Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today.
The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme weather event caused damage, rockfall and slips across northern Fiordland and parts of Southland and Otago.
“It’s great to announce that a shortened version of the Milford Track – to be called the Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience – will be available to walkers from 26 February. The Rees Track and Greenstone Caples track are also reopened today,” said Eugenie Sage.
“Safety for the Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and visitors has always been the number one priority. DOC staff have worked exceptionally hard over the past fortnight to assess the track, huts and other structures.
“Extreme weather events like this storm will become more frequent in future due to climate change-induced heavy rainfall. There is a big job ahead for DOC and others in repairing the facilities that give visitors access to these special areas in Fiordland, and in making them more resilient in the face of a changing climate.
“I’m proud of the work DOC is doing to get people back out into nature as soon as safely possible. Repairs are continuing on other tracks damaged by the storm, and these will be reopened when safe to do so.
“Now that part of the Milford Track is open, DOC is turning its attention to the Routeburn Track and looking at options for allowing limited public access there.
“While I know people will be eager to see the entire walk reopened, the 7km section of the Milford Track to the north requires significant work and won’t be reopened this season. An option which allows access to part of the walk is a welcome alternative.
“People who were originally booked for the Milford Track will be given priority for the new Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience.
“DOC is working really hard to get all the tracks back up and running safely but in the meantime there are still many beautiful areas and tracks for people to enjoy” said Eugenie Sage.
The Southern Milford-Mackinnon Experience is a day shorter than the original Milford Great Walk so people will have an opportunity to ‘Stay an Extra Day in Fiordland’ to experience some of the other activities in this beautiful part of the world.
For more the latest updates please see: https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/issues/extreme-weather-event-in-fiordland/
For options to consider including recreational activities, restaurants, and accommodation visit the following Destination Fiordland sites: https://www.fiordland.org.nz/