Keanu Joice, left, and Shepherd Joice work out the best route on the Nelson Orienteering Club’s permanent course at St Arnaud at the weekend. Photo: Tracey Grose.

New orienteering course opens at Nelson Lakes

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A permanent orienteering course is the latest sporting attraction in Nelson Lakes National Park after the joint project between the Nelson Orienteering Club and the Department of Conservation was officially opened at the weekend.

The course was adapted by Lindsay Smith from a map used in the national orienteering champs held in St Arnaud last year.

It is believed to be the first permanent orienteering course in a national park and Lindsay says he’d like to see more courses set up in other parks around the country.

“We already have a few permanent courses around Nelson and one in Kaiteriteri and they are quite popular, so why not have them in national parks,” Lindsay says. “The staff at the DOC centre in St Arnaud tell me that people are always coming in and asking, ‘what can we do here?’ so this just adds to the other attractions that are already there.”

Lindsay says the St Arnaud map used at last year’s nationals has been simplified for the permanent course so that it is suitable for children and novice orienteers.

However, the course is still proving popular with experienced orienteers who are using it for training.

DOC’s Tracey Grose says they are “very excited” to support the Nelson Orienteering Club’s initiative for a permanent course around the St Arnaud village and lakefront tracks of the park.

Copies of the map are available from the Nelson Lakes visitor centre for a small donation.