Photo: Stingray Bay, Coromandel. © Piotr Zurek | Creative Commons
Above image: Stingray Bay, Coromandel. © Piotr Zurek | Creative Commons
Coromandel seaside campsites reopen for summer, but…
…there are changes after Cyclone Gabrielle. Some have reduced capacity and some have reduced facilities.
In an effort to reduce the stress on the gravel roads some sites have reduced capacity. Port Jackson down to 185 people (from 250), Fletcher Bay down to 200 (from 300), and Fantail Bay 60 people (previously 80). Booking is advised.
Port Jackson and Fletcher Bay are now a “backcountry standard” instead of a “standard”. It seems they chose “backcountry” so they can charge a fee (the “basic” campsite with the same facilities (or lack thereof) is free).
There are warnings: DOC recommend 4WD for the remote camps, making sure you have, and know how to change, your spare wheel. Carry spare fuel. Watch weather forecasts as weather may compromise the roads. Conserve water. Be aware of and obey fire bans. Carry everything you need: don’t assume you will have access to anything, including food, water, fuel or emergency supplies. ckw.nz/doc-coro | ckw.nz/doc-camps-fees
Have you seen Hector’s dolphins in the Firth of Thames?
Two Hector’s dolphins have been spotted in the Firth of Thames, prompting DOC to call on people to report more sightings of the animals. It’s just the third time in 60 years the species has been spotted here. Image: Hector’s dolphin. Steve Smith | © DOC ckw.nz/doc-hectors
Book in and protect the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Visitor numbers on the Crossing are putting consistent pressure on the conservation and cultural values of the area, as well as the infrastructure. Booking is not compulsory, but please do. Tongariro National Park has Dual World Heritage status for its cultural and natural heritage values. ckw.nz/doc-tongariroImage: Steep descent from Red Crater to Emerald Lakes on loose rock | © DOC
The Heaphy Track has reopened
Over 11,600 bednights have already been booked between October and June ‘24.
Heaphy track. Jono | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Pike29 Memorial Track opening in February
The Pike29 Memorial Track is opening on 17 February ‘24.
The 11.6km dual mountain biking and walking track will connect the Paparoa Track Great Walk to the Pike River Valley. There is also an easy 15-minute walk from the Pike Valley carpark leading to twin bridges within the forest.
The track rises 880m from the Pike River Valley floor to the Paparoa Range ridge line, making it a challenging walk or ride in a spectacular landscape, from alpine scrub through to luxuriant forest. As you walk it you are introduced to the story of what happened at the Pike River Mine.
Carpark to Paparoa Track intersection, 11.6km, 3-5 hours.
Once the memorial work is completed, vehicle access to the start of the track will be via Logburn Road (which leads into Pike Valley Road) off Atarau Road northeast of Blackball.
Image: Pike29 Memorial Track near junction with Paparoa Track. Stewart Nimmo | © DOC
Many Southern tracks open, but caution advised
Tracks, bridges and huts have been affected by the Sept ’23 and Feb ’20 weather events. Where there are large washouts or bridges down, DOC has closed tracks until repairs or remediation can take place. Other tracks are still open but require extra caution.
Always check the weather forecast, look at the DOC website or contact their nearest visitor centre for up-to-date information on track conditions. ckw.nz/doc-southern
Image: A slip which caused a dam to form above Freeman Burn hut in Fiordland. | © DOC
Hump Ridge Track upgrade to a Great Walk is delayed
The track is already open and in use, managed by the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Charitable Trust. Bookings are still open during construction, with public access given priority ckw.nz/hump-ridge-book. The hope is to reach ‘Great Walk’ status in October ‘24.
The Hump Ridge track is 61kms and takes about three days. It is an alpine environment with soaring limestone tors, uphill sections through coastal forests, expansive beaches, historic viaduct bridges, old timber settlements, and the longest tramway sleeper walk in the southern hemisphere. ckw.nz/doc-hump-ridge
Image: Southern rata in bloom at the Hump Ridge Track. | © DOC