Check conditions, trampers urged

All major Wakatipu tracks and campsites managed by the Department of Conservation are open for the summer holidays, but trampers are urged to check the latest conditions in the Caples and Dart Valleys.

Popular Routeburn, Greenstone-Caples and Rees-Dart tracks were open for use although the public should be aware a new hut in the Mid-Caples was being built and the old hut had been taken down, conservation services manager John Roberts said.

''Trampers in the Caples Valley are not yet able to use the new hut at Mid-Caples [and] camping is not allowed near the construction site,'' Mr Roberts said.

''Hut accommodation is available as normal at the Upper Caples Hut, the recently enlarged McKellar Hut and the Greenstone Hut.''

Some extensive windfalls had been cleared and trampers would notice major upgrades to the Caples, Routeburn and Dart Valley tracks, Mr Roberts said .

''These changes have improved the walking surface; the durability of the tracks. Any construction disturbance is expected to be short-lived.

''Experience has shown that before long natural revegetation will grow over any freshly exposed ground.''

The Doc Wakatipu district office was monitoring slips in the Caples and Dart valleys and trampers were advised to check the latest conditions at the Queenstown Visitor Centre and with the hut wardens in those valleys.

''Diversions around the problem areas may be required if the slips result in further track damage, particularly during periods of heavy rain,'' Mr Roberts said.

''Tramping in the Caples Valley is not advised during poor weather when the river levels are up and the slips are likely to be more active.

''In these conditions, parties should consider travelling through the Greenstone Valley instead.''

Doc campsites, such as 12 Mile Delta, Moke Lake and Kinloch, are also ready for use this summer.

The Lake Sylvan campground, just before the Routeburn Track, was upgraded over the winter. It now has a new water supply, upgraded toilets and a more user-friendly layout.

• For the latest in track conditions, hut tickets and Great Walk bookings, contact the Queenstown Visitor Centre, 38 Shotover St. Summer opening hours are 8.30am to 6pm, seven days a week.