St James Cycle Trail
Image: Bevan Triebels | ©


Destination management is the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a site or destination—its values, attractions, the people, infrastructure, access and how the place is marketed.

Destination management is the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a site or destination – its values, attractions, the people, infrastructure, access and how the place is marketed. 

This approach encourages the connection of site management activities that are often traditionally undertaken in isolation.

Download the text below with references: Destination Management Framework: A new approach to managing destinations (PDF, 1370K)

Published 2011

Executive summary

The Destination Management Framework (DMF) is a set of principles and associated actions that support DOC’s strategic vision for conservation, New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth – Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i a Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao. DMF focuses on increasing the participation of people in recreation and in protecting our historic heritage.

New Zealand is internationally recognised as being a fantastic place to visit, for its scenery, culture and history. New Zealanders are proud of their country, and enjoy its special places and adventure opportunities. The forests, mountains, rivers, beaches, historic places, birds and marine mammals, and the local communities that share these treasures, all contribute to a diverse country, and public conservation areas protect and showcase many of its unique features.

The responsibility for protecting these treasures today and into the future is bigger than DOC. One way of engaging more people in this task is through better enabling people to visit conservation areas, as well as responding to a traditional expectation that people will have access to protected areas to recreate and enjoy. Therefore, places need to be managed with the visitor experience in mind.

By managing places to ensure they provide the type of recreation experiences people want from their visit to public conservation areas, more people will recreate in these places, and from this comes a number of benefits to individuals and society. People will improve their health and wellbeing, spend quality time with family and friends, learn about their heritage, and strengthen their ‘sense of place’ (connection with specific places). Society will benefit through individuals having a greater connection with conservation values, and understanding that our environment is not just a decorative backdrop, but is the cornerstone of our lives and our prosperity. People giving positive recommendations about DOC-managed places to others means the places that people most value can be identified and managed for everyone’s enjoyment into the future.

DOC is a significant provider of tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities in New Zealand. This framework aims to ensure that the delivery of these opportunities is focused, fit for purpose, demand-driven and affordable, and that DOC works with others in providing such opportunities. In this way, it will help people to consider money spent on conservation as an investment in all of our future wellbeing and prosperity.

The DMF has been developed to define all our work in tourism and recreation opportunity management for the future, and to reshape our priorities for historic heritage.The DMF is part of a range of change programmes that will help DOC to better achieve its conservation objectives, through increased efficiencies and working with others.

A guide to recreation and historic heritage terms used by the DMF.

Destination Management Framework

DOC vision

New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth

Conservation message

People prosper from a healthy functioning environment and all the benefits it brings – not just benefits like clean air and fresh water, but also a vast choice of recreational options and spaces.

Investing in these public spaces is good for our future health and wellbeing.

Intermediate outcomes

  • More people participate in recreation
  • Our history is protected and brought to life
  • More business opportunities delivering increased economic prosperity and conservation gain

Key outputs

Opportunity provision is driven by demand

Destination investment is optimised to meet demand

Every destination provides a quality experience

Opportunities are promoted

Outcomes are achieved by working with others

Opportunities and their promotion are defined by what people want

Icon destinations best reflect the grandeur and history of New Zealand

Management guidelines deliver desirable experiences at each destination

Promotion is directly linked to an understanding of visitor preferences

DOC, agencies and businesses work together to provide complementary opportunities

Recreation trends are monitored

Gateways introduce people to the outdoors

Facilities and services meet the needs of visitors

Information and promotion is focused on increasing participation

Commercial opportunities and partnerships grow tourism

The effectiveness of outcomes is measured

Local gems best meet local and regional needs

Visitors understand risks and, where appropriate, risks are managed for them

Collaborative marketing promotes destinations

People see themselves as guardians and hosts of their places

Destinations that best enable teaching the education curriculum

A backcountry network provides challenging adventures

Visitor use and service delivery is monitored

People have good access to information

Planning and decision making involves communities

Specific measure of success

People are active in their destinations of choice

Efficient investment in recreation

Evidence of repeat visitation and recommending to others

People access and use information

Common understanding and cooperation

General measure of success

  • Destinations are highly accessible to the resident and visiting public
  • Destinations provide an appealing, safe and quality experience
  • Destinations reflect the New Zealand character
  • Destination management encourages commercially delivered recreation
  • Destinations are used by a growing proportion of New Zealanders
  • Destinations are used by a growing number of international visitors

What is destination management?

