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Public to pay to drive up road to Remarkables mountain range over summer

People wanting to head up the Remarkables mountain range near Queenstown over the summer will have to fork over $10 per vehicle from February.

The Remarkables mountain range, near Queenstown. Source: istock.com

NZ Ski, which operates the Remarkables ski field, says it's installing a new access gate to be used over summer.

The fee only applies to vehicles, with cyclists and hikers on foot still able to head through for free.

Emergency services and the Department of Conservation also get free access while on official business.

NZ Ski chief executive Paul Anderson says they've invested upwards of $20 million in the meandering access road, including a recent $5 million sealing project.

Back when the road was first built in the 1980s, there was a manned toll booth in place, which was discontinued in the '90s.

Increasing visitor numbers over the summer means they need to bring the toll back, Mr Anderson says.

"At the moment, costs of maintaining the road are met only by our ski resort guests and concessionaires," he says.

"Those who use the road in the summer do not contribute to its upkeep. To ensure all users share in the cost of keeping the road open and safely maintained, we are introducing a small access charge for each vehicle."

The road will still be free to use while the ski area operates during winter, Mr Anderson says.

The Department of Conservation says the road isn't entirely public land and NZ Ski is within its rights to charge the toll.

"Our revenue team have looked into the charge and are comfortable that $10 per vehicle is reasonable considering the cost to create and maintain an alpine road," Wakatipu operations manager Geoff Owen says.

The fee can be paid by credit card at the gate, or by using passes purchased from their Queenstown center, NZ Ski says.

A spokesperson told 1 NEWS they're not introducing anything similar at their other resorts, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt.

The change comes into effect on February 3.