Distance: 100.8 km (54.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Hard terrain
Altitude: 596m to 1849m. Gain: 7301m. Loss: 7508m . Gradient: 8 deg (Steep)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6)

Lewis Pass to Lake Rotoiti via the Spenser Mountains, Matakitaki River, and five passes. I completed this in 2021 after attempting it two years earlier (see Lewis Pass to Mataki Lodge trip).


Warning: this route segment has been merged into Three Tarns Pass to Ada Pass Hut via unnamed tarn (Unmarked route, clear).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Lewis Pass shelter to Tarn south of Three Tarn Pass via Maruia River Right Branch
View
Distance: 15.6 km (7.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 692m to 1724m. Gain: 1458m. Loss: 603m . Gradient: 8 deg (Steep)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Travelled via the St James Walkway to the footbridge leading to Ada Pass Hut. From the footbridge I travelled in a northerly then north-west direction, across a grassy section, towards what seemed dense scrubby and impassable bush, on the true right of the Maruia River. Other trip reports mention a track marked through this with tape, but I couldn’t find one, not two years ago nor on this occasion. However, I found a steep dry river bed, unmarked on the 1:50,000 topo map, and hopped up over the reddish coloured boulders in this. After about 100 metres of steep ascent I had gained about 40 metres elevation, and judged that it was time to head back towards the Maruia river, traversing the slope away from the dry river bed, pushing through fairly dense bush at times, then in more open terrain of tussock, flowering grassy meadows and occasional dense clumps of trees, finally reaching the stream. Continue up the river, negotiating some beech forest, then open scrub and plenty of speargrass.

By 1,130 metres the track steepens significantly, and reaches the waterfalls on the Maruia visible form the Ada Pass Hut. After another hour of steep terrain I had reached the upper parts of the Maruia and was approaching the turnoff to Three Tarn Pass. I was still on the river’s true right, with large bluffs with waterfalls and grassy banks covered in white and yellow flowering daisies on the true left.

Rather than continue up scree to the tarn, I chose to walk up the steep spur to a rather inhospitable basin with a small tarn surrounded by rock. I rounded a very large mound of rock to the main tarn where I found a nice place to set up camp.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 00:41:57. Experienced: 2019-01-21

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Cairn - W Matakitaki Crossing to Three Tarns Pass via 3 Tarns (Unmarked route, clear).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Tarn south of Three Tarn Pass to Bobs Hut via West Matakitaki
View
Distance: 12.5 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 865m to 1849m. Gain: 502m. Loss: 1307m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The route to Three Tarn Pass heads north on a fairly flat ledge around both tarns with a fairly straight forward walk up schist to the pass itself. This is a very narrow gap in the ridge, easily visible in clear weather from both sides. The West Matakitaki side of Three Tarn Pass is a narrow and steep chute followed by reasonably easy walking down steep scree, avoiding the occasional small bluff, to the tarns. The West Matakitaki valley is a majestic valley clearly carved out by glaciers with the terminal moraine leaving the three tarns. Travel down the valley is reasonably straight forward. I stayed on the true left of the river for about 500 metres, until reaching 1,485m, when it became necessary to cross the river constantly to find the easiest travel. Parts of the river had very steep sides, and on occasion I found myself in bogs buried up to my knees and sometimes thighs, sliding down steep banks and alternating between walking over boulders on the side of the river and terraces above the river, with speargrass as a constant companion. The river rounded the moraine wall to head east, after which the travel became substantially easier on river flats, with what appeared to be evidence of pigs. Beyond these river flats the river enters a small gorge, with it being necessary to leave the river at about 1,150m and climb above it on the true left, and then descend back to the river, reaching it at 1,100m. This traverse required scrambling between rocks, hebes, flax and then pushing through thick young beech forest to reach the river. On reaching the river at 1,100m I crossed it, and found travel reasonably straight forward down grassy river flats again on the true right. Eventually at about 1,080m the river flats ended, met by heavy beech forest on a reasonably steep hillside.
A track begins at this point, although it requires some effort to find it. After about 2km, after crossing a side stream and rounding a bend to head north at about 1,000m, the conditions in the forest and track changed considerably. As we had discovered two years earlier, there was substantial windfall, with much of the canopy gone and the sky clearly visible, with trees lying criss-crossed over one another, completely blocking the track. Earlier we surmised that this was a result of Ex Tropical Cyclone Gita, that devastated parts of the Nelson/Tasman area in February 2018. This required going off track in places to travel up the slope to get around the piles of fallen trees, although invariably I encountered more fallen trees doing this. I went under and over several fallen trees, and about the last set required a huge effort over a large collection of trees fallen on top of one another. I proceeded carefully and made it through about 2km of hell, eventually reaching the West Matakitaki crossing to the true left and Bob’s Hut for lunch. Reading the hut book I noticed an entry from a two-person maintenance crew, who had started clearing the track upstream, but found it too challenging. They noted that they would return for further clearing. Hopefully they do clear a path through the fallen trees for easier and faster travel.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 00:44:21. Experienced: 2021-01-10

