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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  18 December 2020

The 56km, four-day (one way) track, which was badly damaged during a three-day storm in February 2020, is now open for people keen to experience a backcountry adventure.

DOC’s Southern South Island operations director Aaron Fleming says this is the last of Fiordland’s major multi-day tracks to be reopened since the storm.

“It’s fantastic to have the Hollyford Track at a stage where it can be safely reopened to people with the appropriate backcountry skills.

“This area has a rich and varied history and is an important feature of Te Wāhipounamu—Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area—as it encompasses the Ngāi Tahu pounamu trail link to the West Coast and fascinating tales of human endeavour.”

Key repair work has been completed to the track and structures which received extensive damage, Aaron says.

However, there are some changes.

“The repair work has been completed to allow the safe opening of the track for people with moderate to high level backcountry (remote areas) skills and experience.   Some bridges have been removed or not replaced, so there are new warning signs in place on the track and at huts to advise trampers of the unbridged streams that may become impassable in heavy rain.”

Trampers will also need to start their tramp 3 km earlier this season with the final repairs to the Hollyford Road expected to be complete in April/May 2021.

“This last section of road has been extensively damaged by river erosion and repairs, led by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and the Southland District Council, are ongoing.

“People wanting to access the Hollyford Track can safely walk from the new carpark at Girder Creek to the track start. This trail will remain in use while repair work is carried out on that final 3 km section of road.”

While the Hollyford Track has reopened, all side-tracks accessed from the Hollyford Road below the Lake Marian carpark remain closed. Technical and safety assessments of these tracks and their structures are ongoing. 

Trampers should check the DOC website for current information about the track (including any alerts) as well as obtain a weather forecast for the duration of their trip before heading into the hills, Aaron says.

“It’s fantastic to have another great option for trampers to explore just in time for summer. The track can’t be booked in advance so plan ahead, let someone know before you go, check the weather and track conditions and make sure you take the necessary food, water, clothing and equipment and have fun exploring your own backyard.”

Background information

  • A three-day storm saw one-tenth of the region’s average annual rainfall dump on northern Fiordland between 4 and 6 February. This sparked a major search and rescue operation, damaged 440 km of tracks and wiped out key infrastructure including parts of the Milford Road.
  • $13.7 million was announced in Budget 2020 to go towards repairing vital conservation and visitor infrastructure destroyed in the February flood. Completing repairs across all damaged tracks in the SSI region is estimated to be a three-year programme.
  • The Hollyford Track was among the 78 tracks damaged in the February 2020 floods.

Contact

For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

MIL OSI