Introduction

Demand for bookings over New Zealand’s 30th Great Walks season is strong, with Kiwis taking up more than 85% of spots, says the Department of Conservation.

Video

Date:  13 May 2022

Bookings for the 2022-23 Great Walks season (1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023) opened last week. Data shows New Zealanders are keen to get into the outdoors and enjoy the country’s landscapes, despite borders reopening.

“We love that Kiwis are choosing to take time out in nature on their Great Walks,” says DOC’s Heritage and Visitors Director, Tim Bamford. 

“It’s not surprising Great Walks are popular; they are bucket list adventures and restorative escapes.”

”DOC provides a fair booking service that can cope with the demand while keeping numbers on these walks at a sustainable level for the precious landscapes they traverse. It’s a careful balance between delivering high-quality access, and ensuring these places are protected and restored for future generations.”

Excluding the storm damaged Heaphy Track, there was a slight increase of around 5% in opening week bookings across the Great Walks, compared to last year, says Tim Bamford. 

“We get a lot of interest in how fast tracks book up for peak dates such as summer holidays and long weekends, but the reality is there’s still plenty of space to book onto a Great Walk this year. Rakiura, Abel Tasman, and Heaphy are all good options and can be walked year-round.”

“Camping is available at more than 50 sites along eight of the Great Walks, for those who are keen and able. Camping is a cheaper option and offers space for groups, and night-time quiet and privacy.”

Bookings by New Zealanders accounted for more than 100,000 or 85% of bednights booked on the Great Walks during opening week. A further 17,500 bednights were booked by international customers. Australians were by far the biggest overseas customer, making roughly half of all international bookings.

“It’s great to see the gradual return of international visitors to our Great Walks and the communities that host them, with an increase from 11% of opening bookings last year to 15% of bookings this year,” says Tim Bamford.

“These figures will change as the season progresses. Although we wouldn’t anticipate a return to pre-COVID numbers, we do expect overseas bookings to increase a wee bit over the season – often filling weekday or off-peak times.”

DOC also gets asked about Great Walks bookings made by businesses and agents each year, says Tim Bamford.

“These make up for a small percentage of bookings and must be made in the same way the rest of us book – online when bookings open with valid names and contacts for walkers.”

At the end of last week (11.59 pm 6 May 2022) DOC data showed bookings by operators, businesses and agents accounted for 1.4% of all Great Walks bookings, with school and community groups accounting for 0.7% and the remaining 97.9 % of bookings made by the public. There were no concessionaire bookings on Milford Track.

Tim Bamford acknowledges multi-day tramping isn’t for everyone but says there’s an option to overnight in nature to suit most people and budgets.

“DOC accommodation is located in some of the world’s most stunning nature, and fees go back into conservation and recreation in New Zealand. I’d encourage everyone to make the most of their conservation huts, lodges, cabins and campsites across the country.”

Find out more: 30 Years of Great Walks 

Minimise your impact outdoors: DOC’s Tiaki Care Code

View the data

Great Walks opening day bookings data*

Abel Tasman Coast Track

17-Jun-21

5-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

1,784

1,779

0%

Bednights NZ

23,055

21,550

-7%

Bednights Int

1,538

2,659

73%

Total Bednights

24,593

24,209

-2%

New Zealanders

94%

89%

-5%

International Visitors

6%

11%

76%

Heaphy Track

15-Jun-21

4-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

1,315

176

-87%

Bednights NZ

14,382

1,830

-87%

Bednights Int

932

146

-84%

Total Bednights

15,314

1,976

-87%

New Zealanders

94%

93%

-1%

International Visitors

6%

7%

21%

Kepler Track

17-Jun-21

6-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

1,904

2,019

6%

Bednights NZ

15,196

16,463

8%

Bednights Int

2,968

4,102

38%

Total Bednights

18,164

20,565

13%

New Zealanders

84%

80%

-4%

International Visitors

16%

20%

22%

Milford Track

15-Jun-21

3-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

2,433

2,412

-1%

Bednights NZ

18,540

17,394

-6%

Bednights Int

3,592

4,749

32%

Total Bednights

22,132

22,143

0%

New Zealanders

84%

79%

-6%

International Visitors

16%

21%

32%

Paparoa Track

16-Jun-21

6-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

1,351

1,181

-13%

Bednights NZ

10,886

10,297

-5%

Bednights Int

348

695

100%

Total Bednights

11,234

10,992

-2%

New Zealanders

97%

94%

-3%

International Visitors

3%

6%

104%

Rakiura Track

15-Jun-21

5-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

774

811

5%

Bednights NZ

5,620

6,981

24%

Bednights Int

1,014

355

-65%

Total Bednights

6,634

7,336

11%

New Zealanders

85%

95%

12%

International Visitors

15%

5%

-68%

Routeburn Track

16-Jun-21

4-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

2,961

2,983

1%

Bednights NZ

16,141

16,674

3%

Bednights Int

2,658

3,721

40%

Total Bednights

18,799

20,395

8%

New Zealanders

86%

82%

-5%

International Visitors

14%

18%

29%

Tongariro Northern Circuit

16-Jun-21

6-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

512

590

15%

Bednights NZ

4,735

5,261

11%

Bednights Int

569

858

51%

Total Bednights

5,304

6,119

15%

New Zealanders

89%

86%

-4%

International Visitors

11%

14%

31%

Whanganui Journey

16-Jun-21

5-May-22

% change on last yr

Bookings

415

448

8%

Bednights NZ

5,390

5,849

9%

Bednights Int

236

540

129%

Total Bednights

5,626

6,389

14%

New Zealanders

96%

92%

-4%

International Visitors

4%

8%

101%

Total opening day data all Great Walks

2021

2022

% change on last yr

Bookings

13,449

12,399

-8%

Bednights NZ

113,945

102,299

-10%

Bednights Int

13,855

17,825

29%

Total Bednights

127,800

120,124

-6%

New Zealanders

89%

85%

-4%

International Visitors

11%

15%

37%

*Does not include Lake Waikaremoana data. Information on Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk may be requested from the Chief Executive of Te Uru Taumatua.

Top 10 countries for Great Walks bookings (total bookings so far for 2022/23)

Country

Bookings

Percent

Australia

9,706

50.40%

USA

3,375

17.52%

UK

1,304

6.77%

Canada

892

4.63%

Germany

844

4.38%

Netherlands

536

2.78%

Israel

392

2.04%

Belgium

275

1.43%

France

233

1.21%

Ireland

169

0.88%

The top 10 countries make up 92% of all international bookings – the remaining 8% contains 68 different other countries. There were international bookings from 78 countries in total.

Remaining capacity across the Great Walks 1 July 2022 to 30 Jun 2023

Great Walk facility occupancy:

  • Milford Track: 99%
  • Routeburn Track 25% campsites, 90% huts
  • Kepler Track: 3% campsites, 79% huts
  • Paparoa Track: 54% huts
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit: 6% campsites, 43% huts
  • Rakiura Track: 4% campsites, 41% huts
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track: 5% campsites, 40% huts
  • Whanganui Journey: 7% campsites, 31% huts
  • Heaphy Track: 0% campsites, 5% huts

Contact

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Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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