The car park at the bottom of Roys Peak is overflowing – again:
As the resident population in Wanaka multiplies by a factor of three during the Christmas-New Year week, so does the number of cars and vans parked illegally outside the Roys Peak track car park along Mt Aspiring Rd.
Yesterday, the Department of Conservation 100-space vehicle park at the start of the one-day 16km return walk overflowed into the adjacent road verge for up to half a kilometre north.
Boxing Day is traditionally the day when boat owners launch their boats into Lake Wanaka and many used the Glendhu Bay boat ramp.
At times, cars towing boats had to drive on the other side of the road to avoid the cars and vans parked illegally on the edge of Mt Aspiring Rd. . .
The park was enlarged a couple of years ago but still isn’t big enough for holiday crowds. It won’t help that two other popular tramps – Rob Roy Glaciar and Rocky Point – are closed.
But don’t panic, the Minister of Conservation has a solution:
On a recent visit to Wanaka, Ms Sage said she was aware of the popularity of Roys Peak and the parking congestion issues and was considering introducing a charge for private vehicles in the car park as a way to increase the use of public transport to and from the hike.
Who would police the parking and how much would parking fees and fines have to be to cover the costs of the policing?
What public transport would that be and how would it be scheduled to cope with all the people who start and finish the tramp at all hours of the day and night?
There are taxis in Wanaka but using them would double the number of trips to and from the bottom of the hill.
The only buses go to and from Wanaka to other towns, nowhere near the track which is on a no-exit road that ends at Aspiring Station.
And surely even a Green MP wouldn’t be considering light rail from Wanaka to Roys Peak.
That leaves walking, biking, running or driving. Most people will consider going up and down the hill enough exercise and still opt for driving whether or not there are enough parks.