With international travel off the agenda for now, it may be time to check out some of New Zealand’s public-access wetlands.
One such gem can be found on the Southern Scenic Highway between Manapouri and Tuatapere.
If you are heading south from Manapouri, take a right after the sign for Rakatu Wetlands and at the end of a 1km gravel road, there’s a car park with information boards.
There are four main walks, from 15 minutes long to two to three hours. It’s a spectacular setting with Fiordland National Park as its western backdrop, and no less impressive are the flush toilets up the track to the lookout. Complete with toilet paper and soap, they are an unexpected bonus to visitors expecting the usual pongy long drop.
The 270-hectare wetland complex was created for the benefit of fish and waterfowl as well as protected bird species to mitigate and remedy the adverse effects of the Manapouri Hydroelectric Power Scheme.
It is administered by the Waiau Fisheries and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Trust.