Two professional travel bloggers have sparked outrage after camping overnight on Roys Peak.
Australian couple Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem, who run a blog called NOMADasaurus, spent a night on the mountain to watch the sunrise and sunset and camped just below the summit.
The pair posted pictures of their trip to more than 68,000 Instagram and 44,000 Facebook followers, calling the location “arguably the best campsite in all of New Zealand” alongside the words “And we had it all to ourselves.”
The posts have since been deleted, but local residents were quick to vent their anger on social media.
Some called it “shocking” and others used personal insults, while several more demanded an explanation from outdoor equipment suppliers Kathmandu, which works with the pair but did not sponsor their recent trip.
Other posters, however, leapt to their defence and said they were both just visitors acting within the law.
Roys Peak is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and in response, operations manager Mike Tubbs asked people not to camp there.
“Overnight camping on Roys Peak is not sustainable. Issues arising from this activity include threatening the area’s wildlife and causing damage to fragile snow tussock growing around the summit. There are also waste disposal and safety issues arising from camping at an altitude of more than 1500 metres.
“For these reasons, we strongly ask that visitors respect our beautiful environment and do the right thing in the outdoors by not camping on Roys Peak.
“DOC is currently looking into its options for prohibiting camping on Roys Peak in future,” he said.
The travel bloggers declined to comment on their trip when asked by the Wanaka Sun, but a spokesperson from Kathmandu attested to the pair’s good character and said the company was committed to responsible camping.
“As a global leader in sustainability, and a partner with Leave No Trace, we are clearly in support of responsible travel across New Zealand. Alesha and Jarryd are good people with nothing but the best intentions.
“Perhaps this case is a good opportunity to work with Alesha and Jarryd in educating tourists and indeed other influencers on best practice for responsible camping? Next time we become aware of one of our independent international influencers visiting New Zealand, we will be sure to share our Leave No Trace commitments with them and brief them on best practice for responsible travel before they head off on their adventures,” they said.
Roys Peak remains one of New Zealand’s most popular walks with approximately 80,000 visitors walking the track in the past year.
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