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Investment package to boost Glacier Country tourism

The West Coast’s Glacier Country will receive a significant investment to boost the area’s spectacular visitor attractions, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced.

The $3.9 million investment is funded by the International Visitor Tourism and Conservation Levy, as part of the Government’s plan for sustainable tourism.

The package will help support the Fox River area following the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) decision not to reopen the access road to Te Moeka o Tuawe/the Fox River valley.

"From the Tasman Sea through old growth, lowland rainforests to the snow-capped peaks of Ka Tiritiri o te Moana/the Southern Alps, South Westland is one of the most striking places on earth," Eugenie says.

"This investment recognises that and opens up new opportunities for visitors to experience this special part of New Zealand."

DOC, with support from Te Runanga o Makaawhio, Westland District Council, MBIE and the local community, identified the package of attractions to sustain tourism in the area and build the Glacier Country’s economic resilience.

The package includes:

  • Redesigning the Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe experience and valley walks and creating a carpark and cycle/walkway for access to the south side of the valley and glacier views, and building trails to connect existing facilities.
  • Collaborating with Nga¬Åi Tahu and Te Runanga o Makaawhio to develop a day walk to Lake Gault, which has reflection views of the mountains and forests and will incorporate rowi kiwi and lowland forest stories. This walk extends the walking options at Lake Matheson.
  • Developing and promoting the easy access Peak Viewpoint which offers stunning views of the Southern Alps/Ka¬Å Tiritiri o te Moana.
  • Re-opening the coastal walkway to Galway Beach which provides a mix of alpine views, coastal forests, wetlands and wildlife.
  • Extending the cycle/walking trail on Cook Flat Rd from Fox Glacier township to Lake Matheson.
  • Re-configuring car-parking at Lake Matheson to provide for additional users displaced from the glacier valley.
  • Refreshing road signage and visitor information.

"While the valley’s dynamic geology and climate creates dramatic landscapes, it and the intense March storm event, have caused the loss of walking and road access to the terminal face of Fox Glacier."

Eugenie made the announcement at Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier township on Saturday. She highlighted the importance of the investment to supporting sustainable tourism on the West Coast.

"The government is committed to supporting the area at this time through investing in diverse, enduring and exceptional experiences in nature," Eugenie says.

"Westland is still wide open for business. This investment will increase the many ways that visitors can enjoy Fox Glacier and the wider region, despite the closure of the glacier valley access road."

Kelvin Davis says the early IVL investment means that the majority of this work can start immediately and will be completed this summer.

"Tourism is important to the West Coast and we’re committed to ensuring that tourism continues to benefit communities, visitors and the environment long into the future," says Kelvin.

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