Destination management is the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a site or destination – its values, attractions, the people, infrastructure, access and how the place is marketed. This approach encourages the connection of site management activities that are often traditionally undertaken in isolation.

It makes sense to look at the management of places in an integrated way, since that is the way visitors experience them – as a whole place, not a series of different parts.

The application of destination management has been shown to result in not only a place that is better managed, but one that provides a quality experience for those who visit. It includes showcasing sustainable practices that use resources wisely, and protecting the natural and historic values at places. This remains the core function of DOC. Different people view destinations in different ways:

  • New Zealand is a destination to overseas tourists.
  • A particular region may be marketed as a destination by regional tourism organisations.
  • Places within a region may be considered destinations, e.g. Cape Reinga in Northland, Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast and Milford Sound in Southland.
  • Some cities or towns are destinations, e.g. Christchurch is the destination of inbound flights, while the ultimate destination of some of the passengers may be Queenstown.

DOC uses the term 'destination' to mean a geographic area that is the focus of a single trip by a visitor. Destinations can be described in terms of required infrastructure and in terms of promotion, both of which are important for encouraging people to participate.

Some DOC-managed destinations are predominantly the responsibility of DOC, i.e. DOC provides the majority of the infrastructure. At other DOC-managed destinations, a commercial business provides the infrastructure and manages the visitor experience, e.g. ski fields. Some destinations are managed with a combination of DOC and community effort.

The promotion of destinations is not necessarily focused on the infrastructure, and often involves different parties. For example, a regional tourism organisation provides information about all attractions (destinations) within their region, while Tourism New Zealand markets New Zealand by carefully focusing on a number of key markets around the world and a select group of consumers within those key markets.

Destination management requires us to be aware of these different perspectives.

Our vision for the future

New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth. 

  • People spend time enjoying our mountains, high country, forests, wetlands, coasts, islands and seas. In these places they are able to recreate and rejuvenate, and benefit from increased physical activity and reduced stress levels. They can also connect with nature and historic places, and spend quality time with friends and loved ones, whilst developing a greater understanding of interactions between species and ecological balance.
  • Front country sites are family-friendly, accessible and suitable for people of all physical abilities. Education groups are also supported at many locations across the country.
  • Businesses realise the economic value of investing in activities associated with recreation and tourism. In turn, commercially delivered recreation enables a wider range of people to enjoy the outdoors and complements other available choices.
  • New Zealanders are actively connected to, and identify with, their environments and their history. Those who are familiar with particular locations help others to learn about what is special there, and people feel welcome wherever they go. People take an interest in leaving no trace of their visit, and remind others to do the same.
  • New Zealanders work together to provide, manage and contribute to tourism and recreation opportunities, including working with agencies such as DOC and local authorities. A wide range of opportunities are available. Some of these are run and managed by community groups, some by tangata whenua, some by businesses and landowners, and others by local and central government.
  • A wide range of outdoor activities are available, with the opportunities matched to public demand and the natural and historic values of places.

DOC’s place in that future

  • DOC provides a personalised and effective service, with knowledgeable and friendly staff. All facilities are to the required standard, with destinations offering unique and greatly enjoyed experiences.
  • Change is planned to meet the needs of today and the foreseeable future.
  • Participation at DOC tourism and outdoor recreation places grows, and increased demand for quality experiences is met.
  • Opportunities provided by DOC complement those of other public land managers and private/commercial providers.
  • Many easily accessed day trip destinations are managed for families and education groups across the country, with DOC’s facilities complementing those of the regional councils and local authorities.

