Trampers and campers may notice a range of upgrades and new DOC facilities this summer.
A new shelter has been built on the Heaphy Track, replacing the old Lewis Hut, near the confluence of the Lewis and Heaphy rivers. The shelter will provide emergency accommodation for people travelling between the Heaphy and Mackay huts as sometimes the river can be too high to cross safely. The old Lewis Hut was demolished. It was in poor condition and prone to seasonal flooding and erosion.
Also in Kahurangi National Park, a new viewing platform has been built overlooking Mirror Tarn as part of $5.7m of upgrades in the Ōpārara Basin. The track to the tarn has also been extended and the Ōpārara Arch track surface has been improved. A new flush toilet has also been built at Box Canyon car park and surveillance cameras have been installed to monitor the restricted access area around the Honeycomb Caves. Work to upgrade the 16km access road will start this year.
In the North Island, there’s improved access to Fletcher Bay Campsite near the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula. The area is prone to flooding and campers can now drive a new road to the site. New toilets have also been built at the Waikawau Bay and Stony Bay campsites.
A pou whenua is also being erected on the Paparoa Track, about 1km north of Croesus Knob, above Ces Clark Hut, near the highest point of the track. The pou will be a patterned steel panel, about 5m high and 2m wide. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai said it was “very important that visitors understand the cultural significance of this place and who holds rangatiratanga over this land”.