Boom for New Zealand's Great Walks, but Auckland hotels begging for help

Many Kiwis are choosing to go bush for their holidays with the Great Walks swamped by booking requests.

But with the lockdown remaining in Auckland travel is off-limits for a large chunk of the population leaving many hotels high and dry. And they're asking for help.

Spectacular New Zealand scenery is proving to be just as much of a drawcard for locals as it is international tourists.

"[There's] unprecedented demand, all of which - well the majority of which - is Kiwis," says Department of Conservation heritage and visitors director Steve Taylor.

Bookings for New Zealand's 10 Great Walks opened this week - they're already up 47 percent on previous years.

"Within five minutes there'd been 500 bookings and within another five minutes - after 10 minutes - we'd received 1000 bookings," Taylor says.

But on the other side of the same coin hotels are hurting.

"Hoteliers are picking up the phone for more cancellations and to move business out rather than to take new bookings," says NZ Hotel Owners Association executive director Amy Robens.

Unpredictable COVID-19 lockdowns have taken Aucklanders out of the market. That's up to half the country's domestic travellers.

"We really do need some policies and support from Government that's going to help moteliers and other accommodation providers," Robens says.

"We feel we really have been sidestepped from Government and do need some tailored support so we can get through until our international borders open."

Support that's critical to the industry's survival.

"Obviously we have no international visitors so New Zealanders are going to be the ones keeping these businesses going, keeping their fellow Kiwis in jobs," says Tourism Industry Aotearoa spokesperson Ann-Marie Johnson.

For now, Aucklanders are patiently for the opportunity to explore their own country once again.

"We will be heading down to Christchurch and making the most of the domestic tourism on offer because it's bloody good here," one told Newshub.

"We were planning to head down to Rotorua next weekend but that's a bit up in the air at the moment as well depending on what happens," another said.

But it's the entire country that will reap the rewards once restrictions ease.