- Introduction, What is Adventure Tourism?
- Destination Marketing Organizations of New Zealand
- Adventure Tourism Activities 1
- Adventure Tourism Activities 2
- Application of New Zealand Practices to Adventure Tourism in the Adirondacks
Application of New Zealand Practices to Adventure Tourism
in the Adirondacks
New Zealand offers a wide range of adventure tourism activities, many of which are also offered in the Adirondacks. Hiking, paddling and mountain biking are the activities with the greatest degree of overlap and which can be studied for best practices that could be applied in the Adirondack Region. While New Zealand is an icon destination with global attraction, the Adirondacks are a regional destination within a day’s drive of 85 million people.
With respect to hiking the condition of the tracks in New Zealand was exceptional. This makes them user friendly and the rating of tracks from Easiest to Expert allows the user to select a walk that is best suited to the time available and their abilities. The accessibility of information about the tracks both online and at the iSites throughout the country was excellent. Any agency charged with recreational land management must deal with issues relating to preserving the resource while at the same time providing access to the public. The Department of Conservation appears to be managing this balance well and no conflicts were observed with the exception of the Tongariro Alpine Traverse.
The infrastructure that supports the hiking is very well developed. Private operators provide shuttles to and from the trail heads from population centers. Guided hike options exist in many areas that range from half day to multi-day hikes. Links to the private operators are easy to find on both the TNZ and DoC websites. At whatever level the visitor wants to experience hiking, from totally independent to totally supported, the options are there and are easily accessible. The ability to offer value added features such as transfers, rentals, guides and huts provides the opportunity to create greater revenue for the private operators that support the activity while offering a more customizable experience for the visitor.
The hut to hut options deserve special mention due to the work currently being done by the Adirondack Community-based Trails & Lodging System (ACTLS) to develop this in the Adirondacks. New Zealand has a tradition of offering backcountry huts for hikers and the DoC operates and maintains over 950 huts in the National Parks and other conservation lands throughout the country. This would be extremely unlikely to happen in the Adirondacks due to the nature of laws creating the Adirondack Park and Adirondack Forest Preserve. ACTLS would utilize private operators with inholdings in the Park or in the Hamlets. Based on discussions with Ultimate Hikes and Active Adventures there is a demand for this product that could be satisfied by a system in the Adirondacks. This is a higher priced experience that would also support a number of other businesses providing lodging, food, transfers, and other support activities.
The paddling activities in New Zealand were notable for the number of options available, from simple equipment rentals to guided day long to multi-day trips. This is currently being done in the Adirondacks by a number of operators. One very useful feature offered in Abel Tasman National Park was the use of water taxis to provide access to a number of points in the park for both hikers and paddlers. This allowed the visitor to hike, paddle, or both and allowed use of parts of the park for hikers or paddlers that didn’t want to do a multi-day activity. This also allowed paddlers or hikers to only go in one direction for as far as they wanted and not have to return to the start on the same route. Similar water taxi shuttle options existed for hikers on walking tracks that could be accessed from lakes in the more popular destinations. All these activities were provided by private operators and increased the amount visitors spent in these areas.
Mountain biking is extensive and well promoted in New Zealand. A trail grading system similar to that for hiking is helpful for the visitor and information is readily available online through the TNZ and DoC websites as well as the iSites throughout the country. As with the hiking and paddling there are many businesses supporting this activity through providing rentals, guided tours, and shuttles. Although mountain biking is promoted through the Lake Placid and Adirondack Region websites there is no listing of that as an activity on the I Love NY website and on the Department of Environmental Conservation website a limited amount of information can be found under the “Recreation – Other Activities – Bicycling” tabs on the website. Given the growth in mountain biking this could represent an opportunity for the Adirondacks.