This is a great walk for families with young children or those people new to tramping. The track is a well formed bench track that can also be completed as a day walk.
From the shelter, the track enters the trees and soon crosses the Maruia River over a deep, narrow gorge called the Sluice Box. From the Sluice Box the track continues up the Alfred River. The track passes through spendid red beech forest until it reaches the lake edge and the Manson Nicholls Memorial Hut (sleeps 24).
Manson Nicholls Memorial Hut
Facilities: 24 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served
There are two bunk rooms in the Manson Nicholls Memorial Hut which can cater nicely for families with young children. Camping is possible on the grass surrounding the hut or a little further around the lake in the open forest.
In front of the hut small jetty juts out into the shallow waters of the lake. The lake is shallow and the water is warm enough to swim in during the summer months. There is also excellent trout fishing in the lake.
Family at Mason Nicholl Hut
Lake Daniell is a great place for families with young children
Lake Daniell Track begins from the Marble Hill camping area located 5km east of Springs Junction on the Lewis Pass Highway. Turn off the highway onto a gravel road and drive several hundred metres till you come to a shelter on the left hand side.
Nature and conservation
On the track to the lake you may encounter tomtit, rifleman, robin, tui, fernbird, silvereye, grey warbler, bellbird, and even kaka or kakariki.
Lake Daniell is within the Maruia Waka Huia special biodiversity area which is a time capsule of what New Zealand once was. Keeping the many rare wildlife and plant species of the Maruia area safe from introduced predators requires a massive conservation effort.
You may encounter some of the many predator traps along the way that are part of this effort.
Know before you go
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.