The Department of Conservation (DOC) is telling Kiwis to "get your tramping boots ready" with bookings for Fiordland’s Milford and Routeburn Great Walks to open soon.
It comes after extensive repairs to the walks which were damaged by bad weather in February this year.
“With repairs making great progress, we’re in the very happy position of being able to offer both tracks as the full through experiences this summer once more," DOC southern South Island Operations Director, Aaron Fleming says.
Bookings for the tracks will open on August 18 for Milford and August 19 for Routeburn.
The Milford track will be fully open from November 30 and the Routeburn from December 7.
“The Milford and Routeburn tracks are internationally regarded as some of the best hiking experiences in the world, bookings typically fill up very quickly – particularly over the peak summer weeks," Mr Fleming says.
“This summer looks to be a perfect opportunity for Kiwis to get out and explore our own backyards on these and the many other fantastic tracks we have around the country – and the communities that support them.”
Before hikers get too keen and head out early, they do need to heed current warnings, Mr Fleming says.
“While we have full confidence the tracks will be open this summer, we are still undertaking critical repairs, and minor repairs may continue into the walking season.
“Every effort is being made to restore the tracks entirely, but there will be some changes. Howden Hut on the Routeburn will not be open this summer and won’t be available to book – walkers will need to plan to tramp all the way out to the Divide near the Milford Road (or vice versa to Lake MacKenzie heading towards Glenorchy).
“While DOC is doing its bit to keep trampers safe, all those heading into NZ’s great outdoors need to be well prepared for their experiences. Let someone know before you go, check the weather and track conditions and make sure you take the necessary food, water, clothing and equipment.”