The Department of Conservation will hike up prices for overseas tourists on four of the nine Great walks.

In some cases foreign tourists could be paying twice as much as Kiwis for access to tracks.

The move would give Kiwi walkers cheaper access to walks and preferential treatment to DoC huts.

From the beginning of the 'Great Walks Season' (23 October) overseas visitors will be paying $140 a night to stay in huts on the Milford Track, whereas New Zealand citizens are paying half that, at $70 a night. Another note for visiting families, while Kiwi kids under 17 can tramp for free, there are no reduced rates for visitors' children.

Advertisement

Milford, Kepler, Routeburn and the Abel Tasman Coast Tracks have all introduced this pricing scheme for overseas visitors.

In recent months concerns have been raised over the increased stress from foot traffic and whether current tourism patterns are sustainable.

Even the foreign press is concerned about the pressure of imported boots on New Zealand scenic tracks and tourist hotspots.

A write up in the Guardian and South China Morning Post claimed that Milford Track was in danger of "being spoiled by tourist hordes".

However, not all New Zealanders are welcoming the new measures.

Nelson kayak operator, Andrew McFarland, is worried business will suffer if tourists opt for day drips instead.

"More people are going to be doing day trips. They'll still be using all the DoC facilities throughout the day and then they'll drive away and freedom camp somewhere else," he said to Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking.

He was concerned that most tourists are traveling on the cheap. If the measures were not made fair across the board it could be damaging for local tourism businesses, as the foot traffic is driven away from traditional hot spots.

Huts on New Zealand's 9 Great Walks

•Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. = $32
•Tongariro Northern Circuit. = $36
•Whanganui Journey. = $32
•Abel Tasman Coast Track. + Kiwis $38, all visitors $75
•Heaphy Track. = $34
•Milford Track. + Kiwis $70, all visitors $140
•Kepler Track. + Kiwis $65, all visitors $130
•Routeburn Track. + Kiwis $65, all visitors $130
•Rakiura Track. = $24