Southland’s Hump Ridge Track To Be Great Walk
3 November 2001
Southland’s Hump Ridge Track To Be One Of NZ’s Great Walks
Southland’s new Hump Ridge Track will quickly be recognised as one of New Zealand’s great walks, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Conservation Minister Sandra Lee said today.
Helen Clark and Sandra Lee were in the Southland township of Tuatapere this afternoon, attending festivities to mark the official opening of the Hump Ridge Track.
“With so much to offer, I am confident that the Hump Ridge Track will quickly take its place alongside the Routeburn, the Abel Tasman and the Heaphy as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks,” Helen Clark said.
“Over its 53 km the Hump Ridge Track, on the south-eastern fringe of Fiordland National Park, traverses a remarkably diverse landscape, from coastal areas to podocarp and beech forest, sub-alpine settings and spectacular sandstone outcrops.
“Wildlife likely to be encountered includes seals, hectors dolphins and kea. The area is rich in human history, too, such as the magnificently restored Percy Burn wooden viaduct, a reminder of the timber township which once thrived there.”
Sandra Lee congratulated the many organisations and individuals who have worked since the late 1980s to turn the vision of the Hump Ridge Track into reality.
“These efforts were led by the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Trust.
“The Community Trust of Southland contributed $1.2 million to the project. Last year the Government gave a one-off grant of $900,000 following a $250,000 grant in 1998. The Southland District Council has helped with facilitation and professional services to the value of $650,000 while the Department of Conservation has provided $950,000 worth of new bridges, track upgrades, advice and support.
“Alongside these direct financial contributions, volunteer labour, contributions of material and skills and contributions from local companies have been the key to the completion of the Hump Ridge Track.
“The completion of the track symbolises in many ways the economic resurgence of the Southland region. Southland people have made huge efforts to extract new economic benefits from the region’s natural advantages.
“Just as the Topoclimate South project is leading to new and lucrative forms of agriculture and horticulture in Southland, the Hump Ridge Track project illustrates the growing importance of tourism in an area which once relied primarily on extractive, unsustainable industries such as logging.
“The coalition government has been delighted to support these and other initiatives as part of its overall partnership approach to economic development in our regions,” Helen Clark said.