Why is change needed?

DOC has investigated its current approach to managing recreation and tourism opportunities in the context of today’s society and its needs and preferences. There are compelling reasons for change:

  • People’s leisure preferences are changing so DOC must understand and respond to what people now want.
  • New Zealand’s population structure is changing: we are more urban, the average age is increasing, over 50% of New Zealand’s population lives north of Hamilton
  • 40% of New Zealanders visited a public conservation area in 2009. We want more people to participate in outdoor recreation so they learn first hand about these places. Everything we do that encourages more people to participate in outdoor recreation, and that helps New Zealanders understand their historic places is an investment in our future health, wellbeing and prosperity.
  • Tourism is one of New Zealand’s biggest export earners. To help build economic prosperity, By having more people participating in outdoor recreation, and spending their leisure time and money in these places.
  • DOC manages a significant suite of facilities across the country, which is more than can be maintained into the future.
  • DOC manages some of New Zealand’s most popular historic places and more should be done to tell their story.

DOC is developing a national framework for managing its recreation and historic destinations, to better align these investments with what people enjoy and value. The DMF is a coordinated approach to manage the elements that make up a destination – its attractions, values, the people, infrastructure, access and how the place is marketed. This approach encourages integrated management of places, as that is the way visitors experience them – as a whole place, not a series of different parts. Investment decisions will be made within a national context so that we can better meet the needs of New Zealanders and visitors to our country. DOC will be investing more at places that are popular and valued, and that provide commercial and/or community opportunities.

Mountain biking – responding to a growing recreation activity

Mountain biking is an activity that in 2007/08 6.1% of the New Zealand population engaged, but which only 20 years ago was still in its infancy in New Zealand. DOC manages 13,000 km of walking and tramping tracks, the majority of which are not suitable for mountain biking because they are too steep and rugged for all but the experts. The track network has traditionally been used for pedestrian activities (walking, tramping, hunting, and running), and the concept of allowing mountain bikes to use the tracks suitable for bikes was viewed with some concern by DOC land managers and walkers alike.

These concerns were based on the fact that tracks deteriorate differently when bikes are used on them, and that someone biking at speed on a track can startle a walker or tramper, potentially causing an accident. Because of these issues DOC has been cautious in allowing mountain bikers access to tracks.

The development of a biker’s codei, a joint initiative between DOC and New Zealand MTB Association encourages mountain bikers to 'respect others, respect the rules ands respect the track'. Tracks that will be used by mountain bikers can be designed with features that reduce erosion and allow a range of different users. Having tracks dedicated to mountain biking also means that walkers can choose not to put themselves at risk. Mountain bike enthusiasts are now helping to create and manage tracks for mountain biking, and DOC is now one of the land managers that helps 6.1% of the population enjoy their chosen recreation activity.

The growing popularity of mountain biking is an example of why DOC needs to be aware of changing recreation preferences so it can respond appropriately.

The challenges ahead

There are a number of challenges that will influence future outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in New Zealand.

Increasing participation

With increasing competition for people’s leisure time, and long-distance travel becoming a barrier because of time and cost, it appears that outdoor recreation participation is declining and recruitment of new people into nature-based activities may also be decreasing.Increased participation is critical to realising the social benefits attributable to investment in outdoor recreation and will involve:

  • Promoting opportunities in a more focused way.
  • Creating active links with schools to encourage young people to use the outdoors.
  • Managing risks to meet different visitor expectations.

Managing opportunities

As people’s circumstances change, their leisure choices change. Recreation facilities and opportunities need to reflect society’s changing needs. Managing opportunities that meet local and national needs requires DOC to:

  • Work within a national system that enables consistent priority setting for the allocation of resources.
  • Understand the recreation opportunities people value.
  • Ensure that visitor access works in with natural and historic values.
  • Consider the opportunities other parties provide.
  • Have a long-term focus and find ways to grow the resources needed.
  • Measure our performance in managing opportunities.

