Mount Aspiring National Park

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Mount Aspiring National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Matukituki valley.jpg
West Matukituki Valley and the Matukituki River seen from Cascade Saddle.
Map showing the location of Mount Aspiring National Park
Map showing the location of Mount Aspiring National Park
Map of New Zealand
Nearest city Wanaka, New Zealand
Coordinates 44°23′S 168°44′E / 44.383°S 168.733°E / -44.383; 168.733Coordinates: 44°23′S 168°44′E / 44.383°S 168.733°E / -44.383; 168.733
Area 3555 km²
Established 1964
Governing body Department of Conservation

Mount Aspiring National Park is located in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand, north of Fiordland National Park, and between Otago and south Westland. The park forms part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.

Geography[edit]

It was established in 1964 as New Zealand's tenth National Park. The park covers 3,555 km² at the southern end of the Southern Alps, directly to the west of Lake Wanaka, and is popular for tramping, walking and mountaineering. Mount Aspiring / Tititea (3033 m) is the mountain which gives the park its name. Other prominent peaks within the park include Mount Pollux (2542 m) and Mount Brewster (2519 m).

The Haast Pass, one of the three principal road routes across the Southern Alps, is found in the north-eastern corner of the park.

History[edit]

Landsborough Station added[edit]

In April 2005 the Nature Heritage Fund purchased private land in the Landsborough River valley as an addition to the park.[1]

Milford Sound tunnel proposal[edit]

In 2006, the Milford Dart Company asked the Department of Conservation to amend the Mt Aspiring National Park Management Plan to allow an additional road within the park for a bus tunnel, the so-called Milford Tunnel, from the Routeburn Road to the Hollyford Valley to take tourists to Milford Sound.[2] The tunnel would have established a connection via Glenorchy and would have significantly reduced the current return travel time from Queenstown to Milford Sound of 9 hours.[3]

In December 2007, the New Zealand Conservation Authority declined to adopt the amendment to the Management Plan. The Conservation Authority considered the proposed road would not add to the use and enjoyment of Mount Aspiring National Park and that the adverse effects of construction and use of the road in the National Park would outweigh any benefits.[4]

The proposal gained approval in principle by the Department of Conservation in 2011, but was rejected by the Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith, in July 2013. Smith stated that "the proposal was beyond what was appropriate for a World Heritage Area." The managing director of the company behind the proposal stated that he was "disappointed of course. National trying to out-green the greens. Going skiing."[3]

Tourism[edit]

Tramping/hiking[edit]

Popular tramping tracks in the park include:

  • Gillespie Pass circuit
  • Matukituki Valley
  • Routeburn Track
  • Rees-Dart circuit

Mining[edit]

In 2009 the National-led government of New Zealand has indicated that Mount Aspiring National Park may be opened up to mining. Around 20% of the total area of the park, mainly in the western portions around the Red Hill Range, and the north eastern parts could be removed from the park and mined.[5][6] Prospectors here are particularly interested in carbonatite deposits including Rare earth elements and tungsten. The Green Party has warned that the park is one of New Zealand's main tourism drawcards, and that mining here could do significant damage to the country's image.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Honourable Chris Carter, Landsborough Station purchased for national park, Media Release, New Zealand Government, 22 April 2005
  2. ^ "Amendment to park plan proposed for Milford Dart" (Press release). New Zealand Conservation Authority. 8 March 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Fox, Michael (17 July 2013). "Government rejects Milford Tunnel". The Press. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Roading Amendment to National Park Management Plan is declined" (Press release). Kerry Marshall, Chair, NZ Conservation Authority. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  5. ^ Green Party - documents released under the OIA.
  6. ^ "Leaked report recommends mining option for Mt Aspiring". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Cumming, Geoff (6 March 2010). "Miners press to enter the green zone". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 

External links[edit]