Mackenzie Basin tramping tracks

Track category

Tramping track


Ahuriri Conservation Park

Upper Ahuriri Valley

Time: 2 hr Upper Ahuriri Valley 4WD road end – Shamrock Hut     
Time: 4 hr 4WD road end – Hagens Hut
Time: 6 hr 4WD road end – Top Hut

Mountain bikers, trampers and horse riders can all easily access the upper reaches of the Ahuriri Valley. There are plenty of camping spots, and three huts. The Ahuriri base Hut is accessible from the 4WD road.

From the pass at the head of the upper Ahuriri Valley it is possible to descend into the South Huxley river valley.

Two other passes give access from the upper Ahuriri valley  into the South Temple valley. The Maitland Valley can be accessed from Watson Stream. Mt Huxley at the head of the valley is popular with mountaineers. 

Ruataniwha Conservation Park

Ben Ohau

Time: 4 to 5 hr return
Distance: 5 km,  810 m vertical  

Ben Ohau range.
Admiring the view from Ben Ohau range

This track is found off Glen Lyon Road which travels around the eastern edge of Lake Ohau. There is ample room for car parking and a DOC sign indicates the start of the walk.  An old track climbs past a remnant beech forest and up the western flank of Ben Ohau Peak to a height of 1370 metres to a saddle where a fence line crosses the track. There are magnificent views to be had from here looking east across the Mackenzie Basin. Keen walkers can scramble a further 152 metres to the summit of Ben Ohau Peak at 1522 metres and appreciate the spectacular 360-degree view.  

In winter and in westerly wind conditions walkers should be prepared for very cold temperatures.

Temple valley

Temple valley amenity area – North Temple cirque

Time: 2 hr 30 min

The track crosses North Temple Stream and heads through the beech forest margin along the true right of the stream and ends at an impressive cirque basin.

Temple valley amenity area – South Temple Hut 

Time: 2 hr 30 min  

The track meanders in and out of mountain beech forest beside South Temple Stream. It is necessary to cross South Temple Stream to reach South Temple Hut.

A short road leads into the Temple valley amenity area which contains a shelter, toilets and camping area. Temple valley is signposted off Lake Ohau Road.

Hopkins valley

Ram Hill – Monument Hut

Time: 2 hr

Monument Hut – Red Hut

Time: 2 hr

Red Hut – Dasler Biv

Time: 3 hr

Monument Hut – Elcho Hut

Time: 4 hr

Elcho Hut – Cullers Hut

Time: 30 min

Cullers Hut – Dodger Hut

Time: 2 hr

Dodger Hut – Erceg Hut

Time: 3 hr

Erceg Hut – Richardson Biv

Time: 1 hr

The main access route into the Hopkins area is via Lake Ohau Road where there is a car park area at Ram Hill.

From Ram Hill, 4WD vehicles are essential as the track deteriorates on the journey into Monument Hut. The track travels to Monument Hut, crosses the Hopkins River over to Red Hut and then continues on the true left of the Hopkins valley. Vehicle use terminates at Elcho Hut.

The Hopkins River crossings can be dangerous in high river flows, with soft sand deposits evident after floods. Check fords before entry.

Hopkins – Elcho Stream

Time: 2 hr

From the North Elcho Stream bush line, trampers can climb up to Elcho Pass and descend into Landsborough valley. An alternative return trip is via McKenzie Creek to Brodrick Pass in the North Huxley valley.

Huxley valley

Monument Hut – Huxley Forks Hut

Time: 3 hr

Huxley Forks Hut – Brodrick Hut

Time: 2 hr 30 min

Huxley Forks Hut – South Huxley Biv

Time: 2 hr 30 min

Huxley valley branches off Hopkins valley and is an open, grassy riverbed as far as Huxley Forks Hut, a popular destination for trampers. Some of the last remaining sites of Pittosporum patulum, an endangered shrub, are found in the Huxley valley but are under threat from possum browsing.

Dobson valley

Glen Lyon Station – Grough Hut

Time: 5 hr

Grough Hut – Kennedy Hut 

Time: 2 hr 30 min

Kennedy Hut – Waterfall Hut

Time: 2 hr

Waterfall Hut – Readon Hut

Time: 1 hr 30 min

The Dobson valley is reached via Old Glen Lyon Road which skirts the eastern side of Lake Ohau to Glen Lyon Station. Permission to access Dobson valley is required from the runholders of Glen Lyon Station. The Dobson River crossings can be dangerous in high river flows with soft sand deposits evident after floods. Check fords before entry.

Getting there

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.

All of the tramping tracks described here involve travel through mountain or silver beech forest.

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. Trampers need to be prepared for a range of conditions. 

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