Closed to the public since 2002 due to concerns around rock and tree slides, the track now bypasses the unsafe 120 m section of track by using a boat to transport walkers past this section.
DOC Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind says DOC and Milford Sound Tourism Limited have been working together since 2014 to get the track reopened.
"It's been great to work with Milford Sound Tourism to explore ways we could safely offer this experience to visitors once more. Their General Manager Tim Holland has been instrumental in getting this project completed in time to enjoy for the remainder of the season."
Lady Bowen Falls walking track has reopened for the first time in 15 years.
Image: Grant Grieve ©
"Lady Bowen Falls has a lot of history, and at a lofty 162 m high it's one of those bucket list items people have on their lists to see when they come to Fiordland National Park.
"Before the walk closed, it was one of the most popular short activities in Milford Sound/Piopiotahi," Greg Lind says.
Milford Sound Tourism, formerly Milford Sound Development Authority, General Manager Tim Holland says it is fantastic to be able to provide another memorable activity for visitors to Milford Sound to enjoy.
"After exploring many different options, we decided boat transport was the safest way to manage that part of the track. Plus – it'll provide a whole new experience for people at one of New Zealand's most iconic sites."
The walk now begins from the wharf at Freshwater Basin. A purpose-built boat will transport walkers 120m across the basin, disembarking on a small pontoon. From there the track meanders through native bush, with melodic birdsong to serenade walkers through beech trees and other native flora. The track then winds its way up to a spectacular viewing area of Lady Bowen Falls, with iconic Mitre Peak visible on the other side of the fiord.
The entire return journey including the boat ride and walk will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, and will be ideal for families, Greg Lind says.
It reopened Monday 29 January for passengers and costs $10 per adult and $5 per child for the boat ride. An official opening event will be held 15th March.