West Coast alerts

Updated 20 October 2014

For your safety, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. However you should contact the local DOC visitor centre for the latest updates.

Buller area tracks

Pest control operation DOC will carry out an aerial 1080 operation in approximately 270,000 ha of Kahurangi National Park to control rats, possums and other predators as part of its Battle for our Birds programme.

Non toxic pre feed baits will be applied first followed, approximately 5 days later (weather permitting), by the toxic baits. The area is divided into 5 separate operational blocks and each may be treated at different times.

Most tracks within the operational block to be treated will be temporarily closed until baits have been removed from the track. Major tracks include the eastern portion of the Heaphy Track and Wangapeka Track. The Cobb Road and Wangapeka River Road will be closed until baits have been removed during the Cobb and Wangapeka block operations respectively. The Oparara Basin Access Road will be closed during the Oparara block operations.

This operation is scheduled to start at the first weather opportunity after 1 September 2014.

View more information or contact the Motueka Office tel +64 3 528 18), Takaka Office tel +64 3 525 8026), or Westport Office tel +64 3 788 8008).

Heaphy Track

  • Construction of the new James Mackay Hut is progressing well with an expected completion date of 30 October 2014.  The original hut is still available to book, but trampers may prefer to stay at either Saxon or Lewis due to noise from the construction site.  There is no camping available at present.
  • Between Kohaihai and Heaphy Hut:  Sections of the coastal track are subject to large wave surges during high tides and rough seas and may cause the track to be temporarily impassable - there is no alternative track available.  The sections affected are clearly signposted.  Track users must make their own safety assessment and be prepared to wait up to two hours until the tide retreats.  When planning your trip, ensure you check tide charts and allow adequate time in case of delays.
  • The mountain biking season has now closed. There is no mountain biking allowed until the winter season re-opens on 1 May 2015.

Wangapeka Track

  • Wangapeka Track: Open but care required on the Western end as loose vegetation may still be hung up in the canopy branches and allow for debris on the track.

Karamea area:

  • Fenian - Adams Flat - Open
    The rest of the Fenian, including side tracks has substained severe damage and remains closed 
  • Karamea Gorge - severe damage – Closed
  • Mount Stormy - Closed

Punakaiki area:

  • Inland Pack Track – damage is extensive and covers a large area between Bullock Creek and Dilemma Creek - Closed

For more information contact the Kawatiri / Westport Office.

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Greymouth area tracks

Carew Falls Track  Closed due to Easter 2014 storm damage.

Ces Clark Hut (on Croesus Track).  The hut will be full on the following dates: Friday 31 October - Sunday 2 November.  This is due to a group of volunteers having a working bee on the track.  Camping will still be available.

Duffy's Creek Track  This route has large windfall trees on the last 300 metres of track and is difficult to navigate.

Kirwans Track

  • The 4WD access road to the Waitahu Valley is closed to vehicles due to a washout before the Clematis Gorge Swingbridge.  You can still walk the road.
  • The track connecting Gannons Road end to Capleston is closed for 18 months from June 2013 due to PF Olsen logging operations.  If you are planning on doing a loop then you will need to walk out to Reefton using Murray Creek Track.

Lake Daniell Track The track will be closed from the evening of Tuesday 21 October until the evening of Wednesday 22 October. This is during the Te Maruia South aerial 1080 pest control operation, part of our Battle for our Birds programme. The track will be closed while 1080 baits are removed from the track. 

Lewis Pass short walks  Waterfall Track is closed indefinitely.

Waiuta - Prohibition Road  The Prohibition Road at Waiuta is closed at the junction of the Big River to Waiuta track, this is due to heavy machinery operating in the area.

Robinson River & Saddle Track  You will encounter land slips on this track. You need to allow extra time and be an experienced tramper to negotiate your way around them.

Mount Te Kinga/Ara O Te Kinga Track  The section above the first lookout has several large windfall trees and is difficult to navigate.

Tutaekuri Hut  The hut was struck by a tree in the Easter 2014 storm. It is still usable, however the flashing around the chimney has been damaged so there is a leak above the fire. We will repair this as soon as possible.

Easter 2014 storm damage update

All frontcountry tracks have been checked.

We are still assessing backcountry tracks and this exercise will take some time to complete.  In the meantime, allow extra time and be prepared to encounter and negotiate windfalls.  If you are travelling in the back country and come across windfalls or storm damage, please let us know.

For more information contact the Mawhera/Greymouth Office.

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Hokitika area tracks

Hokitika backcountry tracks

  • You may encounter windfalls and slips. You need to allow extra time and be an experienced tramper to negotiate your way around them.
  • If you are travelling in the Hokitika backcountry and come across track damage, please report it to the Hokitika Office (photos and grid references would be appreciated).

Arahura and Styx Valley tracks

  • Styx Valley Track is now very rough with numerous slips to be negotiated. These slips are moving after each rain event and can be difficult to cross by inexperienced people.

