4 May 2019

New Great Walk decision delayed, more work needed - Department of Conservation

6:33 pm on 4 May 2019

The final decision on the country's next Great Walk has been delayed following doubts any of them can assume the premier title.

Falls Hut, Routeburn Track, New Zealand

Falls Hut on the Routeburn Track, one of the Great Walks advertised to tourists. Photo: Dept of Conservation

New Zealand has 10 Great Walks, and the Department of Conservation planned to add a new one this year.

It had three options on its short list - Te Paki Coastal Walk, Queen Charlotte Track and Hump Ridge Track - but a department spokesperson said business cases were being finalised for all three which identified that more work needed to be done to determine if any were able to become Great Walks.

"This work includes ensuring ongoing access over any privately-owned sections of track, management agreements and approaches, and feasibility of bringing tracks up to Great Walk standard."

A more detailed timeframe is expected within the next month.

In October, the government announced a trial of new foreign tourist fees to help the department maintain the Great Walks.

The fee means overseas visitors pay $140 a night for a hut on the Milford track, $130 on the Kepler and Routeburn, and $75 a night on the Abel Tasman track, while New Zealanders pay about half that.

People aged under 18 can stay free of charge.

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