Deluge closes parts of Abel Tasman and Queen Charlotte tracks

2:26 pm on 24 August 2022

Some sections of the Abel Tasman and Queen Charlotte tracks are shut following damage caused by the heavy rain in the top of the south.

A slip by Torrent River Bridge on the Abel Tasman coastal track.

A slip by Torrent River Bridge on the Abel Tasman coastal track. Photo: Department of Conservation / Mark Townsend

Department of Conservation (DOC) northern South Island operations director Roy Grose said staff were still checking tracks in the region and the full extent of damage from last week's deluge was not yet known.

"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," Grose said.

While they were still assessing and repairing damage, trampers could encounter slips, fallen trees and washed-out sections, he said.

DOC had advised "caution" along the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds for walkers, and recommended against biking.

no metadata

Meanwhile, coastal areas of the Abel Tasman track, north-west of Nelson, could be accessed by boat. Walkers could also get from Marahau to Coquille Bay.

But there was limited road access due to slips to northern areas of Abel Tasman, including the Wainui entrance, Awaroa, and Tōtaranui campground. The campground was open and could only be accessed by boat.

A slip near Torea Saddle on the Queen Charlotte Track.

A slip near Torea Saddle on the Queen Charlotte Track. Photo: Department of Conservation / Leanne Flynn

DOC would be contacting people with Abel Tasman hut and campsite bookings to offer refunds or change their dates.

The two popular tracks were among a number of Department of Conservation tracks and campsites in Nelson-Tasman and Marlborough affected by the severe weather. Access roads to some campsites, huts and conservation areas were closed due to landslides and other damage.

On the Heaphy Track, in Golden Bay, there was currently no access to Heaphy Hut from Kohaihai on the western side due to a slip at Crayfish Point.

The Heaphy Track could 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.

"People should take extra care and be prepared to turn back if the going is difficult or damage is impassable," Grose said.

"We're also asking people to report any damage they encounter on tracks, such as landslides and fallen trees, particularly in more remote back country areas which our rangers get to less often."

People could report damage to by calling DOC's 24-hour number 0800 DOC HOTline (0800 362 468). DOC were advising people to check their website for the most up-to-date information.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ on Air

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs