Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Popular South Island National Park track reopens after flood repairs

Popular South Island National Park track reopens after flood repairs
August 28, 2019

Magnificent views of alpine glacial lakes and the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Southern Alps/KÄ Tiritiri o te Moana await visitors to the freshly repaired Hooker Valley Track in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) partially closed the popular Short Walk in March after extreme flooding washed away 120 metres of track and structurally damaged a swing bridge. The same storm event destroyed Waiho bridge on the West Coast and indefinitely closed Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe glacier valley access road.

Contractors have spent recent months repairing and strengthening Hooker Valley Track’s damaged second swing bridge and have created 257 metres of new walkway. The track reopened this week and already hundreds of people have been enjoying the walk, with news spreading of its reopening by word of mouth.

Advising that the remote location made the repair challenging, DOC Senior Recreation and Historic Ranger, David Dittmer stated “we can’t drive vehicles through the national park, so the contractors had to walk an hour in and out every day and all materials had to be flown in by helicopter."

With the alpine environment also meaning repairs couldn’t begin until winter conditions had eased in early August, Dittmer added “even then the contractors had their work cut out for them, completing $150,000 of repairs in between bouts of snow, rain, hail and freezing fog."

The Hooker Valley Track features dramatic views of Mueller Glacier, Hooker Lake and Aoraki/Mount Cook. The track provides access to and connects Sefton Bivouac, Copland Shelter and Empress Hut.

From mid-October many different wildflowers can be seen along the walk, including the world’s biggest buttercup, the Mount Cook buttercup/kÅpukupuku.

Dittmer, who has lived in the national park for 10 years, says spring is one of the best times to visit, commenting “the mountains are still snow-capped, but the weather is warmer which makes an early morning hike even more enjoyable."

However, the Senior Ranger warns the weather can change at any moment and visitors need to be prepared.

He concluded "it’s important to remember this is an alpine environment and its common to experience strong wind, high rainfall, heavy snowfall and rapid changes in temperature at any time of the year.

"Dress warmly, bring plenty of drinking water and wear sturdy footwear".

A million people visited Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park last season, with a hundred thousand of them walking the Hooker Valley Track.

Images: Bridge on the Hooker Valley Track (top) and the track in summer (below).

Related Articles

18th July 2019 - Kauri dieback fears sees closure of Bay of Islands walking trails

15th July 2019 - Hump Ridge Track set to be New Zealand’s next Great Walk

14th July 2019 - New Zealand’s ‘admission fee’ to benefit conservation and tourism

5th July 2019 - World Urban Parks awards Auckland’s Shakespear Regional Park

4th June 2019 - Mt Cook National Park visitor numbers exceed one million

2nd June 2019 - Increased Great Walks pricing sees fewer tourists but more income

16th May 2019 - New Zealand Government delivers strategy for sustainable tourism growth

23rd April 2019 - New Qualmark Awards to recognise exceptional New Zealand visitor experiences

17th December 2018 - Department of Conservation launches new visitor behaviour campaign

12th May 2017 - Department of Conservation to raise charges for overseas visitors walking New Zealand’s trails

2nd September 2013 - Department of Conservation job cuts ‘a nightmare for New Zealanders’

12th November 2010 - Minister of Conservation opens new Milford Sound attraction

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

TJS Services

TJS Services is a leading national facility services provider. We deliver quality cleaning, maintenance, construction and facility management services to over 1,500 sites Australia wide.  Our…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Venues



Established in 1994, Ceramic Solutions has excelled at the supply and installation of swimming pool tiles and equipment for the pool and leisure industry, with a focus on the needs of end-users. …

read more

Aquatics / Design / Surfaces / Venues



Since 1989 Elite Pool Covers have designed and manufactured an extensive range of high quality affordable manual,semi-automatic and fully-automatic pool cover systems for the harsh Australian…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Technology / Venues


Abel Sports

INTRODUCTION Abel Sports is Australia’s leading manufacturer and suppliers of Goal Posts, sports ground safety netting systems and coaches boxes for Stadiums ,Sports Clubs, Councils and…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Venues



We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Wellness



Headquartered in Brisbane with an Australia-wide network of satellite offices, PaySmart is one of Australia’s largest and longest-standing direct debit billing companies. In 1996 we began…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology



Trisley's Hydraulic Services P/L (THS) are a specialised pool company dealing with all aspects of the commercial swimming pool industry, including the installation and servicing from the smallest…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks



Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business