Paving a stairway to heaven

02:22, Apr 08 2012
sealy tarns steps close up
Contractors have repaired and added steps to the Sealy Tarns Track.

A popular Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park track has had a facelift.

Work to repair the Sealy Tarns walk which leads up to Mueller Hut in the park was completed on Thursday.

Since the end of November contractors have been rebuilding steps, putting in new ones, and spreading gravel on the track which rises steeply up the Sealy Range.

sealy tarns track work
Gravel was flown up by helicopter to resurface the Sealy Tarns Track.

"There's about 1800 steps up it," Department of Conservation programme manager Dave Winterburn said. "[The contractors] counted them up."

The track starts at about an elevation of 850m and rises to about 1300m, he said.

The gravelling work had been carried out in four lots of two day periods. Gravel was placed in three drums which were attached to a helicopter and flown up to the track. On Wednesday alone the helicopter flew about 260 times, he said.


The Sealy Tarns Track had been there for some time, but the existing steps were put in during the 80s, Mr Winterburn said.

Although some reparation work had been carried out on the track over the years, it had become run down and damaged in places.

Even with the new stairs and gravel the track was a demanding day walk, taking at least two to three hours depending on fitness, he said.

Officially the Sealy Tarns Track is part of the Hooker/Mueller Valley walks but it has picked up another informal title with some DOC staff at Mt Cook village: the stairway to heaven.

While some people were joking with the name, Mr Winterburn agreed it was an impressive walk.

The Timaru Herald