Gunner Bridge
Image: DOC

Introduction

The severe damage done to the Heaphy Track by last week’s torrential rain means through trips of the track will not be possible for several months.

Date:  10 February 2022

Three bridges have been extensively damaged or destroyed between the Heaphy Hut and James Mackay Hut.

“We know that this is extremely disappointing for many trampers and mountain bikers who had plans to do the Heaphy Track in coming months,” says DOC’s Buller Operations Manager Suvi Van Smit.

“However, with the Heaphy River, Gunner River and Pitt Creek bridges all out of action, there is no safe way to get from Heaphy Hut to James Mackay Hut. We have had to make this decision to extend the closure with our customers’ safety in mind.

“It’s too early to say how long it will take to fix the bridges and other damage.  We’ve had more heavy rain over the past 24 hours so it hasn’t been possible to complete assessments of the damage,” she says.

DOC’s Golden Bay Operations Manager Dave Winterburn says there is little or no track damage between Brown Hut and James Mackay Hut.  

“From 13 February it will be possible to do a return walk from the Golden Bay end of the track (Brown Hut) as far as James Mackay Hut allowing walkers to stay at the huts and campsites within this section, by booking a two, three or four day return trip.”

DOC is contacting all those booked on Heaphy Track advising them of the situation and how they can either modify their trip so they come out of the track at the same point they went in, or cancel their booking for a full refund.

Customers can still book accommodation on the northern section, between Brown and James Mackay Huts, on DOC’s Great Walks booking platform. From Friday 18 February they will be able to book accommodation at the Heaphy Hut and Campsite and Scotts Beach on DOC’s Huts and Campsite platform.

Anyone who needs any help with rescheduling their trip, should contact DOC’s Nelson Visitor Centre booking helpdesk.

This partial closure will also affect the Heaphy Track mountain bike season which normally runs from 1 May to 30 November.

Contact

For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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