Those new Great Walks
Also on the new Great Walks, I queried DOC about the apparent lack of direct public consultation for where the new Great Walks are going. The process is published at http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/2017/selecting-new-great-walks/ The public was asked for ideas, but that's about the end of it. An external evaluation panel picks a bunch of the ideas, submitters get to submit a fuller proposal, and then the external evaluation panel chooses between them. According to http://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2018/new-great-walks-initial-submissions/ , the panel is made from FMC, the NZRA, DOC, and FOUR separate tourism entities. (Tourism NZ, NZ Maori Tourism, Air New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa!) It's not like they can put Great Walks anywhere without at least some people having issues, but IMHO there should at least be an opportunity for the public to submit on the full proposals before the external evaluation panel makes its final decision. When I queried DOC, the response wasn't promising. It reads as if they hadn't really thought of that, or didn't want to think of it, and that at best they'll consider something like it when this happens in future. > As you are aware we have recently run a public engagement process to identify potential walks that could be added to our Great Walks network. This process saw us inviting initial proposals for walks to be assessed by an external independent panel and discussed with iwi. > Community support forms part of the criteria to select new Great Walks and any impact on communities and current walkers will be considered with each application. We hope to invite community feedback to allow members of the public to have their say on potential new walks in the near future. > We are currently working with the new Minister of Conservation to confirm the approach to the next phase, and the timing of further decisions. Once this has been done, the next steps and decisions will be communicated and we will look to invite feedback from the public. If you're concerned about this, and where the Great Walks might be placed by a bunch of tourism entities if others on the panel don't have reason to question it, I think it's important to write to the Minister of Conservation ASAP and express concern that there's no opportunity in the process to comment on the proposals. She's probably the best bet in getting the process adapted to enable more public input.
Holdworth Kaitoke is already heavily advertised as a cheap alternative to a great walk overseas. Totora flats last weekend had 33 in a 28 bunk hut and a third were from overseas. It may not be the most spectacular or best track conditions or most challenging but its already working as hard as the Milford was 50 years ago.
It's funny I wanted to get away from it all one day so headed to Neill forks for the night, arriving at dusk, I found to my surprise a full hut. Bugger I thought and headed back over cone ridge. I turned up at Totora flats hut after dark and found no one there. So I stayed there the night and had it all too myself. It's quite weird staying in one of those types of huts by yourself.
holdsworth rd end to atiwhakatu hut the track is already great walk standard. same from the road end up to powell hutt. theres a running race around the holdsworth jumbo circuit, the best runners do it in around two hours... and theres a new high spec hut going to replace the existing powell hut.
The alpine parts of ther Tararuas cant compete with fiordland so I doubt an alpine great walk in Tararuas is likely. For lowland tramping though The Shoreman/Holdsworth Kaitoke has a few features not found in the other great walks although parts of the scenery are heavily modified ie totora flats was fully logged 100 or so years ago. Ruahines is where we should be pushing for great walks. That way someone might fix the access issues
I think that a GW in the Tararuas is highly unlikely for the reasons given above. Even if it was, the posters here probably wouldnt be going anywhere near the Lord-of-the-Rings-Nice-Easy-River-Valley-Walk experience those GW walkers would be getting. Plus, its a bloody huge area - its not like those of us in there who are after the backcountry experience will get crowded out by tourists.
remember they tried to put a new track through the upper otaki wilderness area to the TA, you've got the TA going along the ridge where some of the huts are small
Like Nicholls. That is a fantastic hut up in the tarry tops. It's a remote out of the way spot, in a fantastic location. But the t.a. Walkers have really ruined it. The hut book is full of the bemoaning the fact that they arrive cold and tired and there is no firewood. Ironically they use it all up and leave nothing behind. Not a single piece of leatherwood. They leave no newspaper or matches. No candles or anything. It's barren in that hut. It's soul stripped. But worst off they have tainted the remote out of the way feeling of this hut. As far as I'm concerned they can walk the highway from Palmy to Wellington. It's no skin off my back.
tararua tops are no place for novices in bad weather. the other year two people died up there
I'd think a Tararua Great Walk was unlikely, except that tourism interests are driving this. Those interests have concerns about many things other than great experiences for tourists. A big and very immediate problem for the tourism industry has been with figuring out how to spread out the tourists so the load covers less popular seasons, and also a wider part of NZ than specific concentrated places which are struggling to cope. Greenstone/Caples might be a more obvious Great Walk, but it's really just inviting more and more people to fly into Queenstown and go nowhere else. Tourists are already there, and they can already walk Greenstone/Caples whether it's a Great Walk or not (infrastructure can be adjusted if needed), so adding yet another Great Walk in that region doesn't necessarily do much for that problem. The Tararua valley walks don't seem very touristy in tramping terms, but might be highlighted because there's already some quite good infrastructure. That makes a transition rapid and relatively easy. Screw the families and other local users. To a tourism executive, the infrastructure looks under-utilised when you could apply some marketing which tells people it's a unique visit, and make sure the tracks and huts are packed full of people every weekday and every weekend, with little extra cost. And if that doesn't happen then it's not been much risk. The NZ experience isn't about seeing the best and most fantastic things in NZ any more. It's about being convinced that that's what you're seeing, even if it's thanks to the high tens of millions of dollars which the NZ government spends on marketing every year. The concept of Great Walks being about appropriate management for places where lots of people want to go is vanishing. It's been a brand for some years now, and has become a marketing juggernaut which is as much about shunting people to where the tourism industry wants them to be as about managing those people once they've arrived.
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
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