I am planning to walk the great walk coastal track with my young family next March, and see online that campsites must be booked. Ive never done a "great walk Track" before and am a bit apprehensive about what we are in for. Are we merging like a zip onto a walk with hundreds of people? If we turn up to a campsite is it brimming full of tents? And stern DOC rangers?And nowhere to turn? What are the possibilities / realities of camping off the track in this parks terrain(adereing to the 500m away from the track bylaw)? We usually seek not so popular places so would love a heads up on what to expect. Thank you. I guess calling DOC may help too.
Thanks for that . We aren't looking for solitude but am trying to combine a few tramps staying in tents in the top of the south for 2 weeks. My other plans were up the Cobb valley and also via there to the tops around lake Sylvester. Our kids are 6 and 8 and are getting more and more capable as time goes on but we don't want to push them too much in terms of hours per day. Its definitely a budget trip for us as well so free camping is a preference. We are from Taranaki and going to the south island is a big deal for us and the kids. Thats why i was trying to combine a coastal trip with a mountain and mountain valley experience. weather permitting of course. Any other ideas are welcome , please, thanks. We were familiar with many areas of Nelson/ Marlborough. Pre kids we spent a fair bit of time in the Richmond park and Kahurangi. We were hunters more than trampers then, and stayed well away from the popular tracks. Ive been on google earth and have seen that scrubby steep bush you mention waynowski. It may prove too much of a challenge at the end of the day to find bush tent sites away from the main track.
Cobb Valley is also very popular (but not in the same league as the AT). Fenella hut is a good spot but no campsites (well, a small one near the woodshed). Cobb hut is better for campsites, as are the Tent camp and Chaffey hut.
Directly above Fenella, there is a good campsite on the Lockett tops.
You can also head up to/past Cobb Lake to Round Lake, then up to Mt Gibbs and back down around the bottom of Xenicus .... some climbs that would test youngsters but you can break it into 2 days.
Sylvester hut has good camping too and the tops are very accessible although it's a sharp climb, for little legs, from Iron Lake.
that looks very nice on the Lockett tops . thanks for the pic. Definately great options up that way.I talked to Doc today and the guy said that all the huts and most campsites were booked until end of April this year by november last year on the AT walk. I can see how the booking system would enhance the experience on such a popular walk. Times have changed and I'm getting to grips with it.