Views from Mount Somers Track
PHOTO: Brian Dobbie © 

Introduction

The Mount Somers Track provides a number of options, including for kids, for an overnight tramp with impressive rock formations, historic mines and stunning views. It links the popular Pinnacles and Woolshed Creek huts.

Video

Track overview

26 km for full circuit

Dog access

No dogs

About this track

Description

Walking options

  • For an easy overnight tramp suitable for children walk to either Pinnacles Hut or Woolshed Creek Hut - Woolshed Hut is particularly suitable for children.
  • For a circuit trip to Woolshed Creek Hut, walk in on the Miners Track and out via Rhyolite Ridge Track.
  • For a more challenging circuit, walk from Sharplin Falls carpark to Woolshed Creek Hut and return via the southern face of Mt Somers.

Sharplin Falls car park to Pinnacles Hut

Time: 3 hr
Distance: 5.2 km

The track climbs steeply through mountain beech forest/tawhairauriki to Dukes Knob before following Bowyers Stream to Pinnacles Hut.

The hut is named after the rock formations on the northern face of Mt Somers, formed by the cooling of very hot sticky lava flows some 90 million years ago.

Pinnacles Hut.

Pinnacles Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 19 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Pinnacles Hut to Woolshed Creek Hut

Time: 3 hr
Distance: 6.2 km

From the hut follow markers through tussock and subalpine scrub up to the Mt Somers saddle (1170 m). It's a steady climb to the saddle where views of the Taylor and Old Man ranges dominate the scenery.

On the descent towards Morgan Stream a sign indicates a short side-trip to view some interesting boulder features referred to as ‘caves’. Returning to the main track, follow the markers across Morgan Stream and Woolshed Creek to Woolshed Creek Hut.

Woolshed Creek Hut.

Woolshed Creek Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 26 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

From Woolshed Creek Hut, Woolshed Creek car park can be reached via Miners Track or Rhyolite Ridge Track.

Woolshed Creek Hut to Woolshed Creek car park via Miners Track

Time: 3 hr
Distance: 5 km

From Woolshed Creek Hut the track rises to a high point (trig R, 934 m) with superb views of the upper Ashburton Gorge, before descending to the old Blackburn Mine. The track then runs alongside the hand-built jig that transported coal from the Blackburn Mine to the railway wagons waiting below. At the bottom of the jig the track follows the route of the tramway to Woolshed Creek car park.

Sidewinder Track

Time: 45 min
Distance: 1 km

This steep hill track branches off the Miners Track. It begins with a short walk through a small pocket of silver beech that escaped the fires that swept through Ashburton Gorge. The track then climbs steeply up to and through the tailings of the old Blackburn Mine.

Woolshed Creek Hut to Woolshed Creek car park via Rhyolite Ridge Track junction

Time: 2 hr
Distance: 4.6 km

The route takes in dynamic scenery with regenerating mountain beech forest/tawhairauriki within a landscape of waterfalls, deep icy pools and rocky tors. From the hut the route climbs some 500 metres to a local feature known as the Bus Stop Overhang. From here the track crosses the face of Mt Somers to link with Rhyolite Ridge Track (1 hr, 1.8 km), which follows a rocky ridge to Woolshed Creek car park.

Rhyolite Ridge Track junction to Mt Somers Summit Track junction

Time: 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 6 km

Passing around the southern face of Mt Somers through a mix of open grassland and forested catchments, this section of track eventually rises to its highest point (1080 m) at the junction of the Mt Somers Summit Track. Acland Shelter provides welcome shelter and rest after about 4 km (1 hour 30 minutes) from the junction.

Mt Somers Summit Track junction to Sharplin Falls car park

Time: 2 hr 30 min
Distance: 2.7 km

The final steep downhill section is through regenerating forest areas but is open enough to continue to provide interesting views to the east.

Getting there

Sharplin Falls carpark:  From Staveley, follow Boyds Road for approx. 450 m, then turn right onto Flynns Road and follow this to the end.

Woolshed Creek carpark: From Mount Somers township, follow Ashburton Gorge Road for approx. 10 km before turning right into Jig Road. Follow Jig Road to the end.

If you intend to walk only one way from Woolshed Creek car park and require vehicle transport, a local service is available - phone Marilyn Gray on +64 3 303 0809 before you start your trip.

Know before you go

Use NZTopo50 map sheets BX19 and BX20.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Contacts

Ōtautahi / Christchurch Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 379 4082
Address:   Co-located with the Christchurch i-site
28 Worcester Boulevard
Christchurch 8140
Email:   christchurchvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Raukapuka / Geraldine Office
Phone:   +64 3 693 1010
Address:   13 – 15 North Terrace
Geraldine 7930
Email:   geraldine@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
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