a lot of it is seasonal in a lot of places, but you have to know when it gets quiet.
i've done the tongariro crossing recently in winter, hardly anyone about in good weather.
same with abel tasman in winter, theres still a fair number of people around but its not crowded, certainly not as much as summer,
come summer you have to cherry pick where you go if you want to escape the crowds.
i have some tramping partners who happen to prefer the higher quality huts and don't like cold weather, which limits my options when i'm tramping with them
Plenty of places to go, that will be unlikely to have anyone else there
But they are reducing. So long as the big huts etc don't extend into more 'remote' places, its not a problem, to me. I never stay on the great Walks, booked huts, high use places anyway. No desire to. Plenty of good scenery, more challenge off the flash tracks.
cant really see the point of using the highways. its not tramping
Some people I know are just camping out now to avoid having to share a hut, they find the behaviours so challenging and you are so much closer to nature in all its moods and charms when you camp plus having flexibility for when and where you can stop. Sometimes I spy a lovely campsite on my hut-based trips and then come back and camp there on a future trip. Frank and I have a few nice campsites we always return to. One is in Whare Stream near the Pinchgut Hut and another is on Waharoa Saddle where the kiwis run about at night (over Frank once!).
There are still numerous huts which see few if any tourists. Sometimes huts only a few hours walk from popular tourist trails are empty much of the summer.
It was only a year or so back that DOC was removing huts because they do not see enough use!
If only the Tourism Board could channel all these visitors to certain underutilised areas of bush. Would love to see foreign tourists beating more substantial foot-trails through the scrub and leatherwood of the northern Tararuas and southern Ruahines. Any chance of making Mt Ross a must see destination?
Just for fun I just looked at Able Tasman National park on the topo map. Apart from the most crowded great walk of all there are very few other marked tracks. Is this due to access or is the rest of the park boring ?
hardly anyone goes on the inland track. the park attracts tourists, boats and beach bums mainly, and theres far better inland offerings in neighbouring parks that get better use and need maintaining..
the bush is mainly scrubby regrowth in Abel tasman, it was largely cleared for farming, lots of Manuka.. far nicer bush elsewhere.
the coastal track costs a fortune to maintain as it is, there wont be any budget to develop much else, and theres no point putting basic marker only tracks inland, you don't want the novice tourists using those..
they post laughable times on the inland tracks, you can easily take 40% off the times and cut them in half if you're really fit. they are obviously posted for novices to put them off.
mind you you can cut the coastal track times just about in half too.
Yea I've done the inland track at Abel Tasman. I remember that parts fo the track at the Marahau end are quite nice - with great views - but then you are buried in bush for 2 days and you dont see squat - plus as Waynowski notes - the bush is nothing to write home about. It is very quiet however - thats a plus. And the huts are very cool - old-school NZ huts - unlike the mega-structures on the coastal track.