the no of great walks has been unchanged for years , i think the wanganui river was the last one added, the rest of them have been around for decades...
now all of a sudden they want to add three more and have vastly opened up the areas from what was considered previously
it's all rushed trying to absorb more of the tourist dollar rather than have a carefully thought out experience in a carefully thought out place...
we have some massive national parks that could easily absorb another great walk but they are looking at jamming them in in much smaller parks now with lesser scenic and conservation values.... and uch closer to big populations in areas where a lot of locals are currently using the area extensively and the great walk would add greater competition for space on the track,,, remember you can't camp on a great walk outside of the designated limited camping spaces and the camping spaces are usually a lot less than hut spaces...
i hope labour put a hold on all tese and put some proper consideration and planning into the process and if necessary stop it or throw out the most ill conceived ideas...
a lot of the places on that shortlist are very ill conceived and laughable.., or was that just from a popular public vote? without serious professional consideration?
high nos of foreign tourist are already flocking to fiordland to do the 3 existing great walks there, the area has significant park space, surrounding tracks are getting over run from the overflow and are in need of some regulation, so might as well put two more walks down there to stop ruining the existing over run walks.... locals are avoiding those walks in summer already....
they dont have the high volumes of locals on them year round like some of the other smaller parks closer to large population areas...
of course they cant put a great walk on the TA, it would cause major problems lcashing with the TA walkers who would strugle to book a specific date or struggle to pay for it
DOC have a new press release detailing the shortlist of three walks from which they propose to develop at least one into a great walk.
The shortlisted walks are:
Te Paki Coastal track
Queen Charlotte track
Hump Ridge track
I believe that one of the developed great walks had to be in the North Island, so it seems that Te Paki will be the next great walk after Pike29.
Te Paki has no hut accommodation presently, only camping, so what is decided about huts and their locations, or whether other styles of accommodation (private) are used will be interesting. I walked the track about three years ago and back then there were sections being upgraded to great walk standard. Despite the number of people around at Cape Reinga and the campsites the walk was pretty empty and it was pretty cool walking along beaches and being able to see nobody or even footprints in either direction.
Queen Charlotte and Hump Ridge already have well-established private accommodation (huts/lodges/B&B's) so again it will be interesting whether DOC builds new huts for these walks. Queen Charlottes also passes through private land that you pay a track levy for so how that is dealt with so there is guaranteed access will also be interesting.
The press release also notes that Tarawera Trail and Molesworth Station would be considered for the Great Walks network in the future.
They have always used the language of "at least one". I think they have a fixed pool of $12.something million to play with so if they can get more than one great walk developed with that money then that's great, but if only one great walk could be made then they didn't over-promise and under-deliver...
This post has been edited by the author on 23 August 2018 at 17:09.
I'd be genuinely curious to know if you had some sense of a short-list for any new GW's. And how the general shape of the network might develop over the next decade or so.
Because I don't think we can dig our toes in and pretend to hold back the tide of demand hitting our backcountry. A constructive engagement is the only thing that will serve us in the long-run.
one potential issue on some of the original tracks in the full list they were looking at was that they were going to push out locals from what are popular tracks.
but the list they have now has removed those types of tracks ...
great walks used to only be in national parks, but that seems to have gone by the wayside, so be it..
not sure how hump ridge would work, are DOC going to duplicate the private huts and potentially cut into their business?
how much are they looking at hump ridge to try and soak up the high demand for the great walks tracks in fiordland?
to a certain extent a great walk on the queen charlotte walk will cut into the current accommodation business, unless DOC think they are going to increasing the numbers enough to make up for the huts they would put in place...
in the cape reinga walk, its not cutting into any existing private accommodation businesses, and is likely to attract more trampers with the increasing of the facilities..
the other great walks have grown with the increase in tourism and been around for decades and in the case of the kepler track was made specifically as a great walk from the start...
it gets tricky when you turn existing walks into great walk though when you are potentially displacing people either from the track or from existing businesses..
but the pike29 great walk is largely specially newly constructed as a great walk...
you've got the old ghost rd that is essentially a great walk already been setup with private huts.
This post has been edited by the author on 23 August 2018 at 18:41.
they will have to put new huts in on the queen charlotte, theres at least one long stretch that has no accommodation where it runs along a ridge for 25km where there are two campsites presently.
all great walks have DOC huts on them.
so if they don't put their own huts in then what are great walks now? are they walks that collaborate with third parties to provide infrastructure...
and if that is happening then what are the costs going to be? is it going to be more high cost facilities that benefit only those that have enough $$$ ?
its begging more questions than its answering.
i they have to put the huts on private land then how much money do the landowners want for having the huts on their land?
FMC have just said on their Facebook page that the external advisory committee that they were part of recommended that only Te Paki and Tarawera be put forward as the shortlist and not Queen Charlotte or Hump Ridge. So DOC must have had some pretty compelling reasons for changing the shortlist. Somehow I'll doubt we'll hear about them.
Walk the Te Paki track and enjoy the relative solitude while you still can. Soon enough there will be at least 40 people walking the track each day in each direction. I imagine the existing campgrounds will stay but there will be 2-3 new huts to stay at. Reliable water supplies for the huts might be interesting during the middle of summer...
With regards to the Hump Ridge and Queen Charlotte tracks, I imagine that DOC will follow the same model there is for the Milford and Routeburn tracks where there is a "freedom" walking option and a private guided walking option. Both the Hump Ridge and Queen Charlotte already have well-established private accommodation. I have concerns that the Queen Charlotte will end up like the Abel Tasman track as it has so many access points via both land (roads) and sea (boats and kayaks).
I remember when the Kepler is being built, the reasoning was that it would reduce some of the pressure on the Routeburn and Milford tracks by providing another option. What happened instead was that everyone decided that were now three walks to complete. I get the feeling adding these additional great walks will simply have the same effect.
Thinking about this has got me feeling a bit blue. I'm off for a weekend tramp in the hills where fortunately, no great walks are shortlisted...
a lot of the popularity of abel tasman is that it's the beach bumbs park in a region with lots of good beaches, its a shorter trip along the length of the track there than it is on queen charlotte...
most people going to abel tasman are going for a day. q charlotte track sucks for beaches, they are almost all stoney except the odd accommodation place thats brougt in sand to construct small beaches. is twice the length and a lot hillyer and it gets pretty hard in the summer heat for anyone who doesnt have some fitness. some sections have a lot less people on them, one section has no overnight roofed accommodation for 35k and its very hilly..
i dont see queen charlotte ending up as another abel tasman.