Meeting public expectations

DOC is expected to demonstrate high standards of biodiversity and historic heritage protection, and to provide opportunities for recreation and commercial use of conservation land. However, the wide range of ways in which these different groups use places can create situations of conflict. Developing society’s awareness and participation in conservation management is essential to ensure ongoing access to and use of protected areas. This will involve:

  • Encouraging people to take personal responsibility for ensuring conservation areas are clean and friendly to visit.
  • Working with commercial operators and community groups to deliver recreation opportunities and to be involved in conservation, and from this demonstrate they are a legitimate and essential part of recreation in New Zealand.
  • Finding ways to simplify and speed up planning, and to better engage the public in complex decision making.
  • Improving our evaluation and reporting on what has been achieved.

Managing change

New Zealand society is changing – a greater proportion of people are in older age groups and we have wider ethnic diversity. DOC needs to demonstrate that the recreation opportunities available in conservation areas contribute to personal and social health and wellbeing so that DOC can respond to changing customer demand, and continue to demonstrate relevance.

One clear challenge is that DOC currently can not afford to maintain its current investment approach into the future.

Managing for change will require us to:

  • Improve our tourism and recreation management capability to achieve and sustain more effective and efficient outputs.
  • Collaborate and partner with others where there are opportunities to achieve common benefits.
  • Adapt more quickly to use communication media that are relevant to today’s society.
  • Monitor what we are doing more closely to quickly identify when any incremental shifts being made are unacceptable.

A framework for action

The DMF sets the context for increasing participation in these ways:

  • Be demand driven.
    Facilities, services, good information; developing partnerships, business relationships are informed by an understanding of customers and participants.
  • Optimise investment decisions to meet demand and budget.
    Doing the work that work that people most value, in a cost-effective manner, so that more people will participate in outdoor recreation.
  • Be effective destination managers to ensure quality experiences.
    Quality experiences lead to repeat visitation.
  • Market and promote destinations.
    Finding better ways of letting people know what opportunities are available.
  • Actively work with others.
    DOC is but one of the providers of public outdoor recreation and tourism, and needs to complement other opportunities.
    The integrated management of places is a key focus, and will ensure that visitor access is consistent with the conservation of natural and historic resources.

The flowchart shows Government policy, leads to major public sector strategies, leads to other drivers and inititiatives, leads to DOC's response through DMF

The following sections explain each area of focus in more detail, drawing on the case study of the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway to demonstrate how DOC is putting the framework into practice.

Being demand driven

People visit public conservation areas because:

  • There are quality accessible opportunities available that meet people’s expectations i.e. opportunities meet demand.
  • These opportunities are at least as appealing as other leisure options including the time required to access and complete the activity, mental or physical rewards, cost, etc.
  • They have experienced public conservation areas during their childhood – we won’t do what we don’t know, and experiences we are provided with during our childhood expand our leisure choices.
  • The settings and activities they enable reflect what is special about New Zealand.
  • People have good experiences, which lead them to recommend places to others, and to visit again or try another similar opportunity.
  • They were able to find useful information where they looked for it.

Therefore, to increase participation levels DOC needs to:

  • Understand what people want and what makes destinations appealing to visit, so we can match opportunities (supply) with demand.
  • Focus on the education sector and the NZ Curriculum to provide opportunities that connect youth with outdoor recreation and conservation.
  • Provide opportunities that are near to where people live and where they travel and holiday.
  • Build awareness of what is available and provide compelling reasons to visit.

