Length: from 10.0 up to 20.0 days
Distance: 240.1 km (107.6 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 0m to 1797m. Gain: 11342m. Loss: 11141m . Gradient: 5 deg (Steep)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/5) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons, avalanche risk (5/7)

A tramper's Coast to Coast taking in as much DOC land as possible between Christchurch and Hokitika. Many variants exist - this is probably one of the simpler - crossing the Main Divide at Minchin Pass.

A second high pass at Pope / Browning is included in this route, but can be avoided by travelling via Newton Saddle. See routes on this site for details.


Distance: 3.1 km (0.8 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 0m to 9m. Gain: 9m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 0 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

An easy walk along the Ashley River stopbank on the southern bank connects the beach carpark at the north end of Waikuku Beach and the SH1 Ashley River bridge. This is part of the Rakihuru Trail.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-05. Experienced: 2017-02-26
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-05 04:20:26. Experienced: 2017-02-26

Distance: 8.9 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Surfaced walkway - Easy terrain
Altitude: 9m to 39m. Gain: 34m. Loss: 4m . Gradient: 0 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From SH1 the Rakahuru Trail runs along the stopbank on the southern bank of the Ashley River to Rangiora. The track crosses private land but is open for walkers and MTB. The track touches Tulls Road, providing an alternative access point. 1.5km west of Tulls Road, a signpost sends you north off the stopbank, along a brief abutment and down onto river flats. A mountianbike track weaves through willows, later through young pines and broom – ending at a mowed grassy picnic area beside the railbridge. Upriver of the railbridge a walking track has been created on the river flats running through native plantings to the Ashley Road Bridge on Cones Road.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-05. Experienced: 2017-02-26

Distance: 2.5 km (0.7 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 39m to 50m. Gain: 11m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 0 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the north end of the Ashley River bridge on Cones Road a 4WD track runs along the north bank of the Ashley River, eventually going as far as the Okuku. After 2km the usually dry bed of the Makerikeri joins from the north, and the 4WD track crosses with another running down the west bank of that river.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-05. Experienced: 2017-02-26
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-05 04:46:20. Experienced: 2017-02-26

Distance: 8.5 km (2.8 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 50m to 90m. Gain: 41m. Loss: 1m . Gradient: 0 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Above the Makerikeri the 4WD tracks up the Ashley drop off the banks onto the riverbed, become faint & dispersed. Follow tracks upriver, sticking to the bed and avoiding cutting out on side-tracks which exit to farmland. Gravel is soft and so slow going. River levels were below my boot laces when I visited in February, and crossing channels was easy - but it should be possible to stick to the north bank if necessary when the river is up.

The Okuku is the 1st major confluence from the north and is obvious, with 4WD tracks leading up it.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-26

Distance: 17.5 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 90m to 236m. Gain: 187m. Loss: 60m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A rough 4WD track heads up the Okuku riverbed, crossing frequently. Travel is on a mix of soft river gravel and more solid banks. At the Grey River forks, the majority of the 4WD tracks head off up the Grey, but if you push on up the Okuku you'll pick up a reasonable ATV track continuing up the riverbed. 2km before the Pinchgut Track roadend a dirt road drops to flats on the north-east side of the river. The riverbed gorges out here, and a cairn marks a dry side-channel leading out to the road. Follow the road the final 2km to the roadend, marked with a DOC signpost.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-26

Distance: 5.5 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 218m to 411m. Gain: 341m. Loss: 197m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the signpost at the roadend a broad track crosses the river (knee deep, normal flows) and heads up flats on the southern bank. The track eventually narrows to a good tramping track, initially low on the valleyside, but above Whare Creek, climbing 150m over a spur and then sidling. The tramping track intersects an old 4WD track at a signposted junction just above Pinchgut Hut. The hut is on flats beside the river just below.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-22
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-12 01:18:26. Experienced: 2017-02-26

Distance: 4.9 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 362m to 1065m. Gain: 746m. Loss: 171m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good cut / marked track runs up the ridge between Pinchgut Hut and Bob's Camp Bivvy. Cross the creek at the hut (small, jumpable in most conditions) and head up the face beyond up the signposted track. The track climbs steeply to the ridgeline, then sidles the north face, ending at the bushedge. A poled route climbs from there back to the grassy ridgeline, which it follows west. The ridgeline is a mixture of beech forest and clearings, with the forested sections tracked and the clearings poled.

