Source: Department of Conservation
Date: 10 May 2021
“DOC manages a huge, world-class network of huts, campsites, cabins and lodges offering people the chance to stay overnight in some of the most scenic spots in Aotearoa,” says DOC Heritage and Visitors Director, Steve Taylor.
“We encourage people to make the most of their fantastic recreation network and visit DOC’s website to secure their spots at a hut or campsite in the coming year.”
“Setting fair, affordable prices for these facilities is an important way for DOC to maintain this network, including the memorable recreation opportunities they provide people, and the natural and cultural heritage surrounding them.”
Price changes for the coming year include differential pricing for international visitors on seven Great Walks, the extension of the use of seasonal pricing, and the introduction of weekend pricing for a small number of DOC’s most high-use huts, says Steve Taylor.
“This year’s changes allow for a more nuanced approach to price-setting and have been designed to improve cost recovery. Many of them offer incentives to visit lesser-known locations or at quieter times to protect places and people’s enjoyment of them. Weekend, seasonal and differential pricing are expected to make a positive difference, but we’ll be monitoring the effectiveness of this approach.”
“These changes have been in the pipeline for several years now and many prices, such as for the Backcountry Hut, haven’t changed for a decade. Although the changes do include some modest price increases (from $1 to $5 per night in most instances), there are still lots of free or lower-cost options. People can visit DOC’s website or visitor centres to find an opportunity to suit their needs.”
Steve Taylor also reminds people to take extra care when heading out over the next few months.
“As we’re entering winter, it’s even more important people check track and weather conditions, pack extra supplies and warm clothing and leave their intentions with a trusted contact.”
Starting tomorrow, online bookings will open for the 2021/22 booking year (July 2021 to 30 June 2022) in stages between 11 to 18 May 2021. Great Walk bookings open between 15 and 17 June 2021.
Bookings opening dates for 2021/22 (from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022)
Non-Great Walk huts campsites and sole occupancy cabins and lodges
- 11 May – Otago huts and campsites
- 13 May – All remaining South Island huts campsites and sole occupancy cabins and lodges (except Tōtaranui Campground)
- May 14 – All North Island huts campsites and sole occupancy cabins and lodges
- May 18 – Tōtaranui Campground, Abel Tasman National Park
- 15 June – Milford, Heaphy and Rakiura tracks
- 16 June – Routeburn, Paparoa and Lake Waikaremoana tracks and Whanganui Journey
- 17 June – Kepler, Tongariro Northern Circuit and Abel Tasman Coast tracks
Note: the Backcountry Hut Pass is now available to be purchased
Price changes for DOC accommodation in 2021/22
- Weekend and seasonal pricing for 11 of the most popular bookable huts outside of the Great Walks, to spread demand and encourage those who have more flexibility to use huts at quieter times.
- A price reset for huts and campsites on the Great Walks introducing shoulder season pricing. This includes both increases and decreases in pricing reflecting the value of the walks.
- The reintroduction of differential pricing with a lower international fee of one and a half times the adult New Zealand rate. This is being applied to seven of the ten Great Walks. An adjusted international youth (11-17 yrs) rate set at half the cost for an international adult is applicable on all the Great Walks except Lake Waikaremoana. The purpose of differential pricing is to:
- improve access to the Great Walks for people ordinarily resident in New Zealand;
- increase the proportion of costs that are received from international users; and
- charge international visitors a fee that more fairly reflects the high value Great Walks offer.
- Price increases for sole occupancy huts, lodges and cabins, to better reflect market rates.
- Price increases for huts on the popular Greenstone-Caples, Travers-Sabine Circuit and Rees-Dart tracks to better reflect the value of those walks and facilities.
- A price increase for the Backcountry Hut Pass and changes to huts it can be used at including making all non-Great Walks huts valid off peak.
Setting prices for DOC accommodation
- Under the Conservation Act DOC is mandated with fostering recreation in conservation areas (including national parks and reserves).
- DOC provides over 900 huts and 300 campsites around New Zealand. Many of these facilities are remote and expensive to maintain costing approximately $46m per annum (excluding DOC accommodation on the Great Walks and the costs of tracks to access them).
- Currently, user charges contribute to only about a quarter of the annual cost. When setting our prices there are a range of considerations including how to ensure a reasonable return for the taxpayer investment, while retaining affordability and access and, where possible, how pricing can help address any environmental impacts from use.
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