Nelson Trails started out in true Kiwi fashion as a do-it-yourself solution to a lack of information on tracks at the top of the South Island.
The website now boasts close to 125 trail guides and is on course to have 100,000 users in 2022.
The man behind it, 30-year-old Jordan Miller, makes maps for a living, so the urban walks, day trips, tramping and bike trails on the site are all expertly charted.
Wilderness spoke to Miller about how he combined his love of the outdoors and a new hobby to create the guide.
How did the website come about?
At the end of 2015, I was looking for some information on Mt Malita, a day walk in the hills behind Nelson, and I couldn’t find anything online. I’d done the walk as a kid and I was thinking it would be great if there was a single resource where you could find every track, even obscure or lesser-used routes. I had absolutely no experience in web development but I thought it would be a cool little hobby to see if I could learn how to build a website and write about some tracks.
How do you put together the trail guides?
I don’t add tracks to the site unless I’ve walked or ridden them and have photos of them. The first couple of years it was a little bit addictive. It was a reason to get out at the weekend and explore places I hadn’t been to for ages. I put a lot more effort into it then – up to a couple of hours a night – but it laid the foundation for the site and gave it a critical mass of well-known tracks. Now I’m fairly strict about how much time I spend on it – probably a couple of hours a month when I add new tracks.
What are your plans for Nelson Trails?
The site is gaining momentum in terms of audience, from a couple of visits a day in the first year to 100,000 page views so far this year, but the advertising revenue isn’t enough to live off. I dream that one day it might be. Ultimately, I’d love to have every track in the South Island on there, but I’ll just keep chipping away and see what comes up.