To achieve this, DOC needs to:

  • Better understand the demand for outdoor recreation and from this confirm how market segmentation will inform the choice of opportunities provided, and improve its focus on providing quality experiences.
  • Profile success stories where DOC has developed new opportunities to meet demand or redeveloped facilities to re-invigorate destinations, and partnered with others in doing this.•
  • Develop a plan to promote opportunities, focusing on the ongoing refreshing of the destinations that support and domestic and international tourism; encouraging New Zealanders to recreate at family-friendly destinations, and providing access to a wide range of front country and backcountry opportunities available.
  • Improve the use of the Outcomes at Places planning approach to develop and implement Conservation Management Strategies and National Park Management Plans, and to show how public views are incorporated into decision making.
  • Work closely with the Ministry of Education to facilitate outdoor recreation through the education system and the NZ Curriculum.

Case study: Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway

Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) is one of New Zealand’s most visited sites, drawing thousands of visitors a year.

Enterprise Northland and Northland Regional Council identified potential sites for a nationally important recreational experience in the area, and Te Paki Reserves were identified as well suited to a high quality multi-day walk aimed at encouraging eco-based small businesses and further recreational challenge/use.The current track network within the Te Paki Reserves links two existing Standard Camps (Tapotupotu and Spirits Bay) and provides a 4 day hike from Spirits Bay to Te Paki Stream including Cape Reinga. Users include day visitors from the camps, walkers starting the Te Araroa Trail and multi-day trampers. However, the track network has been under-utilised primarily due to the fragmented nature of the walks which don’t offer a “holistic” experience, the fresh water supply en route being very limited and the track being relatively unknown.

Multi-day trampers are increasing in number thus increasing negative visitor impact within Te Paki Reserve which will not be able to cope into the future.

Optimised investment

DOC manages a very extensive network of front country and backcountry places, which include over 230 picnic areas, 13,000 km of tracks (including 8 Great Walks), 660 historic places, 330 campsites and 2,200 km of roads. These facilities have been developed and acquired over time, in response to changing demands. The enthusiasm for securing and retaining public access to a range of opportunities has resulted in a corresponding over-commitment to a wide range of opportunities that current resource commitments can not sustain into the future.

DOC needs to provide an optimal mix of facilities and services across the desired range of opportunities in the most cost-effective way.

To achieve this, destinations will be managed as:

  • Icons that underpin national and international tourism in New Zealand.
  • Gateways that encourage people to start recreating in the outdoors and to learn about conservation.
  • Local treasures that provide local places for local people and support regional outdoor recreation needs; or
  • Backcountry networks that provide challenging adventures in protected natural areas.

In selecting an appropriate mix of opportunities, DOC is making a commitment to support all four of these types of opportunity. However, the number of destinations within each category must be limited to achieve a balance that continues to encourage people to participate.

To achieve this, DOC needs to:

  • Develop tools to guide decisions on where to provide the four distinctly different types of opportunity.
  • Set a national context for local decision making.
  • Establish long-term business planning approaches that focus on the vision of more people participating in recreation.

Case study: Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway

A multi-day track provides an opportunity that is very limited in the far north; a coastal multi-day walk is even rarer. As well as traversing a variety of beautiful and unique landforms and offering spectacular views of the cape region, the track would also have a much longer season and expand the tramping visitor’s options.

The walkway follows the coastline of Te Paki, and runs fromKapowairua / Spirits Bay on the East Coast, past Cape Reinga, Cape Maria van Dieman and Te Paki Stream on the West Coast. From there, you can continue along 90 Mile Beach all the way to Ahipara.

Because of the climate and unreliable water supply, water will be provided at the camps along the trail. Tidal stream crossings mean good information is also needed so people can plan their trip to coincide with low tide.

Quality experiences

New Zealand’s reputation as a great place to explore for overseas tourists and New Zealanders alike relies on our ability to provide visitor experiences that reflect what is special about our country in a way that is appealing and will lead people to recommend these places to others.

DOC needs to provide quality experiences so that people feel their time was well spent.

Each part of their visit should complement the whole. All facilities should be maintained to the required standard and designed to add to the setting, and it should be evident that care is being taken of the natural or historic values.

Meeting people’s expectations also adds to the quality of an experience. People who seek security and safety in a highly managed setting can feel confident at icons and gateways, while people who want to be in control of their own experience can find this in the backcountry networks and local treasures.

