Exploring a new Eglinton overnight tramping opportunity
We’ve initiated exploration of a potential overnight tramp put forward by the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC) as an alternative to an option included in the Milford Opportunities Masterplan.
The masterplan proposed a Great Walk style ‘easy tramping track’ and high-standard hut (up to 80 bunks) for Mistake Creek in the upper Eglinton Valley. The track would start from and return to the Ōtāpara Cascade Creek campsite. The track proposal also included two short walks from the hut site to viewpoints further up valley from the hut. The 2-day out-and-back walk was proposed to complement the other shorter and longer walks already offered along the corridor.
Through engagement with local walking groups, NZAC, DOC and others, concerns were raised about the proposal’s potential impact on an existing experience that is highly valued locally. Concerns were also raised about the potential to draw less experienced visitors into hazardous terrain further up valley.
As a result, NZAC’s Southland Section has investigated and proposed an alternative location for the overnight tramp. NZAC’s proposal is located on the western side of the Countess Range, further back down the Eglinton Valley near the Fiordland National Park boundary.
NZAC’s proposal is for an ‘advanced tramping track’ and a smaller, simpler 20-bunk hut. The hut would be located above bushline with expansive views up the Eglinton Valley, across to the Earl Mountains and Lake Te Anau, and south along the Livingstone Mountains. The track and hut would provide an experience similar to Brewster Hut near Haast Pass and Mt Brown Hut near Hokitika.
We’ve agreed to test this proposal as part of our assessment of the feasibility of the other proposals in the masterplan. As the original proposal was for an ‘easy tramping track’ and high-standard hut the Transport & Infrastructure Team will also test the proposal through this lens – providing an opportunity for less experienced users. The Mistake Creek proposal will only be re-visited if the Countess Range proposals prove to be infeasible, taking the feedback we’ve received to date into account.
Take a look at NZAC’s proposed overnight tramp (PDF, 4.82MB)