If you're looking to visit and hike in New Zealand anytime soon, no doubt you already know plenty about our Great Walks. These 10 routes are New Zealand's most treasured that hundreds of visitors every year head out on. Although the views, experiences, and journey when out there put them into legendary status in the hiking world, there are things you need to know before booking.
In this article, we discuss everything about booking a Great Walk and why we believe it's a Bushman you should be heading out with.
What Great Walks do Bushman Tours offer?
- 4 days and 3 nights
- 3 days and 2 nights
- 4 days and 3 nights
- 3 days and 2 nights
Tongariro (Northern Circuit)
- 3 or 4 day options
- 3 days and 2 nights
Why don't you do all the Great Walks?
Not all the Great Walks are suitable for our Bushmen & women. Many can be done on your own or, they're simply too busy and book up within minutes (like The Milford).
We believe personal connection and secret treasures should be part of your experience with us while out on the track, and we believe it's the right Bushman who contributes to that. If you're looking at a route we don't offer, you can still get in touch with us for some advice or even to book transport and food with our support.
What is the process of booking over the busy periods?
The bookings for the Great Walk tracks align to when DOC allows you to book a hut pass for the high season. These are all different dates and times. You cannot stay in a hut or camp without a hut pass. Due to demand from other visitors, the busy period (Christmas & New Years) sells out within one day most years.
The 2019 booking openings for these tracks are:
- Heaphy Track - Tuesday 11 June, 9.30 am
- Milford Track - Tuesday 11 June, 9.30 am
- Routeburn Track - Wednesday 12 June, 9.30 am
- Paparoa Track - Wednesday 12 June, 9.30 am
- Tongariro Northern Circuit - Thursday 13 June, 9.30 am
- Kepler Track - Thursday 13 June, 9.30 am
- Abel Tasman - Thursday, 13 June, 9.30 am
- Rakiura - Friday 14th June, 9.30 am
- Lake Waikaremoana - Friday 14 June, 9.30 am
- Whanganui Journey - Friday 14 June, 9.30 am
To book a trip with a Bushman for these busy periods, you must put a deposit down for the hut for us to secure your spot.
We will then attempt to book your hut passes for you on the selected dates (these are subject to availability). If we cannot book your selected dates, we will offer another date, or return your deposit for your huts minus any credit card or payment fees that Bushman Tours incur.
Once the hut pass is confirmed, we will seek full payment of your booking within 14 days of this. If you can't pay or wish to cancel, you will lose your deposit (this would have already been transferred to DOC who do not do refunds).
If you do not have the required amount for your deposit, you can leave your details with us and we'll put you onto a waiting list if we believe tickets may come available. You can register for this by contacting us now.
Secure your place with a deposit
Only those who have paid a deposit for the huts or a full total of the booking will have their place secured. We will attempt to purchase the tickets through DOC on your behalf and should they go through, you will be emailed with a confirmation of this. To secure this opportunity, you must book your trip now with the deposit mentioned in the checkout.
Remember, other organizations and keen hikers will also be looking to book their huts for the summer period - places are extremely limited.
How much does it cost to book a Great Walk?
It is common for touring agencies to put their prices up in the High Season. Bushman Tours does not do this. We charge our usual rate for a Bushman (which varies depending on hike length) and then whatever the costs are for food and transport.
We keep our costs down because we don't own any huts or lodges on the routes, we haven't bought loads of gas-guzzling vans or 4x4's, we don't rent out all the gear and we take small cuts from bookings. Therefore, the base price of booking a trip with us is very low.
The costs will rise when booking your DOC huts. Recently, DOC announced they were putting up the prices to tourists on some Great Walks to help with conservation efforts. Unfortunately, the Milford Track is now $420 just for huts, while their transport gets to $223 per person.
Although this seems a lot, remember, you will not find a hotel with better views in New Zealand at that price.
Other costs added on will be the travel to and from the track for those that are not loop tracks. You may also wish for us to arrange your food for you, although we keep these costs very low, it may be worth organising yourself.
What gear and food will I need for this trip?
Your minimum requirement of gear is standard for these multi-day trips and is mentioned in our Terms & Conditions. You will also be sent these via your itinerary when you book. We can help arrange extra gear should you be without.
We also have a recommended level of food and this will also be shared. Your Bushman will check all this before leaving for the trip. If it is deemed you do not have enough, they may cancel the trip for safety reasons. Please ensure you check your gear.
For more on this, visit a previous article.
What if I want to change my booking and/or Great Walk?
If this happens to you, we advise that you contact us right away. We may be able to get you another hut ticket if they have not sold out. However, this is all dependant on when a Bushman is available to take you out as well. There are many walks around New Zealand including new ones like the Paparoa Track. Perhaps considering something different is an option?
If it sells out, are there any other options?
We have plenty of tracks with Bushman Tours that we consider "Great Walk worthy". These tracks are as long, as epic and provide the same experience as any other Great Walk. The best thing? They are significantly cheaper! If you're interested in this, we would recommend starting with the Wangapeka.
Now is the time to book and register
Agencies around the country are taking interest and registrations now. Bushman Tours already have visitors registering and putting deposits down for the tracks in December. If you want to be heading out on these over the summer period in 2019/2020, now is the time to book.
Remember, tracks like the Milford only allow 40 people a day to head out, in one direction! These are in demand.