Minister officially opens new Heaphy Hut
Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister of Conservation
13 July 2013
officially opens new Heaphy Hut
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today officially opened the Heaphy Hut in the Kahurangi National Park to improve enjoyment on New Zealand's longest Great Walk.
"The new hut is palatial compared to the old one. It can sleep 32 people in four bunkrooms, has a large communal area, gas cookers, solar-powered lighting, a wood stove, a large deck, and flush toilets," Dr Smith says.
"The new hut is just part of a $2.2 million upgrade of facilities on the 78 kilometre Heaphy Track. This has included a new hut at Perry Saddle, new toilets at Perry Saddle and the Saxon Hut, upgraded track surfaces and new suspension bridges across the Heaphy, Gunner and Swanburn Rivers.
"The 148 metre bridge over the Heaphy River replaces that destroyed in last July's flood and is the longest suspension bridge anywhere on public conservation land.”
Dr Smith also used the official opening of the hut to take part in the three-year winter mountain biking trial, which is due to finish in September.
"I have been a strong supporter of allowing mountain biking on the Heaphy Track in the quieter months from May to September. It has seen a 285 per cent increase in hut usage over these months with more than 3000 riders doing the track since 2011. We will need to make a decision by years end on whether mountain biking will be permanently allowed on the Heaphy Track for the winter months.”
The mountain bike trial will be reviewed at the end of September. Track users can submit their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org