The Blue Pools new carpark and toilet block, on State Highway 6 near Makarora, the Otago side of the Haast Pass, will be opened for use from this Thursday, 13 February.
The carpark is a joint project of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Te Papa Atawhai Department of Conservation.
In recent years, the Blue Pools’ popularity has seen an overflow of visitors and cars onto the state highway, requiring a safer place for buses and cars to park, says Simon Underwood, Senior Project Manager for the Transport Agency.
The new parking area is opposite the Cameron Flat camp site, on the same side of the highway as the Blue Pools with links to the Blue Pools via an extension to the DOC track.
“The old section of Blue Pools track from the highway to the bridge will be closed off and disestablished, as will the Cameron Link track from the camp site to the highway,” says DOC Operations Manager Mike Tubbs.
“DOC considered various options and concluded that the Cameron Flats site was the best place for the new car park. Key considerations in developing this concept were to provide for visitor safety, the impact on the environment and to enhance the visitor experience,” says Mr Tubbs.
The track to the Blue Pools is now longer, so people need to allow a little longer to enjoy this experience of Mt Aspiring National Park – about 25–30 minutes walking each way.
Mr Underwood notes that the car parking area has been deliberately designed over three terraced levels, following the area’s natural slope, with native plantings to help screen it from the highway and help it blend into the national park environment.
The parking area will have increased parking for cars (61), campervans (21), and buses (6). Visitors to the Blue Pools will no longer be required to negotiate highway traffic when parking or crossing the highway, which gets busy in the peak tourist season.
DOC has installed toilets at the new parking area. The old on-highway parking area will be removed by the Transport Agency and that area returned to native bush.
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