After crossing the highpoint, the track drops to a clear saddle and swings south. Climbing south from the saddle it reaches the bushedge again - where a signpost marks the turnoff to Bob;s Camp Biv. The biv is 500m away down the sidetrack on a saddle in beech forest,

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-27

Distance: 0.8 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 942m to 1042m. Gain: 100m. Loss: 6m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Bob's Camp climb back to the main track on the ridgeline to the SE.

Follow the broad marked, cut tramping track south along the ridgeline through beech forest. A clearing becomes visible 20m to the west - this is the clearing shown on maps at pt1046. Those wishing to follow the 'Missing Link Track' to Blowhard / Mt Richardson will need to turn off the marked track at the southern end of this clearing.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-27
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-12 16:31:13. Experienced: 2017-02-27

Distance: 3.7 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 416m to 1042m. Gain: 725m. Loss: 474m . Gradient: 19 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS
From pt1046 to Trig A9UM

A good cut track runs most of the way between the Pinchgut Track and Bob's Camp Track, with just the northern end uncut/unmarked.

Turn off the Bob's Camp Track at the southern edge of the clearing south of pt1046 (visible 20m west of the track through trees). Follow the bushedge SW and then south - use a bearing of 190 degrees if you have a compass. The clearing ends - continue south (190 degrees) on a vague spur through beech forest to a second, scrubbier clearing. Follow the now-obvious spur south through this clearing to the southern bushedge, where marker tape marks the start of the track.

A well marked, rough track drops steeply SSW into the Garry in beech forest with loose rock-scree underfoot, swinging WSW to the forks with the creek draining pt1046. The only viable camping spots are 30m above the creek on the north side - a small terrace - the creek bed is steep-sided and narrow.

At the Garry, head 50m or so upriver and find marker tape on the southern bank. A steep but obvious track climbs WSW, swinging south to trig A9UM. The track is very steep and loose gravel at first, becoming merely steep later - and is marked with a mixture of old permolat and new marker tape.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-27

Distance: 2.0 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy terrain
Altitude: 758m to 847m. Gain: 123m. Loss: 77m . Gradient: 6 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From Trig A9UM to pt846

The Blowhard Track is a broad, well maintained easy-moderate mountainbike track and makes for fast, easy walking.

From the unmarked junction at Trig A9UM, the track runs west through beech forest and later clearings with patchy kanuka, climbing gently. A signpost marks the junction with the Bypass Track dropping south,

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-27

Distance: 2.6 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 832m to 1009m. Gain: 202m. Loss: 25m . Gradient: 5 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the junction with the Bypass Track, the Blowhard Track runs west along the ridgeline in beech forest and open clearings - giving views of the Canterbury Plains to the south. . Broad and well cut it is gentle for the 1st 1.5km, before it starts to climb. Two moderately steep climbs of 100m each follow. 500m short of the Mt Richardson summit the rough MTB track meets an obvious old 4WD track. A signpost 'Mt Richardson marks the junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-27

Distance: 3.9 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 404m to 1014m. Gain: 64m. Loss: 674m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A legal road drops north from Mt Richardson, descending through private land to the Lees. Unfortunately the legal roadline and formed track on the ground do not match exactly (they differ by 20m or so in places), so you will need permission from the farmer (Lees Valley Station) if you want to follow the formed track. DOC Rangiora have the contact details (email).

From the 'Mt Richardson' signpost 500m ENE of the summit along the Blowhard Track, follow the obvious old 4WD track NW down into a saddle. A small stream here is one of only two reliable water sources on the tops here, but locals advise treating the water if you use it.

The track runs north through kanuka scrub and enters a large clearing after 600m or so. Follow the southern bushedge west onto the ridge, where good flat shaded campspots exists around the bushedge. The bushedge is the boundary of public and private land, A rough ground trail crosses the clearing heading north towards pt1018. One on the flat summit north of the saddle, keep close to the bushedge and look out for the old 4WD track dropping NW into the bush.

The 4WD track zigzags down through beech to emerge onto a narrow spur with rough paddocks on the northern face. Follow the spur NW on the track. After about 500 the track drops south off the spur, and cuts back into a scrubby, gorsey gully - this turn is easy to miss. The track zigzags down into the gully and then follows it down through grassy paddocks to the fenceline alongside Dorman Stream.

Follow the fenceline beside Dorman Stream all the way to the Ashley. A farm track runs along the northern side of the fence - though the legal roadline is generally on the south side which is thick scrub. Ignore the point where the farm track swings north towards De Bourbles station, and instead continue in the direction you've been taking, passing through a gate and dropping to the Ashley riverbed.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-27

Distance: 4.5 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 404m to 443m. Gain: 56m. Loss: 17m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The Ashley riverbed is broad and flat, with crown land including large expanses of both banks. Travel up the riverbed and banks to the road bridge is easy on stable river rocks and grassy banks. Crossings were ankle deep when I visited, but it should be possible to remain on the south-eastern bank if necessary.