    The Styx River has cut into a vertical gravel cliff 20 minutes from the Styx car park. To continue up the valley be prepared to cross the river at normal flow below and above this slip. Parties or individuals that are not confident with river crossing should travel through via the Arahura valley.

Bridge removals:

Due to the deterioration of the following bridges they have been removed and will not be replaced. These bridges have been removed over the past three years:

  • Otehake Swing Bridge, Otehake Valley (E1494326-N5262067)
  • Mungo Swing Bridge, Mungo Valley (E1452630-N5234077)
  • Crawford Junction 6-Wire, Crawford Valley (E1456300-5242200)
  • Hokitika River Cableway, Whitcombe Valley (E1438829-N5235905)
  • Price River Swing Bridge, Whitcombe Valley (E1437336-N5224434)
  • Moonbeam Swing Bridge, Waitaha Valley (E1421731-N5221381)

For more information contact the Hokitika Office.

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Glaciers/Franz Josef area tracks

The Easter 2014 storm has caused extensive windfall damage to tracks in the Glaciers/Franz Josef area.

Currently the following track is closed:

  • Canavans Knob walk

It may be late October at least before this track is open again.

There is likley to be damage on backcountry tracks as well, and trampers and hunters are advised to be prepared for longer than normal walking times.

If you are travelling in the backcountry and come across track damage, please report it to the Franz Josef, Fox Glacier or Haast offices (photos and grid references would be appreciated).

Wanganui Valley

  • Lambert Swingbridge: New six wire swingbridge open (March 2013).
  • Hendes Bridge: New three-wire bridge open (March 2013).
  • Smyth Hut is closed until at least mid-2014 while further site assessments are completed following severe flood damage in the Wanganui valley (January 2013).
  • As a result of heavy rainfall in January 2013, the upper Wanganui valley track between Hunters Hut and Smyth Hut sustained major damage, making access extremely difficult.
  • Smyth swingbridge was destroyed in the above floods and there is no longer bridge access across the Wanganui River at Smyth Hut. 

Whataroa/Perth/Butler valleys 

  • A significant flood/probable river surge event has destroyed the swing bridge across the Butler River (South Branch). The bridge primarily provided access to the track to Ice Lake and for hunting in the area. The bridge was installed in 2009. Crossing the Butler River (South Branch) on foot is possible in low flow conditions. Do not attempt to cross if you are inexperienced at river crossings or when the river is high or in flood. The bridge over the Butler River (South Branch) at this location will not be replaced in the near future. Parties planning on tramping or hunting in the area need to be aware that travel beyond Top Butler Hut can only be achieved if the party is experienced and able to cross the river in suitable conditions on foot
  • A slip has destroyed the Upper Scone swing bridge (July 2014).  Do not attempt to cross if you are inexperienced at river crossings or when the river is high or in flood.  No decision has been made on bridge replacement.

Terrace Walk

  • Open to the bridge only due to flood damage.

Roberts Point Track

  • Roberts Point Track is closed due to severe flood damage, including major structure damage. The track is not expected to reopen until late-2014 at the earliest. Please check at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE for an update closer to your visit.

For more information contact the Franz Josef Office. 

Glacier Valley Walks

  • Access to the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier Valley walks change often due to rain and river valley conditions. Please check at local DOC centres for the most up to date information.

Fox Glacier Office open weekdays (10 am - 2 pm) or Franz Josef Office open seven days.

South Westland area tracks

If you are travelling in the backcountry and come across track damage, please report it to the Franz Josef, Fox or Haast offices (photos and grid references would be appreciated).

Copland Track

  • Please note that in times of severe weather such as sustained and/or heavy rain, the Copland Track may be closed (often at short notice) due to flooding and/or other damage. In instances of closure, notices will be placed at the start of the track. Please check conditions and weather at the nearest DOC office prior to departure. Refunds will be issues in these instances - please contact the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE for details.

Copland Pass

  • Do not attempt the pass unless you have a high level of mountaineering experience and the proper equipment. Please contact DOC Aoraki Mount Cook as part of your planning. Be aware that the cable that hangs down the moraine wall onto the Hooker Glacier is prone to damage - do not use this cable as any significant weight may cause it to break.

Fox Glacier Office open weekdays (10 am to 2 pm) or Franz Josef Office open seven days.


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Contacts

Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:      +64 3 788 8008
Email:   paparoavc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Māwhera / Greymouth Office
Phone:      +64 3 768 0427
Email:   greymouth@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Hokitika Office
Phone:      +64 3 756 9100
Email:   hokitika@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Weheka / Fox Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 751 0807
Email:   foxglacier@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Awarua / Haast Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 750 0809
Address:   Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
Haast
South Westland
Email:   haastvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 435 1186
Address:   1 Larch Grove
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Email:   mtcookvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
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