20 years of Great Walks

23:13, Nov 19 2012
Winton Rotary Club volunteers
Winton Rotary Club volunteers at work on the North Arm Hut, Rakiura Track.
Trampers
Trampers enjoy historic relics along the Rakiura Track.
Lee Bay
Walkers read interpretation panels at Lee Bay, Rakiura Track.
Rakiura track
Trampers enjoy historic relics along the Rakiura Track.

The Rakiura Track on Stewart Island celebrates 20 years as a great walk this week.

Stewart Island/Rakiura Field Centre supervisor Sharon Pasco is effusive about the popularity of the Great Walk.

"Over the years it's been great to see the track develop. Since we have been included in the nation-wide booking system, lots more people have been coming to the island and enjoying walking the track."

"It's wonderful to see families and groups of visitors here and the big advantage is, they can do the walk at any time of year."

New interpretation panels have been installed at the Rakiura Great Walk huts and sites along the way. These panels offer walkers a taste of the unique history of the area and reveal how, over several centuries, rich natural resources have drawn humans here.

Numbering nine in total country-wide, the Great Walks draw thousands of domestic visitors and international tourists annually. Last summer, over 2700 people walked the Rakiura Track, with almost half of these being New Zealanders.

To mark the anniversary, the Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre is giving away track certificates to the first 50 people to complete the walk.

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The Southland Times