The tracks are maintained to a high standard, making it easier for visitors to explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand's back country. Huts are conveniently located, comfortable, well-equipped, and high capacity. These tracks are heavily promoted, and very popular with overseas visitors — so there is no escaping the crowds on most of the Great Walks: bring a sociable attitude and ear plugs. Privately run guided walks are available along many of the tracks.

Sunset at Heaphy Hut • By ellaleah. Licence: C.


Bookings and fees apply to huts and campsites on the Great Walks. There are no restrictions or fees for day use of the tracks.

Huts on some tracks are serviced with wardens, flush toilets, heating, gas for cooking, and other comforts.

Great Walks season

During the Great Walks season, tracks and facilities are provided to a "Great Walks" standard. Bookings are required. Lowland tracks have a year-round Great Walks season, while alpine tracks have a shorter season.

Winter season

Tracks are not suitable for inexperienced trampers outside the Great Walks season. Alpine sections may be impassible in winter. Hazards include avalanche risk, snow conditions, and dangerous river crossings.

Lowland day or overnight walks from track ends can be a good choice during winter.

During the winter season, bookings are unavailable, but DOC backcountry hut tickets are used to pay for huts. Facilities at huts are reduced, and some bridges may be removed due to avalanche risk. Huts may have no fuel for heating.


The walks

Great Walk Features Length Great Walks season
Lake Waikaremoana, North Island Lake, forest 3-4 days, 46km All year
Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island Volcanic landscape 3-4 days, 43.1km Late October to late April
Whanganui Journey, North Island Kayak journey, Māori culture 5 days, 145km All year
Abel Tasman Coast, South Island​ Golden beaches, coastline 3-5 days, 54.4km All year
Heaphy, South Island​ Palm beaches, tussock downs 4-6 days, 82km All year
Routeburn, South Island​ Alpine scenery 2-4 days, 32km Late October to late April
Milford, South Island​ Fiords, alpine scenery 4 days, 53.5km Late October to late April
Kepler, South Island​ Lake, alpine scenery 3-4 days, 60km Late October to late April
Rakiura, Stewart Island​​ Forest, birdlife 3 days, 32km All year
Old Routeburn Falls Hut 1989 • By martin.steffen.

Check the Department of Conservation web site for details and to book online:


Huts on Great Walks are fitted with bunks or platforms with mattresses, drinking water, toilet, heating facilities and fuel. Cooking facilities may be available, although these may be in heavy demand. Wardens may be present in summer. Cooking utensils and other bedding are not provided. Wardens do not sell food or other products: trampers must be fully prepared.

Designated campsites provide water, sinks and toilets, and may have cooking shelters. They do not have cooking facilities. Unlike other tracks, there are charges for camping. Free camping is prohibited within 500m of any Great Walk track, or within 1km of the Milford Track. There are no campsites on the Milford Track.

Shelters on the Great Walks are provided for emergencies or for sitting out inclement weather, for lunch breaks, and as support for camping areas. Overnight use is generally prohibited except in emergencies.