The opening of the Grandes Marches 2022-23 season heralds 30 years of adventures

The opening of the 2022-23 Great Walks booking season next week heralds 30 years of epic backyard adventures across the country, said Conservation Minister Kiri Allan.

Speaking from the Tongariro North Circuit, the Minister acknowledged the importance of the Great Walks to conservation, recreation and tourism in New Zealand and how they are a legacy for generations of New Zealanders to come.

“The outdoors and nature are an integral part of our identity as New Zealanders and the origins of these walks reflect this.

Over the years I have spent many, many hours walking and spending the night on these walks. It allowed me to take the time to simply be and discover and connect with the magnificence that is our backyard.

“The Great Walks are New Zealand’s most popular multi-day hikes, offering unparalleled access to some of the country’s most incredible natural landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage.

“These immersive nature experiences have become a popular calling card for domestic and international visitors, supporting nearby communities. next season we look forward to welcoming foreign visitors again on these walks.

“You don’t have to embark on a multi-day trek to enjoy this country’s remarkable landscapes and heritage. Wander through history, camp by the ocean, explore an island – find your own path in nature,” said Kiri Allan.

The Great Walks were created in 1992, to manage iconic tracks that were becoming overwhelmed with hikers camping anywhere near the track. The protections put in place on Great Walks include limiting numbers through a booking service for a set number of cabin and camping spaces, limits on concessionaire activities and introducing regulations that force people to stay in designated cabins and campsites.

Efforts have also been stepped up to protect and restore biodiversity along these walks in partnership with mana whenua – iwi, hapū and whānau, community groups and businesses – including a 10-year partnership with Air New Zealand which invests in six major Great Walks biodiversity projects.

“Through these conservation efforts, we have seen huge gains such as restored takahē on the Heaphy Track and 43,000 hectares of sustained predator control along six of the walks,” said Kiri Allan.

She reminded those looking to secure a spot on the network in the upcoming season to prepare before bookings open.

“It pays to do your homework and find out which Great Walk is best for you and your group before booking. It’s also important to know what physical fitness, skills and equipment are needed, the conditions expected track and weather conditions, and how to limit your impact on the environment.

“There are many ways to experience a Great Walk. You can hike, run, bike or paddle; camp or stay in a cabin; do it all or just part of it. Whatever you choose is an experience you will never forget.”

(With contributions from the New Zealand government press release)

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