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Reopened . . . The Hooker Valley track at Aoraki/Mt Cook has reopened six months after it was closed due to flood damage. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Greta Yeoman

The Hooker Valley track in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park has reopened.

The popular three-hour-return track was closed to the public in March following flood damage.

But six months and 257m of new track later, the walkway reopened last week.

Department of Conservation senior ranger David Dittmer said the location of the repair site at the walkway’s second bridge – an hour’s walk in – had made work difficult, as all the equipment had to be delivered by helicopter.

Repairs began only early last month because the winter conditions had made it impossible earlier in the season.

However, contractors had still undertaken $150,000 worth of repair work between snowfalls, rain, hail and the valley’s freezing fog, Mr Dittmer said.

The Hooker Valley track finishes at the Hooker glacial lake, with views (on a clear day) up to Aoraki/Mt Cook.

It also provides access to Sefton Bivouac, Copland Shelter, Empress Hut and the Ball Pass Crossing.

The same storm event that damaged the bridge and track also destroyed the Waiho bridge on the West Coast and indefinitely closed the access road to the Fox Glacier valley.

An estimated one million people visited Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park in the 2018-19 summer season.

More than 120,000 of them walked the Hooker Valley Track.