By Bronwyn Aalders, Team Lead – Graphic Design
Last year I took a walk in the park; a Great Walk, and the first of many I hope—the Milford Track.
As part of an initiative by Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre, DOC staff and local frontline staff were invited to experience first hand Fiordland’s Great Walks. I didn’t need any convincing and chose the Milford for its reputed beauty and tendency to fill up for months at a time.
The opportunity to get out of National Office and into the outdoors is always a welcome experience, but this time particularly so. As the team lead of graphic design in the Publishing Team, my team and I have been working on lots of collateral around the Great Walks this year so experiencing one of them first hand was incredibly useful.
It can be challenging to know just what our customers are wanting from a brochure, route guide or piece of merchandise, so to put yourself in their shoes for a few days certainly gave me an insight which I could return to the design studio with.
The Milford Track didn’t disappoint and also convinced me that it can get pretty warm across the ditch (I’m from Australia). We were blessed with brilliant weather for our first three days, tramping in 28C heat amidst the sound of thunderous avalanches above us. This was also to be my first hut experience as I generally prefer a tent and the sight of no one. But I’ve come round to the idea now, aided by earplugs that actually worked and recognising the benefits of a sandfly-free refuge.
Highlights included seeing Mackinnon Pass in perfect weather twice – an evening hike up from Mintaro Hut on Day two (followed by an arctic swim in a tarn) and perfect morning mist on Day three. There were sounds of kiwi and kaka lulling me to sleep (followed by a weka quickly reversing that trend), and whistling whio on a drizzly final day walk out. This is starting to read like one of DOC’s brochures… maybe we’re not as far off as we think! It was the perfect Great Walk experience.
To see the Great Walks brochures , check them out on the DOC website (the Tongariro Northern Circuit brochure is coming soon):