Note that the track crossing to De Bourbles (Wharfedale Road) is private.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-28

Distance: 0.7 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 443m to 444m. Gain: 1m. Loss: 1m . Gradient: 0 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The start of the Youngman Track is 500m west of the Ashley River bridge along the Lees Valley ROad and is signposted.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-28

Distance: 7.8 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 443m to 552m. Gain: 195m. Loss: 86m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good farm track heads NNW across rough paddocks from the signposted track start on Leews Valley Road. At the base of the hills a deer fence is reached with a locked gate. A stile is provided 200m to the east along the fenceline near the river. After crossing the stile, return to the track on the far side of the fence.

The track follow river terraces up the west bank of the Ashley though rough hill farm country. There are a few turnoffs, but the public track is marked with DOC marker poles at each. The valley opens to flats at the forks with the Lillburne River. The public track turns right here, crossing the Lillburne and heading across flats on it;s northern bank to the base of the spur beyond. A signpost here on the fenceline marks the junction of tracks onwards to Tarn and Youngman Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-28

Distance: 6.2 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 549m to 902m. Gain: 501m. Loss: 356m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A vague poled trail wanders over rough-pastured terraces, entering patchy kanuka forest, later beech. The track now good, well cut, a well benched line across beech-forested slopes as far as Tent Gully. Shortly after crossing Tent Gully, at a small gut, the track turns and climbs - gains 100m scrambling up the loose gut. We sidle briefly before starting again to climb to finally exit onto hot sun-dried faces 250m above the river– rock and dry grass. After a kilometer or so of sidling, the track descends a spur back into beech forest to the Youngman Stream confluence. A signpost marks the junction with the route to Tran Hut.

Youngman Hut is on the opposite bank 100m upriver. The walkwire over the Ashley is long gone, but in low flows you can hop across with dry feet - though it is impassable in flood. A triangle on the far bank marks the start of the short track up the far bank to the hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-28

Distance: 3.6 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 692m to 1403m. Gain: 711m. Loss: 138m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The climb from Youngman is, as the map suggests, relentless, but manageable- the gradient is such that I’m able to maintain a steady, slow pace. Beech forest provides shade for the first 200m, becomes scrub until 150m before the summit. The cut track ends at the scrubline and a poled route follows climbing steeply through tall rolling tussocks - there is no ground trail. The summit is marked by a cairn.

The poled route follows flat tops over Lilburne Hill before descending SW to the saddle where Tarn Hut can be found on the NW side of the tops.
.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-02-28

Distance: 5.2 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 768m to 1639m. Gain: 924m. Loss: 551m . Gradient: 17 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

An easy climb along the bushedge on moss, rock and tussock takes us to the summit of pt1334, south of Tarn Hut. Scrubby, wind-flattened beech laps onto the tops from the west – it’s tight-packed barrier but find a break and push through to tall-standing forest beyond.

Pick up the spur dropping just south of west from pt1334 through mature beech forest. Tight-packed pole beech is frequent on the spur and makes for slow travel. Gradient is steady - not too steep.

On the valley floor: the Lillburn River is slow, dark, and knee deep in normal flows. Easy to cross but can clearly flood.

Head up the steep face beyond onto the spur, climbing steadily to pt1271– more of the same: open mature beech in places but wind or snow damage more common, forest periodically flattened, periodically regrowing. Above the bushedge travel is easy on short tussock and low hebe scrub. Climb the obvious spur to pt1645 on the summit of the Puketeraki Range - for amazing views of the Esk/Poulter beyond.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-01

Distance: 7.1 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 604m to 1639m. Gain: 188m. Loss: 1053m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A reasonable route drops from the Puketeraki Range to the Esk / Nigger confluence and climbs to Nigger Huts. The sections of the route from the summit to Nigger Bush, and from the Esk to the huts are on private land and permission is required from Mt White Station (contact DOC for details).

Swing briefly SW along the Puketeraki Range from pt1645, round the head of a creek, take the next spur west – drop towards the very politely named Nigger Bush.

Beech forest provide easy, open travel on a NW bearing down from pt1360, scrub only appearing as we near the 'clearings' above the Esk. The large clearing on map turns out to be an expanse of kanuka swamp – tall, tight packed scrub on a marshy soft floor. But cut round to its northern side, and drop easily through dry open kanuka bordering the forest to reach cattle-grazed grassy flats by the river below.

