New Zealand Great Walks are the top nine multi-day walks in the country, as designated by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. As such, they all offer overnight accommodation through the duration of the walk, and can be undertaken either independently, or as a Guided Walk. Both categories of walk have to be pre-booked, and there is a considerable difference in the facilities, support, and price.
Independent Great Walks are operated by the Department of Conservation, and Lodge accommodation generally consists of dormitory-style sleeping arrangements, kitchen facilities, a lounge area, toilets, and in some cases, showers. In high season, the lodges are usually staffed by a DOC ranger. You carry all your sleeping equipment and food with you, and nightly fees on the Abel Tasman track walk, for example, are from $32 per person, on Milford Track $60 per night.
Guided Great Walks are operated by commercial concerns, who offer lodges with fully serviced rooms comprising shared rooms for 4-6 people in bunk beds, or private rooms with twin or king beds, hot showers, lounge and dining rooms. All meals are included and dinner is usually served with wines or soft drinks. Guides accompany you throughout the walk to provide route guidance, landscape interpretation, and lunch.