Warning: this route segment has been merged into West Matakitaki River walkwire to Bobs Hut via West Matakitaki River (Tramping track).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Bobs Hut to East Matakitaki Hut via West/East Matakitaki
View
Distance: 7.4 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 714m to 874m. Gain: 360m. Loss: 363m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Travel from Bob’s hut was reasonably straight forward, generally descending, but with undulations. I reached the two-wire bridge by 4pm (Figure 7a) and made my way up the East Matakitaki on a reasonably straight forward track, reaching the East Matakitaki Hut by 6:30pm. The East Matakitaki Hut is lovely forest service original hut, in a beautiful setting. Since my last visit it had received a new red roof. Other than that, it was the same comfortable hut, with our entry from two years ago just a few pages back.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 00:49:46. Experienced: 2021-01-10

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Davids/Matakitaki forks to East Matakitaki Hut via Matakitaki River (Unmarked route, clear).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From East Matakitaki Hut to Lake Thompson via D'Urville Pass and Thompson Pass
View
Distance: 15.9 km (13.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Hard terrain
Altitude: 880m to 1840m. Gain: 2063m. Loss: 1263m . Gradient: 12 deg (Steep)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

(1) East Matakitaki Hut to the valley head
This was the most uncertain part of the trip. Hence I have included a lot of detail for those considering it. The head of the East Matakitaki is a beautiful valley, and would make a lovely place to camp.
No track is marked on the 1:50,000 topo map upstream from the East Matakitaki Hut. However, travel for approximately 1km upstream from the hut is easy going on the true left on river flats, with two river crossings deemed preferable to avoid a steep bush clad bank on the true left. At the river flow, with no significant rain for some days, these were thigh deep in places but easily manageable.
At the end of the river flats the slopes either side of the river become steep, with what appeared to be a gorge-like section. From here, at 930 m, a track has been made through the forest on the true left for about 1km, despite the map showing none. It begins roughly 70 m away from the river on the true left, at the bush edge. It is worth finding this, as the travel is reasonably easy going on this marked track, with markers reasonably frequent.
Beyond the end of this track there are sections of boulders, re-entering the bush, and unmarked track. From the clearing at 990 m travel is possible on the river flats on the true left. After this clearing the track re-enters bush on the true left, where it is rough and very overgrown, but avoids travelling in the riverbed / river crossings. The track then emerges to another clearing, crossing a side-stream from the true left at about 1035 m. From here the river steepens on occasion, requiring some travel over boulders. Travel is in and out of bush, crossing the river often to find the easiest travel and occasional clearings is possible, with some pushing through bush and scrambling up banks and steep grass slopes. Travel from 1,140 m is easier, with the bush starting to recede and the river not too steep. At 1,170m the river opens to wider river flats and by 1,200m the forest recedes completely, and the valley widens to boulder fields and beautiful grassy slopes meeting the stream (Figure 9a). From here the route to David Saddle is clearly visible, as is the bend in the valley where it turns east. Travel is easiest from here on the true left, requiring picking a route over tussock and between boulders and hebes. Just prior to turning east the route crosses a large slip and boulder field (Figure 9b). Travel is over stones and boulders on the true left, crossing to the true right at about 1,260m. The valley steepens significantly from here, with the river disappearing under boulders at one stage, and the route requiring hopping over large boulders. The route climbs steeply from here on the true right, over large boulders from a rockfall (Figure 10), with the stream eventually reappearing near the turnoff to D’Urville Pass, but some distance away, having headed towards the D’Urville Pass route. After the valley turns east the route up to D’Urville Pass is visible and becomes clearer. The very steep bluffs on its east side, and its narrow route, make it look almost impossible. However, on reaching the turn-off from the main East Matakitaki river a path up between the bluffs was clearly visible (Figure 11).

