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SKI TOURING ROUTE TO LINK QUEENSTOWN AND WANAKA SKI AREAS

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August, 2019

Ski tourers could be gliding along a new route between Coronet Peak

and Treble Cone skifields by next winter.

Details of the 45km route and five alpine huts are in a resource consent

application lodged with the Queenstown Lakes District Council last

week.

The Mahu Whenua Traverse will run along the backbone of the Harris

Mountains, crossing Coronet Peak Station and public conservation land.

The man behind it, Arrowtown adventurer Erik Bradshaw, said he would

soon form a club to build and manage the huts, which were four-bunk

"Turk" huts of his own design.

Since unveiling the proposal in the Otago Daily Times last December, he

had made several trips into the area "stomping around" looking for the

best sites.

The sites chosen were on Coronet Saddle, Vanguard Peak, Mt St Just, Mt

Hyde and Motatapu Saddle.

The application, prepared by Boffa Miskell, said the huts and separate

toilet structures required consent because they would sit on an

outstanding natural landscape, and indigenous vegetation would need to

be cleared to build their foundations.

They would have "less than minor" adverse effects on the landscape

because of their small scale and "recessive" colour.

The insulated and double-glazed four-bunk huts would be built in

Arrowtown and flown by helicopter to their sites.

They would have rainwater tanks and solar panels to power a light and

electronic charging station.

Each hut would be accompanied by a long-drop toilet in a separate

structure.

Managed by an online booking system, the huts would be used by

members of the Mountain Turk Club, either for the winter ski traverse or

tramping in the warmer months.

However, they would remain unlocked and available for use as

emergency shelters, the application said.

The land's leaseholder and the Commissioner of Crown Lands have given

the proposal their approval.

Mr Bradshaw said a sixth hut, which had been near Mt Sale for the past

two years, had been included in the application, but was not part of the

skiing route.

Easily accessible from Arrowtown, it would be available for use by

club members.

He expected construction of the huts would begin within six weeks, and

they would be airlifted to their sites by the end of the coming summer.

The club's founding meeting would be held in Queenstown some time

next month, he said.

Source: Otago Daily Times

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