12 Jun 2019

Milford Track huts booked out in minutes for summer

From First Up, 5:48 am on 12 June 2019

Hut bookings for the Milford track walking season 2019/2020 have booked out in a number of minutes.

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Photo: Supplied / DoC / Graham Dainty

The site went live at 9:30am on Tuesday and within minutes bookings for the 70 beds in huts along the track were full for December and January.

"They are very, very popular. What we see those peak periods like the summer, the Christmas period and public holidays, you really do need to be in quickly in order to get those tickets" said the Department of Conservation's director of heritage and visitors, Steve Taylor,

"The Great Walk tracks are an opportunity really for people of a range of abilities to access some fantastic outdoor experience."

There has also been a rise in the number of New Zealand residents booking to walk the tracks.

DoC says the number of Kiwis booking has risen since last year and credits it to a "different pricing trial in place on four of the Great Walks".

The Milford, Kepler, Routeburn and Abel Tasman Coast Tracks all have a special price for International visitors which is up to double the fees New Zealand residents will pay.

"As a result of the pricing changes we've seen a high number of NZ visitors, we've increased booking from 42 percent New Zealanders up to 54 percent on some of the tracks, a significant increase."

"We've seen an increase in the number of visitors generally," Mr Taylor said. "More importantly we've seen a high number now of New Zealanders coming in and visiting these great walks and enjoying the experience."

"It's been a very successful trial in the last year where we've looked at the pricing of the Great walks, international and New Zealand visitors and we're trying to reach a point there, where we're encouraging New Zealanders in but we're also ensuring the international visitors are paying their fair share of those experiences."

DoC says the numbers of visitors to each track has been capped to ensure the quality of the experience is maintained.

Mr Taylor said there are systems in place to stop scalpers and 'speculative bookings.'

Visitors are checked at huts on the track, "we also do a check to make sure the names and nationalities that people have relied on to make these bookings are accurate."

"It has been hugely successful" said Mr Taylor. "The high satisfaction rates we're seeing from visitors, these experiences, the fact that were able to maintain them at level that are sustainable and minimising the impact on the environment at the same time at the same time we're ensuring that the costs of delivering these experiences aren't being paid for entirely by New Zealanders."

Further bookings for the Great Walk tracks are being released this week and are expected to be popular, Mr Taylor says, 'If it's anything like previous seasons you'll need to be in quick."


Bookings for the tracks will come out on the following days:

Routeburn Track & Paparoa Track 
Wednesday 12th June 2019, 9.30am

Abel Tasman Coast Track, Tongariro Northern Circuit & Kepler Track
Thursday 13th June 2019, 9.30am

Rakiura Track, Whanganui Journey & Lake Waikaremoana Track 
Friday 14th June, 9.30am