What is the difference between a walkway established under the Walking Access Act and other walking tracks or trails?

“Gazetted walkways” are those walking tracks that have been established under the Walking Access Act 2008 and the New Zealand Walkways Act 1990 and declared as walkways in the Government’s official newspaper, the New Zealand Gazette. Walkways under these Acts may be over public land or private land. In the case of private land, access is secured by creating easements which require the agreement of the landholder.

There are many other walking tracks around New Zealand providing opportunities for people to access the outdoors. While some of these tracks may be termed “walkways”, only those that have been formally established and gazetted under the Walking Access Act 2008 or the New Zealand Walkways Act 1990 have the special legal status that the legislation provides. This includes statutory protection of the rights of walkers to use the walkways and specification of those actions that are an offence under the Walking Access Act 2008.

Walkways are generally not affected by changes in the ownership of private land.

Where are they?

Walkways are located in many parts of New Zealand. A list of all of these walkways, their locations, and their controlling authorities can be found on the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s website.

Additional detailed information may be on the websites of the relevant controlling authority. The controlling authority is the public body that is responsible for the day to day management of the walkway. Most walkways are managed by the Department of Conservation.

New Zealand Walkways

Gazetted walkways can be found across New Zealand. Well-known examples include the Huka Falls to Aratiatia Rapids Walkway near Taupo, Makara Walkway near Wellington, Cable Bay Walkway near Nelson and Tunnel Beach Walkway near Dunedin.

Many older walkways carry a ‘New Zealand Walkways’ logo, while those created more recently carry the logo of the New Zealand Walking Access Commission.

How can I identify them?

Walkways are signposted with the track name and any special conditions that apply. The signage may include the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s logo or the old walkways logo.

Those managed by the Department of Conservation are described on its website (www.doc.govt.nz) and will have Department of Conservation signage.

Page last updated: Nov 16, 2018, 4:28 PM