Last year I spoke with a journalist from New York who had flown in to walk the Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s newest trail. What impressed him most was the scale of the project. There simply wasn’t another country he’d visited that took so much pride in making its outdoors accessible. Twenty-five years in the making, this 56km memorial hike was the toast of international tourism.
But “Great Walk number 10” is just one of our country’s many national hikes. By the Department of Conservation’s own count there are more than 1000 trails across conservation land, any of which could be considered a “great”, given the right conditions and footwear.
Undeniably this is the time to bag a Great Walk. The Routeburn or the Tongariro will be almost without crowds. But when DoC opens its huts for booking this month, it will also be a chance to visit some of the less-well-trodden parts of the country. Plan your route, tread lightly and travel well.
Off the beaten path
Te Paki Coastal Trail
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