which it hopes to develop before the summer of 2021. The department has $12.7 million to develop the walks in a bid to reduce the strain on the existing nine Great Walks which are attracting record numbers of visitors.
There’s a preference for North Island tracks and they must be upgrades to existing trails, rather than entirely new tracks. Other criteria include spectacular landscapes, a wide range of scenery and biodiversity. Walks should cater for relatively inexperienced trampers and take three to five days with four to six hours of low-level risk walking each day.
DOC has already received 24 full and partial submissions. Proposals can be submitted on the DOC website before November 30. The two new walks will be named by July next year.
Where will they be?
We think these three tracks stand the best chance of being upgraded.
1. Te Paki Coastal Track
DOC included a Te Paki Great Walk as part of its visitor strategy for the next four years. The 48km track takes three to four days and follows stunning coastline from Spirits Bay on the East Coast, around Cape Reinga and Cape Maria van Dieman and finishes at 90 Mile Beach. There are no huts on this route, so this would also be good way to get some for the hut-starved upper North Island.
2. Mt Tarawera
Rotoroa iwi Ngāti Rangitihi is already conducting a feasibility study for a new Great Walk up Mt Tarawera. Iwi trust chair Leith Comer said the trail up Mt Tarawera could link the existing Tarawera Trail and the Northern Tarawera Track. The new track would be managed in partnership with DOC.
3. The Queen Charlotte Track
This 70km track passes secluded bays in the Marlborough Sounds, with options to stay at private lodges. It is already open to mountain bikers over summer. The Marlborough District Council, Queen Charlotte Track Trust and Destination Marlborough are making a joint proposal for it to gain Great Walk status.