Recreational 4WD owners in the 09 calling area got an early Christmas present with the news on December 21 that DOC has agreed to open the Maratoto Track for summer use. The iconic track in the southwestern Coromandel foothills has been off-limits for 4WD ( and motorcycle) use for some time now thanks to various issues but has now been re-opened. In a letter to fellow four wheelers, John Hickey the Northern Zone President of the NZ Four Wheel Drive Association Inc. explained that “after discussing matters with DOC Hauraki Operations Manager Ms Leanna Irvine, the Senior Ranger – Supervisor Community, and Mr Avi Holzapfel, the DOC Hauraki Operations Manager, DOC has agreed that the Maratoto Track may be opening this summer season and is now open.” There are some conditions, however. The key one – as a response to the issue of Kauri dieback – is that all 4WDs entering the area must be cleaned BEFORE they arrive, and as soon as possible AFTER they leave. There will be NO CLEANING in any adjacent native bush areas and or streams either. It must be done off-site. To help monitor usage DOC has approved the use of NZFWDA-installed cameras and a small ( voluntary) fee of $ 10 per vehicle ( or $ 5 per motorcycle) is to be paid for access. The purpose of these requirements is to get 4WDs back into the area legally so that the NZFWDA and other similar groups can work with DOC on issues which mean access to the track is on-going.
4WDs can now again legally use the Maratoto Track.