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New Booking System Makes Tramp A Walk In The Park

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EMBARGOED UNTIL 10AM

THURSDAY 1 JULY 1999


New Booking System Makes Tramp A Walk In The Park

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today officially launched the booking system for huts in the Abel Tasman National Park, saying it marked a new era in managing New Zealand's smallest and busiest National Park.

"The popularity of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track has become its own worst enemy. Usage has doubled over the last decade and now tops 105,000 users per year. Under the old 'first in first served' system, trampers were having to rush from hut to hut to make sure they had a bed for the night "

A new hut booking system is being introduced for the Abel Tasman Coastal Track over the summer season from 1 October to 30 April each year. Bookings will be required for the Anchorage, Torrent Bay, Bark Bay and Awaroa Huts. Bookings can be made though the newly established Abel Tasman Coast Track Bookings Desk, run by the Motueka Information Centre, or any existing booking outlet in the Nelson region.

"It is with mixed feelings that the decision has been made to introduce the booking system. The back country experience is partly about getting away from the hassles of making reservations. This has to be balanced against trampers wanting to enjoy the tranquillity and relax, rather than have the tension of not knowing whether there will be a hut bed available for them. It also saves them the hassle of carrying a tent in case they miss out. On balance, the popularity of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track makes a booking necessary, albeit for only the summer months."

"I'm looking forward to using the first hut pass that I purchased today. I am a big fan of the Abel Tasman National Park and I welcome the fact that I won't have to rush to get a bed. The bottom line is that the booking system will improve the quality of the experience."

ENDS


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