Aotearoa New Zealand has ten ‘Great Walks’ that include some of our most spectacular natural landscapes, unique wildlife and important historical sites. They traverse national parks and culturally significant protected areas. They are our most spectacular and coveted walks, or tramps as we like to call them here.
The Great Walks are spread throughout the country. The most northern walk is the Lake Waikaremoana Track on the east coast of the North Island, Tongariro Northern Circuit is in the central North Island, and the Whanganui Journey is on the Whanganui River on the west of the North Island. The South Island has the largest number of Great Walks including the Abel Tasman Coast Track and the Heaphy Track in the Nelson / Tasman region, the Kepler, Milford, Routeburn and Rakiura Tracks in Fiordland, thePaparoa Track on the West Coast of the South Island.
The NZ Post Scenic Definitive stamps have for a long time featured gorgeous scenes from throughout New Zealand. It therefore seemed a natural fit to focus on the Great Walks for the new 2023 Scenic Definitives. We chose four of the Great Walks for our current release and will feature others in the coming years. The new stamps show:
$3.30 Emerald Lakes, Tongariro Crossing
Best attempted between late October and April, the Tongariro Northern Circuit Track takes walkers through herb fields, forests and desert plateaux. This is a walk encompassing stark contrasts the highlight of which is a dramatic volcanic landscape with Emerald Lakes, whose vivid blues and greens can be attributed to dissolved minerals, are found near the summit of Mount Tongariro.
The Tongariro National Park is our oldest national park and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is full of important historical and culturally significant areas. The mountains have cultural and spiritual significance to Ngāti Tūwharetoa and symbolise the spiritual links between this community and its environment.
Many scenes from The Lord of the Ringswere shot in this region. Mount Doom is a digitally altered version of Mount Ngāuruhoe, the highest mountain in the Tongariro National Park.
$4.60 Routeburn Track
The Routeburn Track, also in a mountainous area, takes walkers past the spectacular Southern Alps/ Kā Tiritiri o te Moana and offers incredible views of awe-inspiring mountains and ice-carved valleys. Easily accessible from Queenstown, the track can be completed in three days or visited for day walks. Here you will see alpine gardens, vistas over vast mountain ranges, waterfalls, beech forests, wetlands and tussock-covered flats.
The highest point of the track is 1,255 metres above sea level, and like the Tongariro Track should not be attempted during winter.
$5.30 Te Urewera, Lake Waikaremoana
Te Urewera is the home of the Tūhoe people, and is recognised by New Zealand law as a living person. It encompasses the largest area of native forest remaining in the North Island and is home to nearly all species of New Zealand’s native birds. Walkers are welcome and encouraged to visit with respect for Papatūānuku (mother earth).The walk follows the western side of Lake Waikaremoana and takes up to four days to complete.
$6.90 Abel Tasman National Park
Located at the top of the South Island, New Zealand’s smallest national park offers an idyllic coastal walk, with golden beaches neighboured by recovering native forest. The area is easily accessible and can be walked or kayaked, or you can water taxi in for a day trip. Here tūī and bellbird song fills the forest, and many seabirds can be seen, as well as fur seals lounging on the rocks.
Whether you yearn for the mountains or the sea, the Great Walks have it covered.We hope you love our new Scenic Definative stamps as much as we do, and maybe even feel inspired to go bush.