To achieve this DOC needs to:

  • Develop Destination Management business rules that ensure DOC undertakes planning within the wider community context, and guarantees good design, the use of appropriate materials and an ongoing commitment to appropriate marketing and services to facilitate positive experiences.
  • Better match service standard delivery with market requirements, considering both visitor expectation and risk management.
  • Fully implement the Visitor Risk Management System.
  • Fully implement a national visitor monitoring programme that focuses on understanding factors that willcontribute to DOC’s various outcomes and the vision New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth.

Case study: Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway

The Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway has stunning views, varied terrain, historical significance and also offers tracks to suit different fitness levels.

The tracks traverse a variety of beautiful and unique landforms, and offers spectacular views of the cape region. It follows the coastline of Te Paki, and runs from Kapowairua / Spirits Bay on the East Coast, past Cape Reinga, Cape Maria van Dieman and Te Paki Stream on the WestCoast. From there Ahipara can be accessed via 90 Mile Beach.

The walkway consists of interlinking track sections, leading across dunes, idyllic beaches, dramatic headlands, regenerating coastal forest, pastureland and wetlands filled with birdlife and native plants. Access is possible to areas of historic and archaeological interest in the Te Paki Farm Park.

Visitors can attempt the whole walkway or sections to suit available time, fitness levels and interests. Track sections range from 30 minutes to several hours duration.

Working with others

Local community support for conservation areas is influenced by the benefits they experience and obtain from those places.

By providing opportunities that appeal to local communities and attract people to particular areas, there will be increased support for DOC and its activities, and greater involvement by local communities in conservation work.

By working closely with others to provide great tourism and recreation opportunities in public conservation areas, DOC will encourage partners to contribute to the vision.There is a strong incentive for tourism and outdoor recreation businesses to establish and grow when the infrastructure and setting is being managed as a public good.By being deliberate and clear about its priorities for developing and managing destinations, DOC will provide more certainty for others and encourage investment.

To achieve this, DOC needs to:

  • Define its role as one of the providers of New Zealand’s outdoor recreation opportunities, and seek coordination and partnerships that are effective in collectively increasing participation.
  • Work with outdoor recreation groups and other supporters of conservation to find opportunities to use and increase their goodwill and enthusiasm in projects that enhance the provision of recreation opportunities.
  • Facilitate discussions with the tourism sector to explore opportunities that will encourage their investment and business commitment at specific tourist destinations.

Encourage and support the public to become involved in the management of public conservation areas and to act as hosts to others using these places.

Case study: Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway

Planning for the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway has been collaboration between DOC, iwi groups, Enterprise Northland and Northland Regional Council. Management of the trail requires coordination between DOC and Te Araroa Trust.

By incorporating social and economic goals with ecological outcomes, DOC Kaitaia aims to help local communities and visitors alike to connect with, understand, and celebrate the unique heritage and conservation values of the area. Local operators will be able to transport people to and from the track and other local businesses will provide accommodation, equipment and other supplies.

Marketing and promotion

There is much competition for people’s leisure time.

For recreation and tourist destinations to be accessible to the public, people need to be aware they are available, and see these opportunities as desirable.

Media technology is changing and people now expect a range of options for learning about what is available to them.

More is being learnt about the range of preferences within society. To appeal to a wider audience, a good understanding of those preferences will help managers decide not only what is provided but also how to promote what is on offer.

DOC needs to be deliberate about its marketing and promotion of destinations if it is to encourage more people to participate.

To achieve this DOC needs to:

  • Collaborate with agencies already involved in promoting New Zealand’s destination to New Zealanders and overseas audiences.
  • Determine the ways of categorising people that are most useful for targeting promotional material. Enhance the way DOC’s internet is used to give people access to information.

