Rain damage to top of the South Island tracks
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionSections of the Abel Tasman Coast Track and Queen Charlotte Track remain open but others are temporarily closed after last week’s heavy rain caused multiple slips and other damage.
Date: 24 August 2022
Most of the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds is open but caution is advised for walkers and biking is not recommended. Coastal areas of Abel Tasman National Park can be accessed by boat.
The tracks are among a number of Department of Conservation (DOC) tracks and campsites in Nelson/Tasman and Marlborough regions impacted by the severe weather. Access roads to some campsites, huts and conservation areas are closed due to landslides and other damage.
In Abel Tasman National Park, all beaches and campsites that can be accessed by boat and kayak are open and the four coast track huts are open for use if able to be accessed.
There is limited road access due to slips to northern areas of the park, including the Wainui entrance, Awaroa, and Tōtaranui Campground. Tōtaranui campground is open and can be accessed by boat.
DOC Northern South Island Operations Director Roy Grose says DOC staff are still checking tracks in the region and the full extent of damage is not yet known.
“We’re advising people to check our website for the latest information on the status of tracks, campsites and access to conservation areas in the top of the South Island before heading into the outdoors. This will be subject to change as we as assess damage and carry out repairs.
“Our staff are working as quickly as possible to assess and repair damage and reopen closed sections of tracks but there is a considerable amount of work to do and it will take time.”
DOC staff are contacting people with Abel Tasman Coast Track hut and campsite bookings to offer refunds or to change their bookings to another available date.
On the Heaphy Track, there is currently no access to Heaphy Hut from Kohaihai on the western side due to a slip at Crayfish Point.
The Heaphy Track can be accessed from the Brown Hut end but the section between Heaphy Hut and James MacKay Hut was already closed due to damage to bridges from February storms.
“While we are still assessing and repairing damage, anyone venturing out on tracks could encounter slips, fallen trees and washed-out sections,” says Roy Grose. “People should take extra care and be prepared to turn back if the going is difficult or damage is impassable.
“We’re also asking people to report any damage they encounter on tracks, such as landslides and fallen trees, particularly in more remote backcountry areas which our rangers get to less often."
People can report damage by calling DOC’s 24-hour number 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468). Damage is still being assessed and there is no estimate of the repair costs at this time.
Additional track closure information
Other tracks and access roads in Nelson Tasman and Marlborough currently closed due to rain damage are listed below. This is not a complete list, so people should check the DOC website or at local DOC visitor centres for up-to-date information.
- Wainui Falls Track, Golden Bay – closed.
- Cable Bay Walkway, Nelson – closed.
- Cobb Road access to Kahurangi National Park – road closed due to a slip, affecting access to several huts, including Fenella, Sylvester, Balloon and Tribolite huts and Salisbury Lodge.
- Branch and Leatham Roads, Leatham Conservation Area – closed due to slips.
- Marahau to Coquille Bay
- Low tide route Anchorage to Torrent Bay
- Anchorage – Te Pukatea and Pitt Head Loop
- Bark Bay to Tonga Quarry
- Onetahuti Bay to Awaroa Beach
- Coquille Bay to Anchorage
- High tide track Anchorage to Torrent Bay Village, including Cleopatras Pool track
- Torrent Bay to Medlands/Bark Bay
- Tonga Quarry to Onetahuti
- Awaroa Saddle to Awaroa Hut
- All tracks north of Awaroa to Wainui Bay
Use caution when accessing these sections as they have minor damage and the situation could change at any time. Biking is currently not recommended due to the slips and narrow sections.
- Meretoto/Ship Cove to Furneaux and on to Miners/Head of Endeavour Inlet
- Head of Big Bay to Camp Bay and the Historic Track to Kenepuru Saddle and Road
- Camp Bay to Eatwell’s Lookout and on to Black Rock Campsite
- Torea to Te Mahia/Mistletoe Bay
- Te Mahia/Mistletoe Bay to Anakiwa
- The Waterfall Track at Meretoto/Ship Cove
- Miners/Head of Endeavour Inlet to head of Big Bay
- Black Rock Campsite to Torea Saddle
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