24 Dec 2015

Popular walking tracks closed in Tararua Ranges

7:53 pm on 24 December 2015

Hundreds of trampers won't be able to walk popular tracks in the Tararua ranges over Christmas because of slips on the Kapiti Coast.

tramping boots

tramping boots Photo: AFP

The Otaki Gorge Road was this week declared unsafe and closed indefinitely.

Summer is the peak season for tramping in the ranges, particularly along tracks such as the Southern Crossing.

But the closure of the road to all traffic, including people on foot, has prevented access to the Otaki Forks area and Tararua Forest Park.

Large fresh cracks were found 300 metres above the road while debris from previous slips was being cleared, and have created a new threat for the area.

Tararua Tramping Club spokesperson Paul Maxim said the road closure was a big blow for people wanting to use the area recreationally.

He said most trampers who planned ahead should be aware of the situation, but some may get caught out.

"The risk is for people who go in from other entrances into the park and then want to come out through Otaki gorge.

"They find themselves stonewalled and have to turn back which is obviously an issue if they're not prepared for it," he said.

The Kapiti Coast District Council said the cracks indicate the whole hillside could be slipping and they're working with a geologist to monitor it.