Once in the Esk, head briefly downstream to the forks with the Nigger – through deep canyons carved through mud and scree. Cross 3 times to avoid bluffs - up to thigh deep in normal flows. From the forks, head up the steep zigzag track from the forks to Nigger Huts on farmed terraces 100m above.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-01

Distance: 2.6 km (0.8 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 700m to 773m. Gain: 19m. Loss: 87m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good gravel farm track runs up the west side of the Nigger from Nigger Huts. After 2.5km a junction is reached, marked by a sign saying 'Rest Area 100m'. The main track drops to cross the Nigger and head up the Esk while a dirt track continues up the western bank towards the East Poulter.

This track crosses Mt White Station land and permission is required.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-01
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-12 18:49:30. Experienced: 2017-03-01

Distance: 6.2 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 705m to 819m. Gain: 167m. Loss: 53m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A dirt farm track heads up the west side of the Nigger. A brief climb of 100m soon follows after which going is flat. After 6km an airstrip is reached on the valley floor. A track branches west up gentle faces to the bishedge where Lochinvar Hut is located.

This track crosses Mt White Station land and permission is required.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-01

Distance: 7.7 km (2.3 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 652m to 821m. Gain: 137m. Loss: 294m . Gradient: 3 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good 4WD track runs up the north-eastern side of the Nigger/Poulter valley between Lochinvar Hut and Bull Creek Hut. This crosses Mt White Station land and permission is required.

From Lochinvar, drop back to the valley floor and follow the farm track up the valley. The track cuts through old glacial morraine at the Mounds Of Misery and then sidles the eastern valleyside above the Poulter, dropping to Bull Creek via two terraces.

The track has been washed away on the Bull Creek riverbed - cross to the far bank and follow it upriver to Bull Creek Hut - visible on the bushedge. The river is generally ankle deep but can easily become impassable after rain.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-02

Distance: 2.6 km (0.7 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 658m to 690m. Gain: 45m. Loss: 28m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Head down marshy flats from Bull Creek Hut to the old 4WD track and follow it north onto terraces above. The track drops to the Poulter and ends 1km later. Cross the Poulter to flats on the western bank (knee deep, easy in low flows, but impassable after rain).

1km up the Poulter from the track-end a clearly defined valley drops from the range to the west. The spur immediately north of this gives good access onto the Poluter Range.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-02

Distance: 6.8 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 681m to 1631m. Gain: 1059m. Loss: 477m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons, avalanche risk (5/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Locate the spur climbing north of the creek draining the Poluter Range from pt1552 - this is the first major creek upstream of the end of the 4WD track from Bull Creek Hut.

Climb the spur through good open beech on deer trails - only the last 50m are scrubby and good trails show a route through to the tussock faces above. Continue climbing the spur on tussock and rock to pt1611 on the main Poluter Range.

The ridgeline ascent to pt1740 is steep and rocky, but the western face is good scree. Follow the ridgeline up until you are looking level along the western face to the col between pt1740 and pt1640. Cut across loose scree on the western face to the saddle.

North of pt1740 good stable terraces exist on the western face of the Poulter Range at around 1600m. These canbe followed north until level with pt1713. North of pt1713 the western face again reverts to loose scree, so you can either rejoin the ridgeline and head to pt1666 or scramble across scree. We cut across the scree face and sidled / dropped across the grassy face south-west of pt1666 to reach pt1371.

Follow clearings SW from pt1371 into the head of a small V tussock and scrub valley dropping SW. Ranger Biv is where map show it, part-hidden tucked against the bushedge, just above a small tarn.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-02

Distance: 4.1 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 608m to 1255m. Gain: 4m. Loss: 647m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good cut / tape-marked track drops down the narrow spur from Ranger Biv into the flats low in Fenwick Stream.

The track starts on the bushedge behind Rnager Biv and follows the defined spur. It is cut / marked with tape & old permolat by volunteers and stoat-trappers and is not an official DOC track. The track ends at the head of gravel flats in the lower Fenwick Stream - on the northern bank where maps show the clearings ending. Follow the riverbed down from there, cross the Poulter (knee deep in low-normal flows) and intersect the ATV track up flats on the the western bank of the Poulter.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-02

Distance: 2.8 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 613m to 636m. Gain: 26m. Loss: 4m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good ATV track runs up the western side of the Poulter, ending at Trust Poulter Hut. The track crosses small streams which should not be an issue except in extreme weather. The hut is 100m west of the track at the 'No MTB past this point' sign.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-02

