Lake Taupo access review

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Stewart, C.; Johnston, D.M.; Newall, M. 2003 Lake Taupo access review . Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 2003/03 54 p.

Abstract: In general, recreational access to Lake Taupo and its surrounds is considered to be excellent, as a consequence of the Taupo Waters and Fishing Rights Agreement made between Ngati Tuwharetoa and the government of the day in the 1920s. The subsequent Maori Land Amendment and Maori Land Claims Adjustment Act 1926 conferred the establishment of a public right of way around the margin of the lake, and foot access along most rivers for licensed anglers. There are, however, specific issues and problems relating to access to Lake Taupo. This review draws together the available information on the physical nature and location of Lake Taupo’s access facilities, recreational use of Lake Taupo’s access facilities, and recreational users’ perceptions and views of access facilities. The Taupo Lakeshore Reserves Scheme, initiated in the 1950s, is the basis for the current network of reserves around the shores of Lake Taupo. There are 43 lakeshore reserves administered by the Department of Conservation, and 34 administered by Taupo District Council. The Department of Internal Affairs is involved in the provision of boating facilities on lakeshore reserves. As part of this review, a database detailing facilities and attributes of the 77 lakefront reserves was constructed. The recreational character of Lake Taupo is determined by access. The eastern shores of the lake, where the main road follows the shoreline, are the most accessible. At the other extreme is the Western Bays region, where the only significant access is by boat. The inaccessibility and lack of development of this area is the result of a deliberate policy to preserve and protect the natural character, remoteness and tranquillity of the Western Bays. The most popular recreational activities offered by Lake Taupo for both residents and visitors are all based on easy access to the foreshore reserves: walking or running along the foreshore, swimming and picnicking. Powerboating and angling are also moderately popular with Taupo residents, but are less commonly participated in by visitors to the district. Angling and powerboating are the best-characterised recreational uses of Lake Taupo. However, little is known about participation rates, patterns of use, trends over time or access issues for other recreational activities of Lake Taupo and its surrounds. Boat ramp users were interviewed to determine their perceptions of, and satisfaction with, boating access to Lake Taupo. Overall, boat ramp users interviewed for this study were reasonably well satisfied with boating access to Lake Taupo, with 91% of respondents rating themselves as either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘quite satisfied’. Respondents also provided specific comments and assessments of individual boat ramps, as well as the level of congestion experienced at boat ramps and any conflicts or clashes encountered. Overall, this review has drawn together a wide range of detailed and specific information relating to the physical nature of Lake Taupo’s acc ess facilities, recreational use of these facilities and recreational users’ perceptions and views of the facilities provided. Some specific impediments to access were identified and discussed; the most important of these is probably the variation in lake levels. The most obvious ‘information gap’ to arise from this review is the need to determine the perceptions and views of other recreational users of Lake Taupo and its surrounds, with respect to the provision of access facilities. Running, walking, swimming and picnicking along the shores of Lake Taupo are all very popular pastimes for residents and visitors alike, and their views on the facilities provided for these activities should be sought. (auth)