Southland’s 61 km Hump Ridge Track is set to be New Zealand’s next Great Walk the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today in Tuatapere, Southland.
“This will be a fantastic addition to New Zealand’s Great Walks network. The Track provides access to a spectacular southern coastline and forests, dramatic alpine tops and historic viaducts. Hump Ridge offers the walker remote and unforgettable beauty and history,” says Eugenie Sage
“This is a significant investment in Southland tourism and the Tuatapere community. Great Walk status can draw more visitors to this beautiful part of the country.”
“Great Walks showcase some of the best parts of our country and are a great way to enable more people to enjoy and be inspired by nature to help protect it.
“The Department of Conservation will now work with the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Trust to bring the walk up to Great Walk standard and change it from a current two night walk to a three night experience. Approximately $5 million of funding is dedicated to the upgrade.”
The Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Trust to progress this work. The new Great Walk will be set to open in late 2022 after the track upgrades are complete.
Hump Ridge Track is one of three finalist walks (the other two being Te Paki Coastal Track and Queen Charlotte Track) identified through DOC’s search for potential Great Walks, which began in 2017 with a call for public nominations.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the proponents for all three tracks.
“DOC will also continue its work in the far north to progress plans for what is currently Te Paki Coastal Track, becoming a Great Walk.
“Te Paki Coastal Track showcases a highly significant part of Aotearoa,”
“The cultural value attributed to some iconic locations along the track would arguably exceed those found across other major tracks in New Zealand.
“It is clear, however, that this experience can only be truly ‘great’ if it is founded on a strong and meaningful partnership with iwi and is looked at as part of a considered and strategic vision for sustainable tourism development in the region,” she said.
The decision has been made not to progress with Queen Charlotte Track due to insurmountable challenges around surety of permanent public access across all sections of the track.
“Queen Charlotte is a fantastic and highly popular track already achieving great results for the region. DOC will continue to support the work of the landowners, commercial operators, Marlborough District Council, iwi and community that has made this track the success it is today.”
“Te Paki, Queen Charlotte and Hump Ridge are all phenomenal walks making the decision a tough one”