Distance: 2.9 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 636m to 679m. Gain: 43m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The old farm track up the Poulter continues for 200m beyond Trust-Poulter hut, ending at gravel river flats. Continue up the riverbed to where Poluter Hut is visible on the northern bank. The river was low (ankle deep) when I visited in February, but can easily become impassable. Travel up the southern bank is possible without crossing, if you do not need to access Poulter Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2017-03-03

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 3.5 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track
Altitude: 678m to 786m. Gain: 110m. Loss: 17m . Gradient: 2 deg
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

DOC track / route

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12

Distance: 3.8 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 772m to 932m. Gain: 45m. Loss: 202m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

DOC route up Minchin Stream

Created by: Zoneblue on 2015-03-25. Experienced: 2005-09-01
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-12 21:11:55. Experienced: 2005-09-01

Distance: 5.4 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 929m to 1552m. Gain: 673m. Loss: 456m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Route from the Poulter to the Taramakau that avoids the scrub in Townsend Creek.
Source: Brabyn

Alternative higher route from remotehuts.co.nz:

The most popular tops crossing to Townsend is from the Minchin valley via Minchin Pass. From Minchin Biv it is a straightforward amble up to Minchin Pass, then up the the ridge on the southern side of Waterfall Creek basin. It is necessary to traverse points 1461m, 1526m, 1638m and 1731m and drop from point 1731m down towards point 1183m. Don't drop directly down to Townsend Hut, which visible from the Divide in fine conditions, as there is a band of alpine scrub on the face just above it. From point 1183m follow the lip of the fault scarp down to the Hut. Allow 4-5 hours in good conditions for the crossing from Minchin Biv.

Created by: Zoneblue on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2005-09-01
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-12 21:18:36. Experienced: 2005-09-01

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 2.1 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear
Altitude: 372m to 1136m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 764m . Gradient: 22 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

From remotehuts.co.nz:

The route to Townsend Hut starts at the unnamed creek 400m upriver from Michael Creek. The creek has changed course at the bottom and now runs through the bush downriver from the original creekbed. The lower section of the track has been obliterated and it's now easier to head up the original creekbed to where it meets running water further up. The odd large orange triangle on dead spars mark the route from the 450m contour to where a cut track exits the creek around 500m. It climbs steeply up the bush faces onto a narrow ridge, and follows this up a short distance onto a bench the montane zone. From here it ascends in a series of steps through sub-alpine forest to the scarp on which the Hut is located. The last stretch along the scarp is through open tussock patches with small tarns.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12

Distance: 2.2 km (4.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 336m to 374m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 38m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A braided section of the Taramakau exists below the Michael Creek confluence, but was impassable on my visit so I never made it to Kiwi Hut. A large doc triangle on the bushedge on the northern bank marks the start of the short track to the hut. (2.5-4.5hrs)

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-12. Experienced: 2007-03-18
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-12 21:06:57. Experienced: 2007-03-18

Distance: 6.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 275m to 337m. Gain: 14m. Loss: 76m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

I traveled this section on the southern bank, as the Taramakau was in flood and uncrossable. Other routes may exist on the north side avoiding the Otehake crossing but crossing the combiner rivers downstream. The Otehake is a major river the can carry a lot of water - but carries less sediment than the Taramakau - so judging conditions is easier. The combined river below the forks was huge and fast when I visited and not an option. I do not recommend taking any risks in crossing. If in doubt, wait it out or change your plans. The swingbridge shown 3km upriver has been removed by DOC so is not a fallback option, and reportedly travel up the first 1km on the true right is not viable anyway.

Good travel on grass flats and shingle banks exists down the southern side of the Taramakau from opposite Kiwi Hut to the Otehake confluence. I found a good long pool of slowish-moving water with good gravel fans in the runout a one to two hundred meters upstream of the confluence which allowed a safe swim to to other bank.

An old 4WD track starts to become visible below the confluence on the southern bank, and becomes increasingly followable as you continue down the large shingle flats of the Taramakau. Pfeifer Creek is reached 4km beyond the Otehake, and will not prove problematic except in extreme conditions. The junction with the Lake Kaurapataka Track is on the western bank of the Pfeifer.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-01-03. Experienced: 2007-03-18
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-01-03 16:42:47. Experienced: 2007-03-18

Distance: 7.1 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 250m to 319m. Gain: 123m. Loss: 94m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

An old 4WD track leads down the Taramakau flats from the Pfeifer confluence on the southern bank. Hugging the base of the hill to the south, look out foir a signposted / marked track to Morrisons Bridge, cutting east of a low rise 500m before the Otira River.

