Technology could make great New Zealand walks even more enjoyable if new app proves popular

Going bush these days doesn't necessarily men you're off the grid.

This new smartphone app gives Abel Tasman trampers weather and wildlife info. Source: 1 NEWS

The Abel Tasman National Park, at the top of the South Island, is trialling a virtual visitor's centre in Anchorage Bay.

That virtual centre can be accessed via an app on a tablet or a smartphone. It's funded by a private trust, Project Janszoon.

It has the latest weather, track and tide information for the 220,000 people who visit the park annually.

"Abel Tasman, unlike some other national parks, doesn't have its own visitors centre, and we thought in this day and age it probably doesn't make much sense to build a bricks and mortar centre, why don't we create a virutal centre?" Devon McLean, Project Janszoon director, said.

The app also has a photogallery and bird song section so tourists can figure out what wildlife they're encountering in the national park.

The virtual visitor's centre is the latest innovation to showcase this remote part of New Zealand.

A smartphone app offering a kind of virtual guided tour can be downloaded from 15 hot spots around the park.

Soon trampers will be able to report sightings of rare birds or pesky pigs to the Department of Conservation.

If the app is successful DOC might install it at other great New Zealand walks.