Summing up

More people participating in outdoor recreation and tourism will deliver more benefits that contribute to the health and wellbeing of society:

  • DOC visitor opportunities provide unique and enjoyable experiences that underpin New Zealand tourism
    People want to participate.
  • Education groups are supported at many locations across the country.
    A new generation is introduced to the outdoors.
  • Most DOC opportunities are accessible to a wide range of people with different abilities.
    Mum, dad, the kids and grandparents all have places to visit.
  • DOC opportunities complement those of others.
    The task of providing opportunities is shared.
  • People connect with places, take personal responsibility and act as hosts to others.
    The task of managing opportunities is shared and people feel personally connected.

The changes suggested in this framework signal some fundamentally different thinking to deliberately align investment with the following principles:

  1. Be accessible to the resident and travelling public.
  2. Provide a quality experience that is appealing and safe.
  3. Reflect the New Zealand character.
  4. Facilitate commercially delivered recreation.
  5. Share the work with others.
  6. Work within available and projected budget.

This will involve choosing the places that are most likely to be successful, to ensure that managed destinations are able to attract people and provide memorable experiences. Opportunities for peace and natural quiet, solitude, remoteness and wilderness will be retained, but it is recognised that this should not be at the expense of allowing more people to visit a range of places of their choosing.

We are not anticipating a complete change in the network of opportunities. This framework will require DOC to put more focus on places that are popular or have high potential to be popular, and would therefore be of benefit to more New Zealanders. This will require a reduction of effort in low-priority areas, which may not be to everyone’s liking. Further work on determining an optimal product mix will clarify what changes are needed. DOC will need to improve communication with stakeholders about this planning and implement nationally consistent processes for resource allocation to make this work.

The expectation is that there will be a discernable improvement overall in the opportunities being provided and the information that is available. More people will feel that they have a personal stake in the special places being visited, more people will visit more places and, as a consequence, the next generation of New Zealanders will have a range of opportunities that they value and use.

DOC is now working within the activity streams, to develop tools and guidance that enable consistent approaches to decision making and encourage effective engagement with others.

Quick facts about destinations

What does DOC manage?

  • DOC manages 30% of the New Zealand’s landmass, on behalf of the New Zealand public, as public conservation land. This includes 14 national parks.
  • DOC manages 4,500 destinations.

Who visits public conservation land?

  • 720,000 (30%) overseas tourists visited at least one national park during their stay in New Zealand in 2009.
  • Around 780,000 New Zealanders (18%) visited at least one national park in 2009.
  • 1.48m New Zealanders (34%) aged 18 years and over visited at least one public conservation area in 2009.

Where do people visit?

Annual visitation of people to a small range of destinations (north to south):

  • Cape Reinga – 136,000.
  • Tane Mahuta kauri tree, Waipoua – 110,000.
  • Cathedral Cove, Te Whanganui a-Hei Marine Reserve, Coromandel – 90,000.
  • Huka Falls – 600,000.
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing – 77,000.
  • Kapiti Island Nature Reserve – 9, 000.
  • Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park – 78,000.
  • Franz Josef Glacier – 138,000.
  • Otago Central Rail Trail – 20,000.
  • Routeburn Track – 17,000.
  • Milford Road – 450,000.
  • There are many remote locations that receive less than 100 visitors per year.

What commercial activity is supported on public conservation land?

Over 1,500 recreational and tourism operators held concessions to operate on public conservation land in 2010. The activities range from guided walks to accommodation, aircraft, events skiing and boat operators.

What facilities does DOC manage?

In the 4,500 destinations, DOC is responsible for:

  • 230 picnic areas.
  • 13,000 km of track, including 8 Great Walks.
  • 13,000 boardwalks, bridges and structures.
  • 950 huts.
  • 660 historic places.
  • 2,200 km of roads.
  • 26 visitor centres.
  • 330 campsites.
  • and a whole lot more.

How do I find out about these places?

  • DOC’s website has information about the wide range of recreation and historic destinations.
  • In 2009, there were approximately 1,500,000 ‘hits’ on the DOC website from people looking for recreation and tourism information.

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