(2) Head of the East Matakitaki to D’Urville Pass
Reaching D’Urville Pass from the East Matakitaki turnoff is in two parts, separated by a rocky basin with a small tarn. The first part (Figure 11) involves a scramble up a chute between bluffs over boulders, stones, then scree on an increasingly steep slope. start on the left of the chute, but as it becomes steeper travel amongst larger rocky outcrops on the right is easier (Figure 11b). At the top of this chute is a large basin surrounded by bluffs, scree and full of enormous rocks (Figure 12a). However, travel is reasonably easy to the true left (south-east) of this, with D’Urville Pass clearly visible. The scree to D’Urville Pass steepens as the pass is reached requiring careful footing to avoid slipping back. Walking up to D'Urville Pass in the midday sun makes it a particularly tiring, with the rocks radiating heat. At this time and in this heat the scree and rocks seemed almost covered in grasshoppers with many alpine butterflies flying around the scree, and I believe I even spotted some alpine gecko.
The view from the pass looking back down the East Matakitaki (Figure 12b) shows the small tarn in the basin, which is obscured from view most of the way by the huge boulders in the basin. This would be a most unsuitable place to camp, with no grassy areas, just rocks and boulders.

(3) D’Urville Pass to Thompson Pass and Lake Thompson
From D’Urville Pass begins the long sidle around the head of the D’Urville valley to Thompson Pass. This sidle is best done at 1,700m elevation for most of it. However, careful route choice is required near Thompson Pass, as it is simply not possible to reach the scree/chute leading to Thompson Pass at this elevation, due to a long and wide crevice in the rock from about 1,800m elevation to 1,600m elevation, and possibly even further down to the valley – this is not shown on the 1:50,000 topo maps, nor are the large number of bluffs around here, nor the roughness of the ridge. It is particularly frustrating to encounter this crevice, as I did, as the scree/chute to Thompson Pass is tantalisingly close, at just over 100m away. This sub-section describes the descent from D’Urville Pass, the sidle at 1,700m, and my route to Thompson Pass.
The first part of the route is reasonably straight forward, descending scree to a fairly flat section with a small tarn. While it seems better to head south from D’Urville Pass, since that went toward the destination, this should be avoided, as it leads above bluffs. Instead stay north on the scree and continue to descend the scree, to the left of the rocks and bluffs as you descend. This is straight forward, with some careful clambering over a section of small vertical bluffs when almost at 1,700m elevation.
Most of the sidle is best done at 1,700m elevation, as described in other trip reports. Once on the flat section, at 1,700m, travel is straightforward, although over boulders at times. It then reaches steep boulder and scree slopes, which required careful footing and slow travel. Other trip reports describe beginning an ascent from about NNW of peak 1,964 to 1,770m. I continued further at 1,700m, then began an ascent to 1,800m – the sidle across the scree and boulders from higher looked more difficult, and the ascent to 1,800m after this was straightforward. I found a ledge, at this point, and began travelling towards Thompson Pass. However, I then encountered a very steep and rocky section, which I was not prepared to attempt to climb. Moreover, the ridge was significantly rougher than indicated by other trip reports and by the topo map, and while they talked about heading for the ridge, this did not seem wise. Therefore, I descended again to nearly 1,700m elevation where I found a grassy ledge that was an easy walk towards Thompson Pass. There were some small trickles of water in places, which could be useful near the end of the long traverse. In hindsight I wonder if it would have been better to only ascend to 1,740m and take what appears to be a ledge to these grassy ledges.
After walking along the grassy ledge I encountered the deep vertical crevice in rock, with Thompson Pass frustratingly close over the other side of it. Walking uphill beside this was reasonably easy on tussock, alpine plants and rocks. It eventually ended allowing travel northwest towards Thompson Pass. Soon after I encountered the bluff covered ridge line, and a narrow chute leading to the north-west side of the ridge above Thompson Pass. While the chute was narrow and steep, it was possible to scramble up it, including through a patch of snow, and no worse than some parts of the Waiau side of the Waiau Pass. After ascending this chute the ridge opens out to narrow grass ledges between steep rocky outcrops (Figure 16a). It was easy enough to pick a route between these, zigzagging down to Thompson Pass (Figure 17a).
As I stood on the pass, I saw to the north a group of five kea fly from the Waiau Valley side over the ridge and into the D’Urville Valley, calling out as they flew.
The walk to Lake Thompson down the Waiau side of Thompson Pass is a straightforward descent of 100m then contouring around a grassy rise from the ridgeline to the lake itself, taking just 20 minutes.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 00:51:39. Experienced: 2019-02-01

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Waiau Valley track junction to Thompson Pass via Lake Thompson (Unmarked route, clear).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Lake Thompson to Blue Lake Hut via Waiau Pass
View
Distance: 10.7 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 1162m to 1847m. Gain: 1147m. Loss: 1653m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Lake Thompson is a majestic setting and a lovely place to camp in good weather. I would describe it as slightly smaller than Lake Angelus, in a similar majestic mountain setting, but without the hut and people.

