Hump Ridge Great Walk Project
IntroductionThis project to upgrade Tuatapere’s Hump Ridge Track to Great Walk standard is well underway.
The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track opened as a multi-day hike in November 2001 and is managed by the Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust.
In 2019 the track was chosen from a number of proposed tracks to be upgraded to Great Walk standard to offer visitors a safer, smoother experience across its stunning and challenging terrain.
Located in Te Wāhipounamu, the south-west corner of the South Island, the track journeys through spectacular and diverse landscapes, including seascapes, sandy beaches, native forests and an alpine environment with soaring limestone tors.
About the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track
The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track is a 3-day, 61 km loop walk, that takes trampers along the south coast of western Southland, up to the sub-alpine zone of the Hump Ridge and over historic viaducts (bridges) surrounded by native forest.
The idea for this track came after a ban on native logging in the mid-1980s saw the loss of NZ Forestry Services from Tuatapere. In 1988 the Tuatapere & Districts Promotions Group suggested the construction of a tramping track to support the community, by creating jobs and bringing income to the area from visiting track walkers.
The community embraced the idea and provided numerous volunteer hours, skills, tools and resources to create the track between 1994 and 2001.
The Hump Ridge track opened in November 2001, operated by a not-for-profit business, Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Inc., on behalf of the Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust.
The track currently begins at the Rarakau carpark, which is located about 30 km from Tuatapere. It traverses several South Island Landless Native Act (SILNA) blocks before it crosses into Fiordland National Park. The southern section of the walk follows the DOC-managed South Coast Track.
The area has a rich history. The stories of mana whenua/iwi and the forestry heritage, including the viaducts and Port Craig, will be part of the experience upgrade.
About the project
The goal of this project is to upgrade the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track to a higher/Great Walk standard and make it a world-class visitor experience reflecting the significant cultural and heritage values of the area, and inspiring increased conservation advocacy.
The aim is for it to be a world-class visitor experience that reflects the significant cultural and heritage values of the area and inspires increased conservation advocacy.
Although the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track has been operationing as a multi-day hike for more than 20 years, work is needed to bring it to the Great Walk standard. This includes upgrades to the track surface, structures and carpark, as well as the interpretation and storytelling package.
There are several challenges to be addressed for this project to succeed. These include:
- bringing the South Coast Track up to Great Walk standard, including fixing drainage
- ensuring legal access across all private land that the track crosses
- ensuring safety concerns on and around the track are addressed
- ensuring the viaducts can be managed and maintained for long term public access.
Working with others
The DOC Strategic Projects Team leads the project with oversight from a Governance Group that includes mana whenua, namely Te Rūnanga o Ōraka-Aparima, the Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust and the track operating business, the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Inc.
The project team are also working with the various stakeholders that have a relationship to the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, including SILNA representatives, Rowallan Alton Inc., Southland District Council, Heritage New Zealand and Port Craig Viaducts Charitable Trust.
The track crosses land managed by DOC and Southland District Council, SILNA blocks, as well as areas owned by Rowallan Alton Inc. and other private individuals or groups.
The Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust will continue to manage and operate the track and facilities during and after the upgrade project.
The project is expected to benefit the local area – through additional employment, business opportunities and increased tourism/visitor spend.
There has already been an increase in bookings for the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track since the 2019 Great Walk upgrade announcement.
The project set-up and supporting work started in 2020. The track construction phase was started in late 2022. Originally forecast for completion in late 2023, the project has been extended to October 2024 to allow more time after supply chain delays, weather conditions and working on arduous terrain slowed progress.
The 61 km track has been divided into sections so the construction contracting teams can do the track upgrade work on different sections at the same time and focus on the sections most in need of repair/upgrade.
Timeframes and key tasks
June 2019 – September 2021
- Announcement of the decision to upgrade the Hump Ridge Track to Great Walk standard.
- Project team formed.
- Development of relationships with partners and key stakeholders.
- Background work started – including governance, legal, financial, compliance, land access, asset management, track and structures assessment, historical and heritage evaluations etc.
