Trampers can now enjoy easier access to New Zealand’s Hunter Valley Station with an agreement with American lessee Matt Lauer.
Mr Lauer, who was famously fired from the Today Show in 2017, bought the Hunter Valley lease for $13 million last year.
But trampers had voiced their frustration that the lease prevented travel across the station to the Hāwea Conservation Park.
Access through this part of the country has been incredibly difficult.
Mr Lauer’s company Orange Lakes has agreed to permit up to six vehicles per day during high seasons (December to April) for a $35 fee.
Instead of ringing up for permission, trampers now can fill out a form online through the Department of Conservation and Hunter Valley Station websites. The $35 fees will be used to help maintain the access road.
Federation of Mountain Clubs president Peter Wilson has applauded the move.
“For the last 40 years, access through this part of the country has been incredibly difficult,” he said.
The land is still accessible by foot and on mountain bikes year-round, apart from during lambing season from October to December.
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Mr Wilson told RadioLIVE that the new rules are still in a trial phase, with potential to increase the vehicle quota in the future.
“I think [Mr Lauer] relented because he’s starting to understand the obligations and duties that come with being a New Zealand land owner – that you provide reasonable access for the public.”
Listen to the full interview with Peter Wilson above.