The Lady Bowen Falls walking track at Milford Sound has reopened to the public for the first time in 15 years. PHOTO: Grant Grieve
Milford Sound's Lady Bowen Falls walk officially reopened on Monday for the first time in more than 15 years.
Closed to the public since 2002 due to concerns around rock and tree slides, the track now bypasses the unsafe 120m section of track by using a boat to transport walkers past this section.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind said DOC and Milford Sound Tourism Limited had been working together since 2014 to get the track reopened. In the past it was one of the most popular short activities in Milford Sound.
"Lady Bowen Falls has a lot of history, and at a lofty 162m high it's one of those bucket list items people have on their lists to see when they come to Fiordland National Park."
Milford Sound Tourism (formerly Milford Sound Development Authority) general manager Tim Holland said it was fantastic to be able to provide another memorable activity for visitors to Milford Sound to enjoy.
"After exploring many different options, we decided boat transport was the safest way to manage that part of the track. Plus, it'll provide a whole new experience for people at one of New Zealand's most iconic sites."
The walk now begins from the wharf at Freshwater Basin. A purpose-built boat will transport walkers 120m across the basin, disembarking on a small pontoon. From there the track meanders through native bush before winding its way up to a viewing area of Lady Bowen Falls, with Mitre Peak visible on the other side of the fiord.
The entire return journey including the boat ride and walk is estimated to take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
The track re-opened on Monday, January 29 and costs $10 per adult and $5 per child for the boat ride. There will be an official opening ceremony on Thursday, March 15.