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Feature Article

On the right track

MBIE forecasts that visitor arrivals to NZ will reach 5.1 million by 2024 – not far off where our total population is expected to be by that time. For astute tour operators, such as Te Anau-based Tracknet – that offers exceptional potential.

“We don’t need to advertise much,” says Nepia Tauri, Tracknet’s managing director. “We get a lot of bookings through agencies and the exposure DoC provides through its Great Walks promotion really helps.”

Based in the heart of the South Island’s Great Walks territory, Tracknet helps tourists reach some of the more remote – and some of the most stunning – areas of the country. Its FUSO Rosa plays an important role in that.

“We have a mixed fleet to accommodate varying tour group sizes,” says Nepia, who took over the business from his parents Clint and Jill in 2009. “The Rosa has proved extremely reliable since we bought it in 2014. We knew it would be, as other local operators had always spoken highly of their Rosa buses. Up until 2016, we still used our ’91 Rosa on runs from Mossburn to Invercargill.”

Reliability is key when taking trusting tourists to remote locations. “We look after our customers, and they need to know they’re in safe hands. The roads into Milford are particularly rugged, with no cellphone reception. It’s important our gear is reliable and we’ve had no problems with Rosa.”

Having been founded in 1998 to take trampers to Fiordland’s Kepler Track, Tracknet now services the Milford and Routeburn tracks, alongside trips to Invercargill, Queenstown and Tuatapere.

Nepia says the Rosa’s tinted windows, comfortable seats and smooth transmission ensure passengers, many of them “high-value” customers from Europe and Asia, enjoy the ride – and the drivers are happy too.

 “Since they double as tour guides, the six-speed auto makes driving easy: they don’t have to worry about changing gears.”

From October to May, Nepia has 18 full-time staff on board. “We cram as much as we can into the peak season. In the winter, when snow makes some of the tracks impassable, it gets a lot quieter. In that period we scale back to five staff and take out only a handful of experienced trampers.

With a limited window each year to hit its targets, Tracknet depends on its buses to perform – Rosa continues to help the business stay on track.

 

Rosa Custom Coach

Seats: 24 + driver

Power/Torque: 110kW / 441Nm

Transmission: 6-spd auto

Body Length: 7.7m

 

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