Chris' Blog
Great Walks to be cheaper for under 18s
Posted: Saturday 29 September 2007 by Chris

Hut and campsite fees for children and young people aged under 18 will be free from July next year on New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, including the Whanganui Journey.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced the initiative on the Abel Tasman Coast Track today, on the eve of this year’s Conservation Week (August 6 –12), the theme of which is outdoor recreation.

“This initiative is designed to reduce the barriers to more young people walking New Zealand’s most spectacular tracks with their family, their friends or with school groups,” Mr Carter said.

“As our population becomes more urbanised, it is crucial we make it as easy as we can for young people to switch off the TV and the playstation and discover the outdoors. Only through first-hand experience will young New Zealanders fully appreciate the importance of preserving our natural environment, and its significance to our national identity.

“By abolishing fees for those under 18, we can reduce by a third the cost of walking the Abel Tasman Coast Track for a family of two adults and two teenagers. The cost of three nights in huts on the track drops from $270 to $180. The savings are even more pronounced on more expensive Great Walks like the Milford Track,” Mr Carter said.

“This intiative fufills a key recommendation from the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Summit last year to improve access to the outdoors, and it also complements the Labour-led government’s wider work to tackle obesity, foster recreation and tourism, and enhance the time working people have to spend with their families.”

The nine Great Walks are:

  • Lake Waikaremoana,
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit,
  • Heaphy Track,
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track,
  • Kepler Track,
  • Routeburn Track,
  • Milford Track,
  • the Rakiura Track,
  • and the Whanganui Journey.

Click here to view.
Source: Department of Conservation

Mt Ruapehu Lahar
Posted: Monday 19 March 2007 by Chris

A lahar at the lake yesterday released 1.3 million cubic metres of water and debris which had accumulated behind a dam of soft rock built up by the 1995 volcanic eruptions.

That reduced the lake level by about 6m and nearby roads and railways were closed while the lahar emptied into Whangaehu River.

Nobody was injured and only minor damage to property was reported.

The dam of soft rock was completely washed away, meaning no more lahars like yesterday's were now expected.

The lowered crater lake at Mt Ruapehu is now at a higher risk of hydrothermal "steam-driven" eruptions, GNS Science experts say.

Mr Wakelin said water was flowing out of the lake's natural outlet as it had before the 1995 eruption.

"Now you've actually got a lake that finally can just flow in normal fashion."

He said Whangaehu River was still dirty with mud and debris, but flow levels were returning to normal.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

AA 101 Must Do's for Kiwis
Posted: Saturday 10 February 2007 by Chris

Visiting Mitre Peak and Milford Sound is the country's No 1 "must-do" experience - but most Kiwis reckon there's no great reason to visit Parliament.

Or so says a 101 must-do list of the best sights, attractions and adventures on offer in New Zealand.

The Automobile Association five-month survey garnered 20,000 votes from the public which resulted in few surprises among the top choices such as Doubtful Sound, Bay of Islands, Fiordland and Abel Tasman National Park.

Click here to view.
Source: New Zealand Herald

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