Falls track open for walks

    Lindsay Middleton at the beginning of the track, holding his father's billy.
    The newly opened Makarewa Falls Track was a Winton Rotary Club project.

    LINDSAY Middleton was just a boy when his father guided visitors through their farm to the Makarewa Falls. Last week, he saw the track to the falls officially opened to the public.

    Mr Middleton had been at the farm at the end of Mandeville Rd near Hokonui for 70 years, and enjoyed walking to the Department of Conservation-managed land adjoining the property.

    In 2017, members of the Winton Rotary Club decided visitors may also enjoy the six-hour return walk, and so club volunteers put in hundreds of hours to get the track marked and ready for the public.

    While most of the work was completed last year, the last of the signs were erected in March.

    The official opening was held on Friday morning and the ribbon was cut by Dipton-raised, former prime minister Sir Bill English.

    He said he would have been among 90% of people who had lived within 50km of the track and not known about the falls.

    “When I think about it, that’s ridiculous.”

    He thanked Mr Middleton for allowing people to cross his land to get to them.

    Southland District Mayor Gary Tong explained during the opening he had a hard time finding the property.

    “I think Southland District Council needs to help you with some signage for a start.”

    He thanked the club for its work.

    Mr Middleton felt it was an achievement to have the track opened.

    “It’s been quite a big project.”

    The Department of Conservation website would be updated to include information on the walks available.

    The official opening of the Makarewa Falls was held last week.