Image of the September 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
September 2021 Issue
Home / Articles / Walkshorts

Storms hammer tracks in the North and South islands

This slip near Tawa Saddle, and others on the Queen Charlotte Track, will take months to repair. Photo: DOC

Major tracks around the country have been hammered by recent winter storms and some are expected to be closed for months.

Sections of the Heaphy, Queen Charlotte, Abel Tasman and Taranaki’s Around the Mountain track have been closed by storm damage after heavy rain in July.

DOC Buller operations manager Suvi van Smit said the Heaphy Track has considerable storm damage between Kohaihai, at the western trailhead, and Heaphy Hut, with sections of track washed out, fallen trees and a large slip behind the staff hut at the Heaphy River mouth. 

DOC had cleared trees off the track and repaired damage “as much as possible” before it was reopened on July 30, but the department said extra care is required and people should check conditions with DOC before heading onto the track. The bridge over Pitt Creek by Heaphy Hut was also washed out and a temporary ford is currently in place.

The Queen Charlotte Track has also been closed due to multiple slips, fallen trees and cracks in the track and DOC said some sections could be closed until at least the end of September. The damage was particularly bad between Meretoto/Ship Cove and Camp Bay and Anakiwa and Te Mahia Saddle and a bridge was washed out at Davies Bay. 

Meanwhile, significant storm damage has closed the Around the Mountain Track on Taranaki Mounga. DOC said tracks on the south-west of the mountain have been washed out and have to be rerouted, including the upper Ihaia Track to Waiaua Gorge Hut. There is also a slip below the plateau to Dawson Falls on the east side of the mountain and significant windfall on the Waingongoro Track, and at Ratapihipihi and Everett Park Scenic Reserves.