It's official - Again!
Hiking enthusiasts from around New Zealand and the rest of the world can once again enjoy Great Barrier Island's incredible 3 day hiking experience... The Aotea Track.
In June 2014, "the worst storm in living memory" wreaked havoc and destruction across Great Barrier Island. It destroyed homes & roads and permanently altered the landscape in some areas of the island. Arguably the saddest result though, being the loss of the magnificent Kaiaraara Kauri dam remains.
The Kaiaraara Track, an integral section of the Aotea Track also endured extensive damage and ever since, hikers have had to use the South Fork track as an alternative route between the Kaiaraara and Mt Heale huts.
Up until now that is! On Friday 20th May 2016 Nikki Kaye, the MP for Auckland Central, officially reopened the Aotea Track.
The reconstruction of the Kaiaraara track and subsequent reopening of the Aotea Track has been a primary focus for the Department of Conservation.
It was a sizeable undertaking with 5 bridges and 13 different sections of the track requiring full restoration at a cost of $353,000.
"The Aotea Track is a world-class multi-day track and the centrepiece of the Aotea Conservation Park" said the Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry. "The park covers more than 40 per cent of Great Barrier and was opened last year. It features beautiful native bush including Kauri, Rimu and the Great Barrier tree daisy, which is unique to the island. Walkers also have the opportunity to see Kaka, Kakariki and Fernbirds among other native wildlife, all within a 30 minute flight from Auckland."
Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye agrees. "It's a vital tourist attraction and economic asset to the Island. "Now that the Aotea Track redevelopment is complete, I am going to ask that consideration be given for the track to get greater recognition. I expect to seek advice from local and central Government over the coming months about how we can do this."
In a recent post on her site, Nikki recognised the hard work of DOC staff who worked tirelessly alongside the local community and Board members to repair the track during the last two years. "Their commitment to the track redevelopment has ensured that New Zealanders and tourists alike can experience the beauty of the 25 kilometre track."
Nikki appreciates the island as a special part of New Zealand and believes that the Governments investment in the track will provide an important boost for the islands tourism industry. "I would love to see more New Zealanders visit and experience Great Barrier Island."