Kahurangi National Park
The Cobb Valley Road is expected to be reopened by Christmas 2018 with work still being done replacing washed out culverts. The road was closed after being badly damaged as a result of heavy rain during Cyclone Gita in February.
Helicopter Flat Hut on the Wangapeka Track is to be upgraded by a group headed by Bill Barnett with funding from the Backcountry Trust. The hut will be fully repainted, benches replaced, a new window installed, and piles replaced.
The removal of the gas cookers at Salisbury Lodge and Balloon Hut is being proposed by DOC because of the high costs, mostly helicopter flying and gas certification expenses. Of the 96 serviced huts in NZ, only 17 have gas supplied. If a serviced hut has more than 3,000 bed nights per year, then gas can be supplied. Neither hut meets this criteria with Salisbury Lodge having 1,500-1,800 bed nights per year and Balloon Hut 700-900 bed nights per year.
The Matiri West Bank Road leading to the Lake Matiri Track is about to upgraded as part of preparations for the Matiri hydro-electric power scheme. The last four kilometres of the 4WD road will be widened and realigned, with four fords being replaced by culverts, improving access for construction machinery and which will then give the public 2WD access up to the Matiri River West Branch. During the three-month project, walking access will remain open to Kahurangi National Park.
Nelson Lakes National Park
A bivvy has been helicoptered in for use as wardens’ quarters at Blue Lake Hut with an adjacent deck installed. Blue Lake will be staffed by a warden permanently over the summer to help improve visitor behaviour at the lake. In addition an area for camping has been created near the hut.
The proposed construction of a cooking shelter at Blue Lake has been cancelled after a survey of campers found they preferred to use the hut’s facilities.
Bobs Hut and the East Matakitaki Hut in the Matakitaki Valley are to be revamped this summer by Rob Brown and Nelson Tramping Club, with funding from the Backcountry Trust.
Bobs Hut was built in 1958 and was one of the very first six bunk SF70 huts built by the Forest Service and was extended to eight bunks in 1987. The East Matakitaki Hut was built in 1960-61 and remains in near original condition and is now managed as a historic building.
The three-wire bridges in the Matakitaki Valley have been restrung and are now five-wire bridges, with an extra wire on each side of the bridge.
The supply of long lengths of slab firewood instead of pre-cut firewood to huts in Nelson Lakes has resulted in major cost savings. Two years ago the cost was $65,000, but last year the cost was only $20,000.
Future work planned for Nelson Lakes this season 2018-2019 include:
Lees Creek Hut - repainting and minor repairs.
Mt Misery Bivvy - a new roof, new ceiling, and a full repaint.
Lakehead Hut - a refit of the interior, a second sink, and a complete repaint.
Hut deep cleaning as a result of gastro and norovirus outbreaks in 2016 and 2017 with increased funding to maintain the cleanliness of huts on the Te Araroa Trail.
Mt Richmond Forest Park
The six bunk Beebys Hut has undergone renovations recently after DOC Nelson Lakes received a donation of $3,000. The work involved the installation of new bunks.
The Dun Mountain Trail is impassable between Four Corners (Cummins Spur) and Third House because of slips. An alternative route follows the fence line of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. Remedial work on the slips should be completed by January or February.
More than $145,000 of government funding is going towards the upkeep of the Dun Mountain Trail, one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. The majority will be used to upgrade the section of trail between Coppermine Saddle and Smiths Ford in the Maitai Valley. The remainder is for repairing the slip between Four Corners and Third House.
The Old Ghost Road
The Ghost Lake Hut on the Lyell Range has been extended from twelve bunks to 18 bunks during September 2018. The renovation was driven by the need for more communal space for users but did not increase the footprint of the hut. The old deck was closed in and a new deck was re-orientated to the eastern side of the hut.
Additionally a new day shelter, named Top Camp Shelter, has been constructed during April 2018, situated on the saddle between Bald Hill and Mt Montgomery.
Over 11,000 people cycled or tramped the Old Ghost Road in 2017, when 5,000 was planned for originally. About two-thirds of people are biking and one-third tramping, with the majority of users New Zealanders, many of them repeat visitors. Internationals make up only 13-14% of users, the bulk of them being from Australia.
Rainbow Ski Area summer open days
The Rainbow ski area is opening its gates for public access during the summer with a road toll of $15 per vehicle per day. The ski area carpark is at an elevation of 1,540m and the ridgeline at 1,760m.
The open days are from 8am to 5pm, in ten day blocks from a Friday to a Sunday:
30 November - 9 December, 11 - 20 January, 22 February - 3 March, 29 March - 7 April, 3 - 12 May.
Check for any changes to opening times at: www.facebook.com/skirainbow
Marlborough Tramping Club has introduced a Hodder Huts Access Application. From November 2018 all trampers intending to visit the Hodder Huts on the route to Tapuae-o-Uenuku are required to obtain a hut access number by email, then the landowners’ permission by phone. This does not book a bunk in the hut, but enables the club to keep in contact with those who use the huts. The Hodder Huts comprise the six bunk Tararua Hut and the twelve bunk Murray Adrian Hut, a seven hour tramp from the Awatere Valley Road.
Hut fees are $10 per person per night, which can be paid online to the club.
For details visit: www.freewebs.com/marlboroughtrampingclub
Paparoa Track new opening date
DOC has announced the Paparoa T
rack will now open in September 2019, rather than next April.
The date change is to align the opening with the other alpine Great Walks and the start of the summer walking season. The Paparoa Track will be New Zealand’s tenth Great Walk, and the first Great Walk designed to be used by both mountain bikers and walkers. At 55 kilometres long, it traverses the Paparoa Range between Blackball and Punakaiki.