The descent from Lake Thompson begins down the obvious earthquake scarp to the west of the lake (Figure 18a) – avoid exiting from the main stream draining the lake, as this leads to bluffs and waterfalls. The descent became a narrow valley, which then became steep with vertical drops after turning east (Figure 18b). I made for the ridge to the true left (Figure 19a) which gave easy walking all the way down, re-joining the river close to the Waiau Pass turnoff. This is the beginning of the marked route, part of the Waiau Pass route and the Te Araroa Trail (Figure 19b).
Being a poled route, Waiau Pass is reasonably straight forward, with some impressive rocky climbs, requiring stowing of walking poles and clambering up rocks with hands and feet. It flattens significantly near the top, with an easy route in scree (Figure 20a), and views back to Lake Thompson (Figure 20b).
Descending Waiau Pass on the North side into the Lake Constance basin is a straightforward descent in scree, following a poled route. The route crosses the stream at the head of the valley, followed Lake Constance on the left (West) (Figure 21a), climbs above bluffs at the lake head, over a large boulder field, after which views of the beautiful Blue Lake / Rotomariewhenua are gained (Figure 21b).

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 00:54:30. Experienced: 2022-04-18

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Blue Lake Hut to West Sabine Hut via track (Tramping track).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Blue Lake Hut to West Sabine Hut via Travers Saddle
View
Distance: 7.4 km (9.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 596m to 1133m. Gain: 121m. Loss: 652m . Gradient: 6 deg (Steep)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Blue Lake is at a height of 1,200m with the track down the Sabine steep and losing height quickly and the Sabine river falling impressively over rock chutes (Figure 22a). The DOC track, and part of the Te Araora trial, is surprisingly rough, possibly due to the bad weather the previous December.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 00:59:55. Experienced: 2021-02-13

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Travers Saddle to West Sabine Hut via East Sabine River (Marked route).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From West Sabine Hut to Travers Saddle via Track
View
Distance: 7.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 596m to 1730m. Gain: 1274m. Loss: 148m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The DOC track, and part of the Te Araora trial, is surprisingly rough, possibly due to the bad weather the previous December. The West Sabine hut is at about 670 m elevation, and the Travers Saddle at 1,787 m meaning a significant climb. However, the track, while long, is well graded to the bushline where it becomes steep. At the saddle there are impressive views of Mt Travers (Figure 23b), the St Arnaud range and the Travers Valley. The track descends quite quickly to the lovely Upper Travers Hut (Figure 24a). The Travers valley is a beautiful valley, idyllic for camping.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 01:02:00. Experienced: 2021-02-13

Warning: this route segment has been merged into UPPER TRAVERS HUT to Travers Saddle via poled route (Marked route).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Travers Saddle to UPPER TRAVERS HUT via Track
View
Distance: 2.3 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1273m to 1722m. Gain: 23m. Loss: 470m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

At the saddle there are impressive views of Mt Travers (Figure 23b), the St Arnaud range and the Travers Valley. The track descends quite quickly to the lovely Upper Travers Hut (Figure 24a). The Travers valley is a beautiful valley, idyllic for camping.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 01:21:02. Experienced: 2021-02-13

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Tk junction to UPPER TRAVERS HUT via Travers Track (Tramping track).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Distance: 3.7 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 938m to 1290m. Gain: 56m. Loss: 409m . Gradient: 7 deg (Steep)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The Travers valley is a beautiful valley, idyllic for camping.

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 01:23:32. Experienced: 2021-02-13

Warning: this route segment has been merged into Travers River Bridge to Tk junction via Travers Tk (Tramping track).

You are viewing a historic version of this route.

Draft: From Campsite on upper Travers to Rotoiti Lakehead Jetty via Travers Valley
View
Distance: 17.8 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 597m to 953m. Gain: 297m. Loss: 640m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The track down the Travers Valley is a moderately easy walking track, in good condition, and follows the beautiful Travers river most of the way on the true left. At about 740m the valley flattens out substantially, with the Travers river opening to wide and clear expanses (Figure 25a). Cross to the true right at the swing bridge, just above the Cascade Track junction, and after a brief steep section through beech forest and a few bogs, the track opens out into clearings with travel very fast (Figure 25b).

Last updated by: Admin at 2022-05-29 01:24:46. Experienced: 2021-01-14


Comments: Add
You are not currently signed in. Please register to comment