The wet-weather track sidles the east side of the Otira until it reaches flats 1km below the swingbridge. This section is subject to bad windfall and can be slow going. Follow the unmarked route up the eastern bank of the Otira to the major footbridge which crosses at Morrisons.

DOC warn that several sections of the wet weather track can flood in extreme conditions - but the track was out of the river after 2 days of persistent rain when I visited. In low flows it is also possible to ford the Otria directly to Aitkins at the Otira / Taramakau confluence without using the wet weather track.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-01-03. Experienced: 2007-03-18

Distance: 3.1 km (0.7 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 305m to 356m. Gain: 67m. Loss: 27m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

3km of road walking along SH73 is required to go from Morrisons Bridge to the start of the Kelly Creek tracks.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-06

Distance: 8.6 km (4.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 347m to 933m. Gain: 679m. Loss: 154m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The signpost to the campsite and tracks has disappeared since my last visit, but the 4WD track on the north bank of Kelly Creek still leads to the gravel-pit / campground. A tidy cut track heads upstream through mature forest for 300m to the first sidecreek where a signpost marks the junction with the Carroll Hut track. From here on it's riverbed travel for those heading to Hunts Creek. The river is low (ankle deep) in normal flows but can be impassable after heavy rain.

After a kilometer or so up gravel riverbeds, a DOC triangle on the north bank marks the starts of the bypass track shown on maps. Alternatively, 200m later a piece of flagging tape on the northern bank marks the start of an older NZFS track: a brief steep climb up a loose gravel gut, sidling over a small spur to be joined by the new flash DOC track as it descends from somewhere far above. The river is gorges and bouldery an not an option so use one of the the bypass tracks.

Back on the valley floor, above the gorge, the nature of the river has changed. The wide, open river flats are narrower; rounded river rocks replace easy gravel; you can see – feel- the valley climb. The rocky riverbed ends 2km-or-so before the saddle and a cut, marked track starts on the northern bank - easy to miss. Low bush alternates with clearings of tall tussock. Track-cutters have clearly been instructed to cut only the bush sections and tussock in the clearings reach well over our heads.

The gentle saddle with Hunts Creek is barely perceptible, but the roar of the river dropping to the Taipo far below lets you know you've passed it. The valleyside steepens, the track sidling – climbing and descending – but mainly climbing. Glimpses through the trees reveal broad bushy flats above the Hunts Creek gorge, a triangular tussock clearing on terraces on the southern bank - the site of Hunts Creek Hut. You emerge, finally, onto the base of a large scree face of lichen-clad rock and stop climbing. The track has formed a well-worn platform in the stable scree, descending gently towards the large clearing in the valley-head. Crossing a brief tongue of bush you emerge into another clearing of tall tussock, to the welcome sight of Hunts Creek Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-07
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-13 16:36:46. Experienced: 2017-03-07

Distance: 2.7 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 874m to 1044m. Gain: 172m. Loss: 2m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Cross the untracked broad clearing to where a pole on the far side marks the start of the track to the upper valley. A good cut and marked track leads through the remaining low scrub, terminating at huge boulderfield. Cairns lead upriver, climbing towards the flats of the upper valley above; become intermittent, half-built, then disappear. The boulders end at scrub - push your way to the riverbed – and continue upriver.

The scrub recedes to the faces and the valley flattens to a magnificent tussock alpine valley floor stretching to ranges at its head. In places, good deer trails provide easy travel upstream, splinter, fade and leave you to pick your way though tall rolling tussock over uneven, pitted ground. A band of morraine crosses the otherwise flat valley floor, the river - a narrow V - forcing it’s way though. Beyond the morraine, a lichen-coated scree fan climbs to a large rocky basin high on the western valleyside - the route to the Taipo via Dry Creek.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-07
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-13 16:37:36. Experienced: 2017-03-07

Distance: 4.0 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 440m to 1511m. Gain: 458m. Loss: 1071m . Gradient: 23 deg (Steep)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Above the morraine band which crosses the upper Hunts Creek, climb the lichen-coated scree fan climbs to a large rocky basin high on the western valleyside. A good gut of scree and grass ascends from the rear, south-west corner of the basin, leading directly to the pass into Dry Creek.

Dry Creek descends from the pass - a steep V of scree. The ground is stable – a careful plod, rather than exhillerating run. Grassy terraces appear for a while, ease travel; end abruptly - forcing you back into the V of the gully. A tussock basin appears where the two head-creeks join. Beyond: the steep, narrow V resumes, dropping to the Taipo over a kilometer below.

