Waiau Pass Track follows the true right of the Waiau River, St James Conservation Area.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Waiau Pass Track follows the true right of the Waiau River from Anne Hut on the St James Walkway, to Caroline Bivvy. After Caroline Bivvy the track becomes a route to Waiau Pass and is suitable for experienced trampers only.

Those walking to Caroline Bivvy from Maling Pass can use an old 4WD track on the true left of the Waiau River. Cross the rabbit fence at the locked gate then follow the 4WD track for 3 km before crossing the river to join Waiau Pass Track.

For more information, see Lewis Pass - Waiau Pass – Blue Lakes Route.

Times and distances

Note: times given are walking times only.

  • Anne Hut to Henry Track junction -  2 hr 30min / 6.5 km
  • Henry Track junction to Ada Track junction - 2 hr / 5.5 km
  • Ada Track junction to Lake Guyon junction - 1 hr 30 min / 3.2 km
  • Waiau Pass Track to Lake Guyon junction  - river crossing - 20 min / 800 m
  • Lake Guyon junction to Maling junction - 2 hr / 5 km
  • Waiau Pass Track to cycle trail - river crossing - 5 min / 200 m
  • Maling junction to Caroline Bivvy - 3 hr 30 min / 10 km
Link tracks
  • Henry Track – Waiau Pass Track junction to Saddle Spur Bridge - 1 hr / 3.2 km
  • Ada Track – Waiau Pass Track junction to Christopher Hut - 1 hr 30 min / 4.8 km

Getting there

The eastern side of St James Conservation Area can be reached via Tophouse Road. From Hanmer Springs take Clarence Valley Road over Jacks Pass to connect with Tophouse Road (about 13km from Hanmer Springs).

The western side of St James Conservation Area and the St James Walkway is accessed from State Highway 7 (Lewis Pass Road).

Know before you go

While access into St James is relatively easy, this remains a remote backcountry area. There is no cell phone coverage. Before your trip ensure you have:

  • Checked the latest forecast
  • Left your intentions with someone
  • A PLB (personal locator beacon) or mountain radio
  • Enough warm clothing to spend the night out if you have to.


Avalanches can occur every year when there is snow in the mountains. Most occur during winter storms or in spring/early summer when warmer temperatures or rain make the snow unstable. Even if you can not see snow from the track there may be enough snow out of sight on upper slopes to form an avalanche that could reach the track.

Waiau Pass Track is 'complex' avalanche terrain.


Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Full office details
Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 318 9211
Address:   State Highway 73
Arthur's Pass
Full office details
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