Image of the August 2020 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
August 2020 Issue
Home / Articles / Walkshorts

Risky Cape Kidnappers track will reopen

The track to Cape Kidnappers has been closed January 2019. Photo: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner/Flickr

Walking access to Cape Kidnappers will reopen later this year, despite an ongoing risk of landslides.

The 19km Te Kauwae-a-Māui Walking Track via Clifton Beach has been closed since January 2019, when a large slip injured two tourists. The track provides access to a gannet colony and was a popular walk.

A risk assessment report commissioned after the slip found landslide hazards remain potentially fatal. Walking Clifton Beach was determined to be as risky as mountain climbing.

DOC lower North Island operations director Hayden Barrett said public expectations of the walk’s safety must be changed before the track is reopened.

“While we can never eliminate all risk in a natural environment, we can set expectations and provide people with better information to help them understand these risks,” he said.

University of Canterbury professor Tim Davies said the report shows the upper limit of fatality risk is greater than one death every decade.

“Given public aversion to recreational death risk, and the consequences of multiple deaths as exemplified by the White Island tragedy, the upper limit risk-to-life figures must be taken seriously,” he said.

University of Auckland associate professor Martin Brook said the spectacular landscape could be a ‘fatal magnet’, and signs may not be enough to mitigate risk.

“Irrespective of any signage or path that DOC implements, some tourists do ignore DOC signage,” he said.

“Perhaps it’s best DOC closes its  track and removes all reference to the walk, save for a large warning sign about the landslide hazards.”

The track is expected to open in time for summer and Barrett said signage at the Clifton Beach entrance will note the risk to walkers.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Web exclusives. Each week we publish stories you won’t find in the magazine. View our latest web exclusives.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.