Why Greatwalksbooking.com was created

In January 2020, my girlfriend and I went to New Zealand on vacation. We had booked only the essentials in advance. We were adamant - perhaps rather naively - that we should be traveling without a strict itinerary.

We had done some research on New Zealand's Great Walks from home. The Milford Track was fully booked long before we even decided to travel to New Zealand. But most of the other tracks seemed to have plenty of opportunities - even in high season - as long as we booked a couple of weeks in advance. You can probably see where this is going.

Kepler is overwhelmed with bookings due to closure of Milford and Routeburn

February 3rd 2020, severe flooding hit the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring national parks damaging 78 tracks. The Milford and Routeburn Tracks were destroyed meanwhile the Kepler Track remained open. As a result, it was fully booked months ahead almost overnight.

In reality, only Luxmore Hut was fully booked while Irish Burn and Moturau Huts and Campsites had available beds. That left us with three options:

  1. Hike the 28 kilometers from the Control Gates to Irish Burn Hut in one day with over 1,000 meters of ascent and decent.
  2. Book through a travel agency and pay 5-10 times as much.
  3. Do something else.

We later discovered there was a fourth, rather obvious option: Take a heli shuttle to Luxmore Hut! If you have ever been to New Zealand this should not surprise you the least.


I never really gave up on hiking the Kepler Track and after frantically checking for bookings everytime I had a moment to spare for the better part of a week, suddenly there was an opening!

Booking a Great Walk six months in advance is a pain

See, here's the deal. Fully booked only means fully booked right now. Life is unpredictable and even more so in New Zealand. As it turns out, booking six months in advance is not feasible for most people. As a result, people change and cancel their bookings literally every day to account for change of plans, weather conditions, sudden sickness and so on. This frees up bookings that would otherwise be unavailable.

Unfortantely, DOC doesn't provide a waiting list. And this is where Greatwalksbooking.com comes into the picture. It's almost like an unofficial waiting list. You create booking alerts for the Great Walks you're interested in and receive notifications as soon as something becomes available. This increases your chances considerably because you get notified right away, and takes almost all of the hassle out of scouting for available Great Walk bookings - well, you still need to complete the actual booking yourself on DOC's website.

In the end, we managed to also do the Abel Tasman Track, the Tongariro Northern Circuit, and the Wanganui Journey without the use of any booking assistance, so it is possible. But if you're looking to find available bookings for the more popular Great Walks like the Milford Track, the Routeburn Track, and the Kepler Track Greatwalksbooking.com sure does come in handy.