Hokitika Gorge more popular than DOC thought
The Department of Conservation will reassess the way it counts visitor numbers to the Hokitika Gorge because the attraction may be even more popular than previously thought.
Over the Christmas period local residents observed that the car park at the gorge — which has space for two bus parks and 16 car parks —had become congested due to the number of cars and campervans.
Although DOC Hokitika area manager Ian McClure said there were no plans to extend the car park, staff would evaluate the site during an on-site survey next summer to decide whether or not an extension to facilities was required.
While visitor numbers for 2011 had not yet been analysed, 21,000 visitors were recorded in 2010 by the existing track counter. However, the actual number of visitors may be higher than had been recorded, he said.
“The track counter is currently sited past the swingbridge. Staff working out at the gorge notice that many people only go as far as the viewing platform and estimate that up to 70% more people visit the car park and viewing platform than go as far as the counter.
“We plan to install another track counter between the car park and viewing platform within the next few weeks. This additional track counter will provide a truer figure of visitors to the site.”