No plans to increase accomodation on popular Great Walks

The Routeburn and Kepler tracks both went from $54 to $65 per night for the 2017/18 season.

The Routeburn and Kepler tracks both went from $54 to $65 per night for the 2017/18 season.

The Department of Conservation has no plans to increase accommodation on the Great Walks in the south despite a growing number of users.

On Wednesday the Great Walk season came to an end, the same day the department announced a price increase for the huts on seven of the nine Great Walks. 

The Milford Track has the highest increase, from $54 to $70 per night, during the peak season, while the Routeburn and Kepler tracks have both increased from $54 to $65 per night.

DOC Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind said some people would be concerned about the rise but it [the Milford Track] was still a "pretty cheap" trip.

"It's one of the finest multi-day walks in the world."

When the bookings open for the next season on May 17 Lind expected it would sell out again in a few hours.

There were no plans in place to increase the amount of accommodation on the tracks, Lind said.

Any direction to expand would have to come through the Fiordland National Park Management Plan, he said.

The public would have to be consulted before any increase in numbers, he said.

The department did not want to increase numbers to generate more money it was focussed on creating a quality experience, Lind said.

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This season had been relatively incident free with no major weather events.

The last day on the Milford track had been busy though with 400ml of rain overnight flooding the last part of the track from Dumpling Hut to the boat pick up, Lind said.

The last group of trampers had to be taken out by helicopter, he said.

The Routeburn track was not far behind the Milford with over 90 percent capacity during the season. 

More visitors had chosen to walk the Routeburn in a day, a 32km trip, which Lind attributed to the track being in good condition.





 - Stuff


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