Mackenzie Basin routes
Ruataniwha Conservation Park
Brodrick Hut – Brodrick Pass
Time: 3 hr
This poled route is marked on the eastern side of the main divide to Brodrick Pass. An unmarked route accesses the Landsborough via McKenzie Creek. It is also possible to cross from the South Huxley valley into the Ahuriri and South Temple valleys.
Freehold Creek bush line – Dumb-bell Lake
Time: 6 hr
This is a poled route from above the Freehold Creek bush line to Dumb-bell Lake (1557 metres).
For a circular tramping trip, travel up North Temple valley and then ascend a steep narrow rocky gut to ‘Gunsight Pass’ before descending into South Temple valley.
Temple valley is signposted off Lake Ohau Road. A short road leads into the Temple valley amenity area which contains a shelter, toilets and camping area.
Maitland Hut – Snowy Gorge Hut
Time: 3 hr
A poled route to the head of the Maitland valley crosses the pass at 1352 metres and continues down to Snowy Gorge Hut.
Time: 2 hr 30 min return
Distance: 3 km, 250 m vertical climb
There is a car park for this walk on the southern side of the Boundary Stream bridge (15 km along the Aoraki/Mt Cook road from the SH 8 turnoff). The signpost is easily seen from the bridge, but not from the car park. Climb the steep bank and cross the fenceline running parallel to the highway. Follow the fenceline going directly up the hill. There is no formed track as such, but old sheep tracks are worn along the stream side of the fenceline. There is a natural terrace at about 800 metres near a swamp.
This is a great place to stop and admire the views before returning back to the car park.
Ahuriri Conservation Park
Canyon Creek edge of beech forest to rock bivvy
Time: 2 hr 30 min
From the 4WD road end it is a short walk to the Canyon Creek picnic area. From here the tramping track takes you over the spectacular canyon and through beech forest. (1 hr 20 min).
The track then turns into a lightly marked route through an impressive gorge to the upper valley’s waterfalls and grassy flats. A rock bivvy has stunning views of Mt Barth. (2 hr 30 min).
The starting point for Hideaway Biv is from Birchwood Road just after the Birch Creek bridge. There is a short public access route down to the Ahuriri River where vehicles can be parked. Cross the Ahuriri on foot and head across the flats towards an old mustering hut. From here it is possible to pick up an old track which circumnavigates Peak pt 1254. The track leads to a lovely mountain tarn and from here it is a short scramble skiring wetland areas to Hideaway Biv.
Hideaway Biv is an old historic hut complete with clay / concrete mix floor and rustic touches.
The Mackenzie Basin is situated in the centre of New Zealand's South Island. It features mountains, lakes, rivers, beech forest remnants and rolling tussock country.
Most of the routes mentioned here are relatively easy to access and take the tramper into some wonderful high country.
Plan and prepare
The climate in the Mackenzie Basin is traditionally very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter.
New Zealand weather can also change very rapidly. Walkers need to be prepared for a range of conditions.
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