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Walter Peak Land Restoration Project

Walter Peak Land Restoration Project

Real Journeys is embarking on large scale restoration of its land at Walter Peak to ensure visitors continue to have an authentically New Zealand experience.

Almost 90 hectares of wilding Douglas Fir will be removed by logging or spraying (around 40 hectares of the area consists of dense trees – the rest are scattered) in partnership with the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCCG) and Department of Conservation. A further 30 hectares of land will be cleared of invasive weeds such as broom, gorse and hawthorne.

Commercial Director, Tony McQuilkin is behind the move, which he says is both exciting and necessary for a company with a proud tradition in conservation and as a responsible landowner. (Real Journeys purchased 155 hectares at Walter Peak in December 2013.)

“There’s a lot of work to be done, and it’s certainly going to look different for quite a while until the replanting takes hold. But we want to give our guests an authentic Central Otago experience not a poor copy of North America. We’ve taken steps to ensure our visitors are not disrupted by this project. Hopefully they will share our vision, which is to enhance what is already an exceptional natural land form,” says Tony.

Peter Willsman, Co-chairman of the WCCG, says the move is strategically significant in the fight against wildings because of the protruding position of Walter Peak. The prevailing South Westerly winds catch the seeds and send them far across the mountainside in front of Queenstown.

“It’s wonderful news that an eco-friendly company like Real Journeys is tackling the wilding issue,” says Peter.

Pockets of native bush including Mountain and Red Beech, Kowhai, Cabbage Trees, Rata and Pittosporum will be planted on the lakeside of the Von Hill Peninsula which will eventually include walking and bike trails. As befits the heritage of Walter Peak High Country Farm, flatter areas will be maintained for pastoral farming, which will also help keep the weeds under control. The grounds directly around the Colonel’s Homestead will remain ‘in keeping’ with its traditional exotic planting.

As a result of a land swap with DOC, by June next year, Real Journeys is creating and maintaining a public walkway to the stunning area of Beach Point - complete with picnic area, BBQ, toilet, shelter and DOC camping site.

The Walter Peak Land Restoration Project is a significant investment in conservation by Real Journeys, with a small part of the cost offset by the sale of the wood that will start to be logged next month.

Tony McQuilkin says it will take many years to create but will be an enduring legacy that the company can be proud of.

ends.

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