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Hking / Trekking in New Zealand -Book in advance???

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1. Posted by _winston_ (Budding Member 13 posts) 7y

Hello everybody!

I am planning on goint to New Zealand for a month or so in February...but I'm on a strict budget so I have to make it cheap.. 30 US a day kind of...
Any advice???

Anyeway, a thing I'd really want to do is to go trekking with a tent and triangia...is this possible?
1. Do the national parks allow camping?
2. Do you have to pay entrance?

3. Do you have to pay entrance fee?

And most importantly...
4. Do you have to buy/book entrance to the parks/walking tracks far in advance? I've heard from some people that it's "impossible" to just turn up and go hiking for three days, then chill at a hostel and then gop somewhere else to do some walking etc...

Thanks a lot if you can answer some of my questions!
=)

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 7y

Quoting _winston_

I am planning on goint to New Zealand for a month or so in February...but I'm on a strict budget so I have to make it cheap.. 30 US a day kind of...
Any advice???

That's a pretty reasonable budget for New Zealand. Sleep in dorm rooms in hostels, buy supermarket food to cook your own meals (all hostels have great kitchens), and travel by bus (or look on hostel notice boards for those with cars who'd like to take along passengers willing to share in fuel costs) and you should stay within that budget relatively easy. By going camping you should easily dip below it most days, which should allow you to splurge on others. (It also helps that the US dollar is really strong compared to the New Zealand dollar at the moment.)

Before I answer your following questions, for information on national parks and hiking, you'll generally want to look at the website of the Department of Conservation (DOC), which administers all national parks and trails in New Zealand, and provides generally excellent information. (They also have visitor centers in most of the National Parks, where they advice you about the current status of all trails, weather conditions, and so on.)

1. Do the national parks allow camping?

Most National Parks allow camping, but only at designated campgrounds. There's usually an "honesty box" to pay a minimal ($5/night) fee for the camping. There's frequently also DOC administered huts (from the most basic wind-shelter up to hostel-quality accommodation), with varying fees, some of which are staffed, and some of which require a reservation to be made beforehand to be able to stay there on a specific night.
There are no entrance fees for the national parks themselves.

4. Do you have to buy/book entrance to the parks/walking tracks far in advance? I've heard from some people that it's "impossible" to just turn up and go hiking for three days

New Zealand has a number of so-called "Great Walks"; specific multi-day hikes which are generally seen as the most beautiful (or at least the most popular) in the country (all the famous ones like the Milford track, the Kepler track, etc fall in this category). Numbers of hikers are strictly limited on just those hikes (for several of them because you can only overnight in DOC huts, but even on those where camping is allowed the number is restricted to limit damage to the environment due to too many humans passing through), there's a fee for walking them, and bookings need to be made in advance during high season, frequently filling up weeks to months ahead of time (e.g. you're probably already too late to book most of them for this February).

There's loads of other regular hikes which are nearly as good, though, and which can be done without needing to book anything in advance, so it shouldn't be too great a loss that you can't do those Great Walks.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 7, 2009, at 1:02 PM by Sander ]

3. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 7y

NZ$30 a day is fine, US$30 is great.

when I was there the next open date for the Milford track was six months away.