Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The Department of Conservation is planning several changes to the Silver Peaks Scenic Reserve near Dunedin which will improve safety and recreation facilities in the area.

Date:  16 July 2010

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is planning several changes to the Silver Peaks Scenic Reserve near Dunedin which will improve safety and recreation facilities in the area.

Last year, DOC asked people for their input and ideas on recreational use of the reserve through an online survey. This was in recognition of the increasing and changing group of people using the area and in response to a number of search and rescue incidents in the area. DOC has carried out further consultation since then on future options for development of recreation facilities, including tracks.

“The outcome of this consultation has resulted in some clear directions to guide us on development over the next five to ten years,” DOC Area Manager Robin Thomas said. The work will be carried out in three stages:

Stage 1

The first stage of the work is already underway and will better define the Silver Peaks Track from Mountain Rd to Jubilee Hut. This work will focus on defining intersections and decision points to minimise the chance of walkers mistakenly straying from the main track.

Signage and more orange marker poles will be erected on the track. The number of start points on the track will be reduced from three to one, on Mountain Rd, to minimise confusion and provide a focus for track information.

“Once this first phase is completed, there will be a clearly defined track to and from Jubilee Hut” Mr Thomas said.

Stage 2

Stage two will begin later this year and entail redefining the section from Jubilee Hut to Mountain Rd via ABC Cave and Yellow Ridge. In this section, vegetation, mostly tussock, will be cleared and orange markers will be erected.

The present section of the track near The Gap, which has caused issues with trampers in the past, will be rerouted.

An additional safety feature on this section will be the establishment of a small hut/shelter near the present Yellow Hut which will provide emergency shelter if the Waikouaiti River becomes impassable. This shelter is being donated for public use by the Philip J Cox Memorial Trust, formed in memory of Phil Cox, a noted Dunedin surgeon and keen outdoorsman who was killed in a car accident last year.  When this hut is established, the old Yellow Hut will be removed.

Stage 3

At some point in the future, the option of a return route back to the starting point of the track will be explored on the true left of the Waikouaiti River.

“While some people wanted to see little or no development of tracks within the reserve, we have tried to strike a balance between the needs and desires of individuals and groups of varying skill levels. The proposed work will provide a better defined and safer track than currently exists. As all the other tracks and routes within the reserve will not be changed, there should be plenty of opportunity for people of all skill levels to find something to enjoy there,” Mr Thomas said.

From a Search and Rescue perspective, Senior Sergeant Brian Benn welcomes the proposed works.  “This should take much of the pressure and concerns off this area,” he said. "The track to Jubilee hut currently has several confusing decisions points for the inexperienced tramper and the proposed improvements will undoubtedly lead to fewer Search and Rescue missions in the area."

Map showing planned changes in the Silver Peaks.
Planned changes in the Silver Peaks


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