You’ll still hear mostly Kiwi accents on the tracks in this upcoming season of Great Walks.
While this will be the first year since the 2019/20 season that the borders have been opened to international visitors, Kiwis continue to make up the majority of accommodation bookings on the Great Walks.
Reservations for the 2022-2023 season, which starts in July, opened last week. According to opening day booking data provided by the Department of Conservation (DOC), New Zealanders accounted for 85% of all overnight stays, international visitors – mostly from Australia, followed by the US and United Kingdom – making up the remaining 15. hundred.
However, DOC heritage and visitor director Tim Bamford said they expect those numbers to change as the season progresses.
* Great Walks: Milford Track sells out in three minutes
* Great Walks: Rush bookings for Milford Track
* Great Walk booking cancellations double
“While we don’t expect a return to pre-Covid numbers, we do expect overseas bookings to increase a bit over the course of the season – often filling weekdays or off-peak hours,” a he declared.
Cabin bookings on the Milford Track have sold out in three minutes this year, setting a new record. Kiwis accounted for 79% of reservations on the famous Fiordland market.
Accommodation on the Routeburn and Kepler lanes had also filled quickly, with 90% and 79% occupancy respectively.
But there was still “plenty of space” to book a Great Walk this year, Bamford said.
“Rakiura, Abel Tasman and Heaphy are all good options and can be ridden all year round,” he said.
“Camping is available along eight of the Great Walks, for those who are keen and able. Camping is a cheaper option and offers space for groups, as well as nighttime quiet and privacy.
Data from the DOC showed that operators, companies and agents accounted for 1.4% of all Great Walks bookings.
“These represent a small percentage of bookings and should be made the same way the rest of us book – online when bookings open with valid walker names and contacts,” Bamford said. .