Walking New Zealand

New Zealand Walk: Hollyford Track reopens


The popular Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park’s only major low-altitude track was officially reopened, the DOC just befor christmas 2020.

The 56km, four-day (one way) track, which was badly damaged during a three-day storm in February 2020, is now open for people keen to experience a backcountr­y adventure.

DOC’s Southern South Island operations director Aaron Fleming says this is the last of Fiordland’s major multi-day tracks to be reopened since the storm.

“It’s fantastic to have the Hollyford Track at a stage where it can be safely reopened to people with the appropriat­e backcountr­y skills.

“This area has a rich and varied history and is an important feature of Te Wāhipounam­u—Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area—as it encompasse­s the Ngāi Tahu pounamu trail link to the West Coast and fascinatin­g tales of human endeavour.”

Key repair work has been completed to the track and structures which received extensive damage, Aaron says.

However, there are some changes. “The repair work has been completed to allow the safe opening of the track for people with moderate to high level backcountr­y (remote areas) skills and experience. Some bridges have been removed or not replaced, so there are new warning signs in place on the track and at huts to advise trampers of the unbridged streams that may become impassable in heavy rain.”

Trampers will also need to start their tramp 3 km earlier this season with the final repairs to the Hollyford Road expected to be complete in April/May 2021.

“This last section of road has been extensivel­y damaged by river erosion and repairs, led by NZ Transport Agency and the Southland District Council, are ongoing.

“People wanting to access the Hollyford Track can safely walk from the new carpark at Girder Creek to the track start. This trail will remain in use while repair work is carried out on that final 3 km section of road.”

While the Hollyford Track has reopened, all side-tracks accessed from the Hollyford Road below the Lake Marian carpark remain closed. Technical and safety assessment­s of these tracks and their structures are ongoing.

Trampers should check the DOC website for current informatio­n about the track (including any alerts) as well as obtain a weather forecast for the duration of their trip before heading into the hills, Aaron says.

“It’s fantastic to have another great option for trampers to explore just in time for summer. The track can’t be booked in advance so plan ahead, let someone know before you go, check the weather and track conditions and make sure you take the necessary food, water, clothing and equipment and have fun exploring your own backyard.”

The Hollyford Track was among the 78 tracks damaged in the February 2020 floods, including the iconic Milford Track and Routeburn Track, both also reopened late last year..

 ??  ?? Above right: Entrance to the popular Hollyford Track, now reopened after flood damage.
Above right: Entrance to the popular Hollyford Track, now reopened after flood damage.

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