Whanganui Bay Access
Whanganui Bay is a Māori reservation belonging to the hapū Ngāti Te Maunga and managed by a Trust made up of descendants. Climber access to this special area has been under review for several years. In partnership with NZAC, the hapū and the Trust have agreed to trial a climbing ‘season’ at the Bay this year.
The trial season will start on 1 August 2019 and run for 4 months. The last day for climbing will be 30 November 2019.
Climbers must register and pay for every day they intend to access Whanganui Bay. The fee is $20 per climber per day (irrespective of whether you climb, belay or just offer moral support). Children under 14 are free, provided they are with a parent or other legal guardian who has registered.
Specific access terms apply and all climbers must comply with those terms. Registration and access terms can be found at: http://whanganuibay.alpineclub.org.nz.
Valid registrations for each day are publicly displayed on the website. If you are at the Bay on a day and have not registered, not only will this be visible to the hapū, the Trustees and other climbers, but you will jeopardise continued access for all climbers.
Climbers should familiarise themselves with all access times and locations. Some key points include:
- There is a car curfew between 8pm and 7am each day.
- The website contains a map that shows specifically where climbers can park vehicles, camp, walk and climb. The areas open to climbers are Whekenui, Plateau (including the Lobo area) and Mangakara. Climbers are not permitted to access any other parts of the reservation without written permission from the Trust.
- The climb “Tibia” is permanently closed to climbing.
- Only recreational climber access is permitted; commercial use of any type (eg. commercial instruction, guiding, education) requires a separate agreement with the Trust.
An opening weekend event will be held on 3-4 August 2019. This is a great opportunity for climbers to show their support for this partnership initiative and enjoy some great climbing.
If the trial season is a success, then climbers can look forward to an annual winter season at the North Island’s best crag.
Some climbers may be discouraged by the regulated nature of access. But, in a time of significant crag access issues on public and private land both in New Zealand and abroad, climbing management arrangements like this are the best way to preserve climbing opportunities in a manner that addresses landowner concerns, mitigates climber impact and promotes a long-term sustainable relationship. Remember, Whanganui Bay is an irreplaceable resource for climbers and any access is a privilege.
Posted By: Karen Tait