Descending initially between tussock faces, the gut soon enters the scrub layer – travel confined to the riverbed. Gradient is steep and unchanging. Clambering down the boulder-bed of the river: rocks football-size, table-sized, loose. Though not dry, the creek is small, occupying only a small part of the gut - there’s plenty of room to pick your way carefully down the dry rocks. Beware: rocks are loose and large sections have a habit of shifting when you put weight on them - take care.The careful descent takes longer than you would expect.

A DOC triangle 20m from the Taipo marks the Taipo Valley track.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-07

Distance: 3.6 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 440m to 609m. Gain: 214m. Loss: 56m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The track above Dry Creek is a broad tunnel through lush, dark moss-covered forest – a former pack track, cut blasted, benched into the hillside. A few climbs have been added round old slips-sites, but it’s still a fast, easy walk up the remaining 6km of valley to Julia Huts. Tumbledown Creek is bridged with a wire walkway.

The historic hut is the first you encounter – a historic but comfortable building tucked beside the track in tall, dark bush. New Julia lies barely 100m beyond in a large, light clearing.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-07

Distance: 7.2 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 599m to 1596m. Gain: 1037m. Loss: 41m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good broad cut track leads from Julia Hut up the east branch towards Harman Pass. Crossing the bridge, leave it at the unmarked junction and follow a rough overgrown track dropping down the far bank back to the forks. Fern and flax eagerly fill the lightwell created by the track. The roughly marked route drops to the main river flats, swings up the western branch of theTaipo towards Pope Pass, ending a few hundred meters later at the creek - it’s terminus marked by a small lichen-covered cairn.

Head upriver rock hopping, climbing steadily. Look out for the start of a track on the true right before the next bouldery falls. It was overgrown (2017) - waist deep in fern and flax, marked occasionally with sun-bleached tape. You soon are back in the riverbed again, above the falls, climbing. Low, tangled west-coast scrub has replaced the tall forest below.

The start of a third track is marked by a cairn - well cut and marked (2017) it climbs to the open boulderfield above. Half an hour of hopping and scrambling over the old, lichened boulders takes you a kilometer or so further upriver to where field ends at a wall of scrub. Scrub-bash back to the riverbed - very hard going so scout for a good route.

The creek above here is likely to be dry - so easy travel. Tussock-fields bracket the river, but hide an uneven boulderfield beneath - so the dry riverbed seems the easiest route. It seems like a long 2.5km up the valley flats to the forks below Pope Pass. The tussock flats finally cede to fans of loose scree, but that proves as slow travel as the rocky tussock the preceded it.

A sheer rock bluff dominates the western fork of the valley leading to Popes Pass, the creek cutting down it’s centre in a single, narrow fall. Climb the true left of the creek on good stable scree, cutting back to the creek above the falls. The great Taipo is now a mere scree gut climbing steeply to the pass: choked with rock, ice - old avalanche debris. The barren rocky saddle of Pope Pass is clearly visible at it’s head.

To the west scree faces descend from a snowfield below the peak of Mt Harman. The last of these scree guts - 150m or so before the pass, is the start of a high route over to Browning Pass.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 2.4 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1366m to 1797m. Gain: 214m. Loss: 461m . Gradient: 16 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

To the west of Popes Pass, in the head of the Taipo, scree faces descend from the still cloud-covered peak of Mt Harman. Climb the best looking of them, 150m north of the pass itself, to emerge onto the snowfield-terrace above at 1700m. Sidle the snow/rock plateau WSW beneath south-eastern face of Mt Harman - fast easy travel, climbing steadily to the crest at 1800m.

The southern shoulder of Mt Harman provides amazing views of Lake Browning, the Wilberforce and the Arahura.

