Steps boost accessibility

Climbing down the upgraded steps on the Kurow Hill Track is Anne McKenzie, the recent recipient...
Climbing down the upgraded steps on the Kurow Hill Track is Anne McKenzie, the recent recipient of a new hip. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
More people can now make a start up Kurow Hill on foot, thanks to new steps.

Kurow Hill Track Viewpoint Accessibility Project recently had the steps installed, after receiving funding that allowed it to achieve its goal of making the track more accessible.

The 1.1km track rises 250m above Kurow township, providing spectacular views over the Waitaki Valley, the Waitaki River and Hakataramea Valley. Built in 1989, the track is on Awakino Station and the public have been using it for more than 40 years.

Kurow Hill Track group spokeswoman Karen Turner said Ranfurly local Anne McKenzie, 73, who recently had a hip replacement, had not been able to walk up the track for a long time, due to the original steps eroding, making it difficult to navigate.

The recent upgrades had changed that.

"Last week, Anne walked up Kurow Hill, made possible by the new steps.

"I’m absolutely pleased. It’s a popular walking track for the able and has just become more popular ... and better, with more accessibility with proper steps."

The accessibility project had been in the making for more than a year.

The group received $11,500 from the Waitaki District Council, $7814.11 from Meridian Energy Power Up fund and $1750 from the Network Waitaki Powering Our Community fund for the project.

The group plans to add more steps where they are needed further up the hill and continue to maintain the track.

"Our volunteers maintain the track by cutting back overhanging growth in spring and we have about six arm chairs strategically placed up the hill for people to be able to sit and enjoy the views.

"Even if people just make it to the first corner, they will be able to see the landscape of Kurow township and the Waitaki River below," she said.