A popular short walk on Stewart Island has been renamed in honour of the Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
“To honour Her Majesty’s long reign, the track to Observation Rock from the settlement of Oban, will be formally renamed the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Path’ and known as the ‘Platinum Path’ for short,” Ms Ardern said.
The 58-metre track was previously known as Observation Rock Track.
On a clear night, Observation Rock is the perfect place to see the Aurora Australis – the Southern Lights.
“The viewing area at Observation Rock is on everyone’s ‘must do’ list and most people who visit Rakiura/Stewart Island, go there for the great views into Paterson Inlet,” the Prime Minister said.
The short track, which follows through rata forest, will be signposted by the Department of Conservation (DOC) from the entrance off Excelsior Road. Longer term, signage down in Halfmoon Bay will also be changed to reflect the new name.
“I’m told, that since the Halfmoon Bay community has been doing pest control, the birdlife has come back with a vengeance including kiwi and kākā.”
“Our environment is hugely important to New Zealanders so this name change is a fitting and heartfelt tribute,” said Ms Ardern.
The viewing area at Observation Rock is also set to be upgraded. The multi-agency and iwi project is due to start shortly, with a projected completion date of early next year.
Rakiura/Stewart Island was designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2019 by the International Dark Sky Association to emphasise the outstanding natural nightscape with minimal light pollution levels.
The Platinum Path is the second project to mark the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
“The Queen supports conservation initiatives, particularly sustainable planting, so to mark the Jubilee, we are also embarking on a national tree planting project for 100,000 native trees across 14 native restoration projects around New Zealand.”
“These plantings will improve existing projects and accelerate the rate of restoration and enhance carbon storage,” Ms Ardern said.