Waiau Toa/Molesworth Great Walk Application

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23 August 2018

The Department of Conservation has announced the three finalists for the 2018 Great Walk application round, and although the Waiau Toa/Molesworth was not one of the finalists, DoC were impressed with the community support for the application. They will also be looking into future options for the walk: 

Lou Sanson, Department of Conservation Director General said the Waiau Toa/Molesworth walk has significant potential and would be considered for the Great Walks network in the future. Further work on options for it will be progressed after decisions on the 2018 Great Walk finalists are made. 

It's a wonderful achievement to have made it into the group of seven shortlisted walks and we look forward to seeing what might happen in the future *watch this space!*


Read DoC's media release here: Great Walks network set to grow

26 January 2018

When you think about hiking in America you think of the Appalachian Trail, or the Pacific Crest Trail. When you think about hiking in Nepal you think about Everest, or Base Camp.

When you think about walking in New Zealand you think about Abel Tasman, Milford, Tongariro. Kaikōura now has the opportunity to have some of the most breath-taking local natural features to become a Department of Conservation Great Walk and put our district on the map once again.

Kaikōura District Council in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and Hurunui District Council, and with the support from over 25 local organisations, submitted an application in 2017 for a new Waiau Toa/Molesworth Great Walk. Out of over 30 nationwide applications, the Molesworth/Waiau Toa area has been shortlisted down to 7. From here the applications will be further narrowed down before final considerations.

While the finer details are yet to be finalised, it is intended the walk will be 65km in length, taking 3-4 days to complete. The walk could be started from either Kaikōura at the Kahutara River Bridge on the Inland Road, or from Hanmer Springs near the Acheron Accommodation House. With the real possibility of making it a loop track by linking the two ends of the walk with a two-day rafting experience on the Clarence River.

9 Great Walks in New Zealand, plus the Paparoa Great Walk are all set to be completed in 2019.

Mayor Winston Gray is excited about the opportunity we may have.

“Kaikōura has done a grand job of creating a global visitor experience around our marine landscape. It is the right time to open up our unique mountain and inland area to the wider world, the Clarence Valley and Molesworth area is a pristine unique environment that has immense opportunities. It would provide an opportunity to connect with existing walk and cycle trails and has the potential to create strong regional growth throughout Marlborough, Kaikōura and Hurunui.”



What is a Great Walk?

Great Walk as defined by the Department of Conservation as a premier track that passes through diverse and spectacular scenery. From the native forests, lakes and rivers to rugged mountain peaks, deep gorges and vast valleys.

The Department of Conservation put out applications to all of New Zealand, in search of at least one new Great Walk, an opportunity for another natural wonder of the world to be available for people to be challenged, inspired and awed by.

Project plan for Waiau Toa

The walk could be started from either end, in Kaikōura (from near Kahutara River Bridge) or Hanmer (near St James Homestead), option of a 2 day rafting trip along the Clarence River to make it a loop track. It includes the stunning mountain vistas and Lake McRae. It would take 3-4 days, walking between 5-7hrs per day.

What this could mean for Kaikōura

There are a number of different benefits that could come if the area was awarded Great Walk status:

Social – healthy nature, healthy people, the benefits that having an easily accessible Great Walk would bring for our community, for people to reconnect with the history of the area and the environment

Cultural – the Waiau toa area has a long and interesting Māori and settler history. A Great Walk provides the opportunity to tell these stories

Environmental – increasing exposure of this area encourages awareness and respect for an area. Waiau toa features un-irrigated dryland ecosystems. South Marlborough alone contains a quarter of New Zealand’s plant species. Having a Great Walk would increase awareness of these ecosystems and greater protection and management of them.

Economic – increased number of visitors, a different type of tourist attracted by a ‘Great Walk’ brand (in addition to the ones that Kaikōura currently attracts


Useful links:

26 January 2018