map conservation milford


Remaking the Milford

Project: Southern South Island Flood Recovery Milford Track Repair

Date: September 2020 – November 2020

Client: Department of Conservation

Location: Milford Track, Fiordland National Park


In early February 2020 the Fiordland area received a rainfall event of “biblical proportions” in the vicinity of 800 mm in 24 hours. Despite the region being renowned for its rainfall, the intensity of this event caused significant damage to the Milford Track with a number of slips and washouts occurring.


Nelmac was asked to provide the Department of Conservation a price to undertake the repair works. In order to do so an initial site visit was required. The remoteness of the location (to Nelson) meant this alone took three days.

The remoteness of the location along with the weather were two of the major challenges (and of course those world-renowned sandflies). All the equipment and personnel for the job had to be flown in by helicopter, so thorough planning was critical to ensure the operations went smoothly. Once all our gear was on site, at each subsequent location where work was completed, all the onsite gear had to be shifted by helicopter. There were six distinct locations which required repair works.

Staff lived on site in bivvy’s. This meant having to walk up to two hours each day to reach the outer work sites. At the far end of the worksite, staff camped in tents for a week (this tested the wet weather capability of the tents).

The crew had to battle the elements; rain was a constant. At times too heavy to work safely in.

With an advertised reopening date, there was pressure to complete the project before the track walkers started using the track again.

In short

  • 6 slip or washout sites repaired, or new track formed
  • 20+ hours of helicopter flying
  • Careful use of explosives required to remove rock and debris
  • Worked carried out in extremely adverse conditions of rain, wind and cold (snow)
  • Project completed within the specified time frame

Looking for a conservation partner for your next project? Contact Nelmac on 0800 635 622 to learn more.

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