The Tuapeka Mouth ferry. Photo by Rachel Taylor.
Maintenance work on the historic Tuapeka Mouth Ferry will
begin soon and the ferry is expected to be out of action until
late next month.
The ferry, also called the Tuapeka Mouth Punt, is funded by
the Clutha District Council under its road maintenance
contracts and is treated much like a bridge. Use of the ferry
Council district assets manager Jules Witt said operation of
the ferry was initially suspended on January 10 because of
flooding and high flows on the Clutha River.
It was later suspended further as a result of damage to the
ramp anchor point on the Tuapeka Mouth side.
Planned maintenance and repairs to the ferry had been
prioritised under the council's bridge repairs contract for
the 2012-13 year, which was awarded to SouthRoads Ltd, he
said. The ferry was expected to resume operating late next
The contract includes repair and maintenance work to the
ferry, including replacing the timber deck and handrails on
both ramps, replacing steel beams on one ramp and
construction of a new anchor system.
The repairs had been given priority under the contract to
ensure the ferry was operational again as soon as possible,
Mr Witt said.
A riding trail of the Otago Goldfields Cavalcade was due to
use the punt next Thursday, but had to alter its plans.
Gambler's Last Hand trail boss Stu Moore said it was
disappointing the trail would not be able to use the ferry
''It's a shame - it [the punt] was part of the spin on the
Horses would be transported from the Rongahere punt site to
Tuapeka Mouth by horse float, and would carry on as planned,
riding from Tuapeka Mouth to Tapanui through the back of the
Blue Mountains, Mr Moore said.
The Tuapeka Mouth Ferry is about 30km northwest of Balclutha.
It normally crosses the Clutha River daily between 8am and
10am, and 4pm and 6pm. The New Zealand Transport Agency funds
60% of the punt's costs.
The historic punt was used mainly as a tourist attraction,
but some locals also used it on a regular basis and Mr Witt
apologised for any inconvenience caused.