The Taramakau River extends from the Tasman Sea to 962m Harper Pass, a route to the upper Hurunui River. The lower valley can be accessed from SH73. The upper valley from Aickens is mostly wide gravel or grassed riverbed with mixed beech forested hill slopes and extensive tussock tops.
The Otehake Valley is a heavily forested large tributary on the true left. There are many smaller side streams. The upper valley is most popular for hunting and is open all year round. It is also a popular tramping route to Canterbury. There are several large section of private land in the upper valley.
Access to the upper Taramakau is from SH73 at Aickens corner. There is a signposted carpark where the foot track access commences. This crosses the Otira River then follows a rough vehicle track for a few km then travel is via river bed and short sections of track to Harper Pass. There is rough 4WD access up to about the Otehake confluence. To use this track permission is required to pass through private land between the highway and the Otira riverbed and beyond.
Note: The Otira can be dangerous to cross if in flood and there is an alternative route by crossing a footbridge 4.5km up the road towards Otira and then a track which returns to the Taramakau Valley.
The Otehake Valley can be accessed by a rough track that starts on the true left 2.5km upstream from the confluence with the Taramakau.
There is a marked track that starts at Pfeifer Creek, loops past Lake Kaurapataka and returns to the Taramakau via the Otehake River. There is also a marked track that starts opposite Michael Creek which provides access to Townsend Hut and the open tops.
The landowner at Aickens is J and E Evans. Ph: +64 3 738 2818 - check if OK with them.
NZTopo50 BU20, BU21, BY20
All conservation land areas are prohibited to dogs except where authorisation has been granted by DOC. People wishing to take a dog into this area should seek authorisation from the DOC office. To take dogs across private property you must get permission from the land owner.
The TL of the upper Taramakau is part of Arthurs Pass National Park and no dogs are permitted.
There are several standard or basic DOC huts in the valley:
- Red deer can be found throughout the area at any time of the year however spring hunting on the grass flats and the Roar is most popular.
- Chamois are found mainly in the alpine areas in low numbers.
- Hares are found throughout.
- Possums are controlled by TBfree and DOC in the lower parts of the valley only.
- Feral pigs and goats are uncommon.
Please report any goat sightings in the upper Taramakau to DOC.