Hump Ridge Great Walk Project
IntroductionThis project seeks to develop the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track into a Great Walk.
In 2019, it was announced that the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track would become Aotearoa New Zealand’s next (11th) Great Walk.
The track opened in late November 2001, as a multi-day hike, and is run privately on behalf of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust.
It will be a stunning addition to the Great Walks network. Located in Te Wāhipounamu, the south-west corner of the South Island, the track journeys through spectacular and diverse landscapes, including seascapes, sandy beaches, native forests and an alpine environment with soaring limestone tors.
About the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track
The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track is a 3-day, 61 km loop walk, that takes trampers along the south coast of western Southland, up to the sub-alpine zone of the Hump Ridge and over historic viaducts (bridges) surrounded by native forest.
The idea for this track came in 1988 as a response to the loss of NZ Forestry Services from Tuatapere, after the ban on native logging in the mid-1980s. The Tuatapere & Districts Promotions Group suggested the construction of a tramping track would be an opportunity to support the community, with jobs and the income brought into the area from the visiting track walkers.
The idea was embraced, and the community provided numerous volunteer hours, skills, tools and resources from 1994 to 2001 to create the track.
It opened in November 2001 and is operated by a not-for-profit business, Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Inc., on behalf of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust.
The track currently begins at the Rarakau carpark, which is located about 30 km from Tuatapere. It traverses several South Island Landless Native Act (SILNA) blocks before it crosses into Fiordland National Park. The southern section of the walk follows the DOC-managed South Coast Track.
This area has a rich history. The stories of mana whenua/iwi and the forestry heritage, including the viaducts and Port Craig, will be part of the Great Walk experience.
About the project
The goal of this project is to develop the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track into a Great Walk.
The aim is for it to be a world-class visitor experience that reflects the significant cultural and heritage values of the area and inspires increased conservation advocacy.
Get information about the Great Walks selection process .
Although the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track has been operational as a multi-day hike for more than 20 years, work is needed to bring it to the Great Walk standard. This includes upgrades to the track surface, structures and carpark, as well as the interpretation and storytelling package.
There are several challenges to be addressed for this project to succeed. These include:
- bringing the South Coast Track up to Great Walk standard, including fixing drainage
- ensuring legal access across all private land that the track crosses
- ensuring safety concerns on and around the track are addressed
- ensuring the viaducts can be managed and maintained for long term public access
- developing a long-term management strategy for the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust to manage the track effectively and safely.
Working with others
The DOC Strategic Projects Team leads the project with oversight from a Governance Group that includes mana whenua, namely Te Rūnanga o Ōraka-Aparima, the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust and the track operating business, the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Inc.
The project team are also working with the various stakeholders that have a relationship to the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, including SILNA representatives, Rowallan Alton Inc., Southland District Council, Heritage New Zealand and Port Craig Viaducts Charitable Trust.
The track crosses land managed by DOC and Southland District Council, SILNA blocks, as well as areas owned by Rowallan Alton Inc. and other private individuals or groups. Good representation and cooperation from all parties will ensure the project is successful.
At the end of the project, the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust will continue to manage and operate the upgraded track and facilities as a Great Walk.
The project is expected to benefit the local area – through additional employment, business opportunities and the increased tourism/visitor spend.
The closed borders and loss of international tourism due to COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in a substantial increase in New Zealanders visiting the great outdoors – especially during the summer season and public holidays.
There has already been an increase in usage of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track since the 2019 Great Walk announcement.
The project set-up and the detailed supporting work started in 2020. The project’s track construction phase will happen across 2022-23 with the project forecast for completion in late 2023.
The 61 km track has been divided into sections. This will allow the construction contracting teams to undertake the track upgrade work concurrently but also focus on the section most in need of repair.
Hump Ridge Track upgrade map (3,722K)
Timeframes and key tasks
June 2019 – September 2021
- Announcement of the decision to make the Hump Ridge Track a Great Walk.
- Project team stood up.
- Development of relationships with partners and key stakeholders.
- Background work started – including governance, legal, financial, compliance, land access, asset management, track and structures assessment, historical and heritage evaluations etc.
- Community information day in Tuatapere – see presentation in project documents below.
- Completion of the scoping of the construction work required to bring the track up to Great Walk status.
- Launch of project webpage and project newsletter – see project documents.
- Request for Tenders (RFT) for the track upgrade (excluding Section D) released on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS). This is the process used to inform and invite registered contractors to tender for work.
- Initiation of the plan for upgrading Track Section D. This work is separate to the tender process due to the track being in very poor condition and needing urgent repair.
- A Whakatau te whenua held by mana whenua mana moana of the rohe Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka. This is a ceremony to settle the land, bless the track and clear the way for track construction work to begin.
- The contractor begins the upgrade work at Track Section D.
- Publication of a project newsletter – see project documents.
Approval of the detailed business case that confirmed the project budget and expected work.
Key details are:
- the project capital expenditure costs will be $7.9m
- the project will deliver a Great Walk at the Hump Ridge location by upgrading the track surface and structures
- this includes a new swing bridge at the Edwin Burn to bypass the Edwin Burn Viaduct. Note: the viaduct is not being removed or is it unsafe - this bridge will provide an alternative crossing should the viaduct become unusable
- the work listed also includes an extension of car parking at Rarakau and an entrance waharoa (gateway), shelter and additional toilets
- the high-level experience design, which includes storytelling and interpretation, is approved for detailed development
- the work on the detailed assessment for the protection of the heritage and cultural values/impacts for the track and environs, including a conservation heritage plan for Port Craig
- the main construction phase will begin mid-late 2022 and continue well into 2023
- the project is forecast for completion in late 2023.
July to December 2022
- The contractual agreements, planning and scheduling of all approved project works with successful contractors completed.
- Rarakau car park design works completed.
- Community information day in Tuatapere – see presentation in project documents.
- Project newsletter published – see project documents.
- The contractor completes upgrade work at Track Section D.
- The contractor begins and competes the upgrade work at Track Section O.
- The start of the procurement process for the interpretation and story-telling package.
January - March 2023
- The contractor begins the upgrade work at Track Section A.
- The contractor begins the upgrade work at Track Section C.
- Request for Tenders (RFT) for the carpark upgrade released on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS). This is the process used to inform and invite registered contractors to tender for work.
- Publication of project newsletter – see project documents.
- The procurement and subsequent development with the contractor of the detailed work for the storytelling and interpretation packages.
- The work on negotiating legal easements with landowners to secure public access.
- Development of the waharoa (gateway) for the track entrance.
- The monitoring and protection of the heritage and cultural values/impacts for the track and environs throughout the construction period.
- Working with consultants on the digitising and archiving of historical records.
- The preparation work for the tendering process of the Rarakau car park upgrade works
- Sharing of project news via regular newsletters.
- Updating this web page as the project develops.
If you want to know more about the project, or be added to the distribution list for the project newsletters, email HumpRidgeGWP@doc.govt.nz.
This is a shared project mailbox that is monitored regularly and one of the project team will get back to you.
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,883 K) 25 May 2023
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,187K) 22 February 2023
- Project newsletter (PDF, 762K) 13 October 2022
- Community update presentation (PDF, 11,816K) 13 October 2022
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,155K) 21 April 2022
- Community update presentation (PDF, 13,357K) 18 October 2021
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,213K) 18 October 2021
Media releases and further content
- Hump Ridge Track Great Walk upgrade begins 4 April 2022
- Hump Ridge on track to be NZ’s next Great Walk 14 July 2019
- Selecting new Great Walks: Issues June 2017
- Welcome to the Hump Ridge Track Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Inc website