National promises fee hikes for tourists on Great Walks

Fees for international visitors will be doubled on some of New Zealand's Great Walks tracks, National's conservation spokeswoman has announced.

Maggie Barry said that from 2018, the fee on the Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, Able Tasman, and Tongariro tracks will be doubled if National is re-elected. Fees for the other tracks and hut passes will be increased by fifty percent.

Fees will remain unchanged for New Zealanders.

The policy would see tourist fees for Abel Tasman huts increase from $38 per person per night to $76 per person per night during the peak season. 

For the Milford track, tourist fees for huts would increase from $70 per person per night to $140 per person per night during the peak season. 

There will also be new charges applied to the Paparoa Track once it's completed, as well as two new Great Walks that National would introduce if re-elected.

All tourists under the age of 17 would be charged 50 percent of the adult rate to use the huts, but it would remain free for New Zealanders under 17. 

Ms Barry said the charges will generate an extra $4 million in annual revenue, which will go towards funding Department of Conservation programmes.

"The extra revenue will ensure the Great Walks continue to be a world-class experience for visitors and New Zealanders - and provide additional resources to protect native species like the kea, kiwi and kokako," Ms Barry said. 

New Zealand's Great Walks: 

  • Lake Waikaremoana, East Coast
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit, Central North Island
  • Whanganui Journey, Manawatu/Whanganui 
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track, Nelson/ Tasman
  • Heaphy Track, Nelson/ Tasman
  • Routeburn Track, Otago
  • Kepler Track, Fiordland 
  • Milford Track, Fiordland 
  • Rakiura Track, Southland 
  • Paparoa and Pike Memorial track, West Coast (Under construction, opening in 2019)