- Community information day in Tuatapere – see presentation in project documents below.
- Completion of the scoping of the construction work required to bring the track up to Great Walk statndard.
- Launch of project webpage and project newsletter – see project documents.
- Request for Tenders (RFT) for the track upgrade (excluding Section D) released on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS). This is the process used to inform and invite registered contractors to tender for work.
- Initiation of the plan for upgrading Track Section D. This work is separate to the tender process due to the track being in very muddy condition and needing urgent repair.
- A Whakatau te whenua held by mana whenua mana moana of the rohe Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka. This is a ceremony to settle the land, bless the track and clear the way for track construction work to begin.
- The contractor begins the upgrade work at Track Section D.
- Publication of a project newsletter – see project documents.
Approval of the detailed business case that confirmed the project budget and expected work.
Key details are:
- the project capital expenditure costs will be $7.9m.
- the project will deliver a track to Great Walk standard at the Hump Ridge location by upgrading the track surface and structures
- this includes a new swing bridge at the Edwin Burn to bypass the Edwin Burn Viaduct. Note: the viaduct is not being removed or is it unsafe - this bridge will provide an alternative crossing should the viaduct become unusable.
- the work listed also includes an extension of car parking at Rarakau and an entrance Waharoa (gateway), shelter and additional toilets.
- high-level experience design, which includes storytelling and interpretation, is approved for detailed development.
- work on the detailed assessment for the protection of the heritage and cultural values/impacts for the track and environs, including a conservation heritage plan for Port Craig.
- the main construction phase will begin mid-late 2022 and continue well into 2023 (see below).
- the project was initially forecast for completion in late 2023 (see below).
July to December 2022
- Contractual agreements, planning and scheduling of all approved project works with successful contractors completed.
- Rarakau car park design works completed.
- Community information day in Tuatapere – see presentation in project documents.
- Project newsletter published – see project documents.
- Contractor completed upgrade work at Track Section D and O.
- Procurement process initiated for the interpretation and story-telling package.
January - March 2023
- Contractor started upgrade work at Track Section A and C.
- Request for Tenders (RFT) for the carpark upgrade released on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS). This is the process used to inform and invite registered contractors to tender for work.
- Publication of project newsletter – see project documents.
April - September 2023
- Contractor completed upgrade work at Track Section A, started upgrade work at Track Section B and J and continued upgrade work at Track Section C.
- Completion of the tendering and construction process for Rarakau car park upgrade works.
- Development of detailed work for the storytelling and interpretation packages.
- Publication of project newsletter – see project documents.
- Users, stakeholders, and local community advised of the temporary closure of the Rarakau carpark for redevelopment upgrade works along with the expected timeframes, anticipated impacts, and recommended actions by users.
- Public announcement that the project work will continue into 2024, with the project completion now forecast for October 2024.
- Development work around storytelling and interpretation packages.
- Making and installing storytelling and interpretation infrastructure.
- Upgrade works at Rarakau carpark.
- Work on negotiating legal easements with landowners to secure public access.
- Development of the Waharoa (gateway) for the track entrance.
- Monitoring heritage and cultural values/impacts for the track and environs.
- Planning for annual community information session in Tuatapere.
- Sharing project news via regular newsletters, articles, or reports.
- Updating this web page as the project develops.
If you want to know more about the project, or be added to the distribution list for the project newsletters, email HumpRidgeGWP@doc.govt.nz.
This is a shared project mailbox that is monitored regularly and one of the project team will get back to you.
- Project newsletter (PDF, 2,340K) 11 October 2023
- Community update presentation (PDF, 12,527K) 11 October 2023
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,883 K) 25 May 2023
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,187K) 22 February 2023
- Project newsletter (PDF, 762K) 13 October 2022
- Community update presentation (PDF, 11,816K) 13 October 2022
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,155K) 21 April 2022
- Community update presentation (PDF, 13,357K) 18 October 2021
- Project newsletter (PDF, 1,213K) 18 October 2021