The descent to Lake Browning is straight forward on rock and scree - but was ice-rimed even in March when I visited. Drop down a broad scree ridge towards the lake itself, cutting finally down tussock gullies to the outlet of the lake. Crossing the lake outlet join the old Browning Pass pack-track on the western shore, 200m beyond.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 4.2 km (2.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 852m to 1391m. Gain: 59m. Loss: 566m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The old Browning Pass pack-track zigzags then sidles north from Lake Browning down into the head of the Arahura. The descent is still benched and well marked, except for the final 20m scramble down into the river which has washed out and is steep and loose. A couple of kilometers of unmarked riverbed rock-hopping follow, with the banks becoming increasingly scrubby but the riverbed remaining clear. Look out for markers on the true left where scrub becomes thick. The track follows the left bank for a few hundred meters before climbing steeply up a streambed to the terrace above on the SW valleyside. Here we pick up the old bed of the pack-track again, benched into the hillside. This sidles the remaining 1.5km to Harman Hut - in a boggy basin above the Harman / Arahura forks.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 3.3 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 742m to 886m. Gain: 152m. Loss: 265m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Leaving Harman Hut the pack-track is broad and well maintained. Zigzag down into a gorge, clamber a boulder on aluminium ladders to reach a long swingbridge spanning the deep slot of the river. Beyond, the track stretches out down-valley, cut into the hillside on a carefully surveyed constant ascent. The track sidles the face through scrubby low bush, swings into sidecreek draining the Styx Saddle, where a signpost marks the junction with the Styx - Arahura circuit.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 3.2 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 517m to 773m. Gain: 34m. Loss: 256m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the track junction 1km east of the Styx Saddle, the benched pack-track climbs gently and heads over the low but boggy tussock saddle into the Styx, and on to Grassy Flats Hut. A crossing of the Styx River is required at the hut, but this is small and would only pose difficulties after heavy rain.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-08-20. Experienced: 2007-03-19

Distance: 3.5 km (1.3 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 359m to 517m. Gain: 35m. Loss: 193m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The good benched pack-track continues down the Styx Valley – crossing the river to the north bank just below the hut (reported to be impassable after heavy rain) – easy travel on a constant gradient. Three kilometers downstream an old wooden sign points left across the river: Mid Styx Hut, 40 mins.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 5.9 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy terrain
Altitude: 141m to 376m. Gain: 101m. Loss: 319m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The benched pack track continues down the north bank of the Styx River from the Mid Styx junction. Going is fast and easy. Lower down the pack track becomes a dray road - broad and flat with cuttings and embankments. The turnoff to Mt Brown is 200m upstream of a large slip/bluff on the northern valleyside.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 2.5 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 92m to 150m. Gain: 10m. Loss: 66m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Below the Mt Brown turnoff, the pack track ends at river flats. Pass beneath a tall unstable looking grave cliff and pick up 4WD farm tracks running down farm flats on the northern side of the Styx to the carpark at the roadend.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-08

Distance: 1.1 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 96m to 155m. Gain: 59m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A 1.5km climb up the gravel Dorothy Falls Road takes you from the Styx Valley carpark to the signposted start of the Lake Kaniere Track.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-09

Distance: 9.9 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy terrain
Altitude: 130m to 282m. Gain: 261m. Loss: 286m . Gradient: 3 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the southern carpark, the Lake Kaniere Track climbs in gentle zigzags – gravel surfaces for bikes – sidles the northern face of Mt Upright to a wooden viewing platform. The climb is rewarded by our first look at Lake Kaniere: mirror flat reflecting low hills to the north, tranquil in it’s green bush-covered basin.

The track descends to the lakeshore – no sign remaining of Lawyer’s Delight Hut. More a sidle track than lakeshore track we climb and fall over spurs and bluffs - occasional glimpses of the water through trees. Two small streams form flat gravel fans out into the lake and provide the only flat spots for those wishing to pitch a small tent.

North of the second stream fan, the track finally gives up it’s sidling, runs flat and easy along the lake shore to the roadend at Sunny Bight. The picnic area and toilets are 300m beynod.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 2017-03-09

Distance: 1.1 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 131m to 143m. Gain: 20m. Loss: 12m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A 1km walk along Sunny Bight road takes you from Sunny Bight picnic area to the lake outflow and the start of the Kaniere Water Race Track.

Created by: Madpom on 2017-04-13. Experienced: 20187-03-10

Distance: 8.5 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 48m to 164m. Gain: 146m. Loss: 238m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The West Coast Cycleway is being routed along the old water race track, much improvement work carried out to ease the route. A broad, hard surface of bright white gravel cuts through the forest beside the reinstated hydro water race. Each small creek and been bridged, each dip filled with cuttings – so that the cyclists can cruise by with ease. Ward Road marks the end of the new trail (2017). Beyond, a damp litter of leaves cover the narrow dirt track as it winds along the valleyside, shaded beneath the tall canopy. The new water race gives up on it’s old route, enters a modern tunnel in the hillside. The track persists for a while beside the old overgrown cutting, before that too fades, lost into the shifting hillside.

We emerge from forest onto a 4WD track. The water race emerges from it’s tunnel, runs straight, narrow through a new concrete bed, through silt traps to the head of the new hydro scheme. We drop to Kennedy Creek through weedy regenerating scrub, exiting onto the Lake Kaniere Road just west of the Kennedy Creek bridge.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-22
Last updated by: Madpom at 2017-04-13 18:51:19. Experienced: 2017-03-10

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