Southland's Hump Ridge Track will be New Zealand's next Great Walk.
Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage made the announcement today in Tuatapere, Southland, and said it would be "a fantastic addition" to the network.
"The track provides access to a spectacular southern coastline and forests, dramatic alpine tops and historic viaducts.
"Hump Ridge offers the walker remote and unforgettable beauty and history."
She described the track's addition as "a significant investment" in Southland tourism.
"Great Walks showcase some of the best parts of our country and are a great way to enable more people to enjoy and be inspired by nature."
The Department of Conservation will work with the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Trust to bring the walk up to Great Walk standard. It will be modified from a two-night walk to three nights.
The upgrade will cost about $5 million.
Ms Sage signed a memorandum of understanding with the trust to progress work.
The new Great Walk will open in late 2022, after the track upgrades are complete.
Hump Ridge Track was one of three finalist walks, the other two being Te Paki Coastal Track and Queen Charlotte Track.
"I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the proponents for all three tracks," said Ms Sage.
DOC will continue work in the far north to progress plans to get the Te Paki Coastal Track Great Walk status.
"Te Paki, Queen Charlotte and Hump Ridge are all phenomenal walks making the decision a tough one."