Robert Ridge Route to Angelus Hut

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Angelus, at 1,650 metres, is perched high on the ranges between Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa in Nelson Lakes National Park.


Angelus Hut and Campsite: Bookings are essential from late November to 30 April, on Labour weekend and Queen's Birthday weekend.


Track overview

min. 12.2 km one way

Walking and tramping

2-3 days Advanced: Tramping track
Expert: Route

Seasonal restrictions

30 November to 30 April, Labour weekend and Queen's Birthday weekend

You must have a booking to stay in the hut or campsite in this period.

1 May to 30 November (excluding Labour weekend and Queen's Birthday weekend)

Bookings are not required in this period – pay by Backcountry Hut Pass or Backcountry Hut Tickets.

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


There are several ways to Rotomaninitua/Lake Angelus - see tracks and routes below.

Walking times are a guide only and will vary with fitness and weather conditions. Weather and snow conditions are most favourable between October and May although in some years winter snow persists into late November on the alpine passes.

Pinchgut Track, Robert Ridge Route - 12.2 km, 6 hr

Robert Ridge is highly exposed to wind and rain. High winds have blown people off their feet - turn back if you have to.

From Mt Robert carpark, a steep zig-zag track (the Pinchgut Track) climbs up to the junction with Paddys Track (Bushline Hut 30 minutes from the junction). The Pinchgut Track ends and the route along the ridge is marked with poles. The route follows a broad ridge to Julius Summit (1794 m). From here the route has some sharp and rocky sections. Care must be taken here in icy or winter conditions as accidents have occurred on this section with those not properly equipped and experienced. Continue past the junction with the Speargrass Creek Route (30 minutes from Angelus Hut) onto the ridge overlooking Angelus Basin. Follow the poles down to the lake and hut.

Rocky outcrops require a lot of scrambling - good footwear and balance are needed.

There is no water along the track/route so remember to carry your own. Be prepared for snow and ice during winter and spring. Robert Ridge is very exposed and is subject to high winds and poor visibility at any time of year.

Robert Ridge Route profile

Robert Ridge Route profile.

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Speargrass Track, Speargrass Creek Route - 11.2 km, 6 hr

From Mt Robert carpark follow Speargrass Track to the Speargrass Creek Route junction approximately 5 minutes before Speargrass Hut (1060 m, serviced 12 bunk hut). From the carpark to the track junction takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. From the track junction it is a poled route with many unbridged stream crossings up Te Horowai/Speargrass Creek, to intersect with the Mt Robert Ridge Route 10 minutes short of the view overlooking Angelus Basin. Follow the poles to the lake and hut. Expect muddy sections below the bush edge. This way is often used in bad weather.

Speargrass Creek Route profile

Speargrass Creek Route profile.

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Travers-Cascade Track/Route - 9.4 km, 6 hr

From St Arnaud the option is to either take the water taxi or walk to either Lakehead Hut (9 km, 3 hr) or Coldwater Hut (12 km, 4 hr).

From Coldwater Hut to the Cascade Track junction it is 1hour 30minutes. From Lakehead Hut it is also 1 hour 30 minutes to the Cascade Track Junction.

Note this includes crossing the unbridged Travers River (if the Travers River is in flood a swingbridge is located 1 hour 30 minutes upstream).

From the Cascade Track Junction it’s a steady climb for 4 hours 30 minutes alongside the Hukere stream. The track ends at the bush edge. Climb steeply following the poled route to Angelus Hut. Snow and ice can create hazards requiring suitable experience and equipment to safely negotiate this route.

Travers-Cascade Track/Route profile

Travers-Cascade Track/Route profile.

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Mt Cedric Track/Route (from Sabine Hut) - 6.8 km, 6 hr

This is a very steep route to Angelus Basin which is exposed above the bushline. The track begins behind Sabine Hut (serviced hut, 32 bunks) and climbs very steeply and steadily to the bush edge. Poles and cairns mark the route from here, which eventually drops off the eastern side of a high ridge of Mt Cedric (1532 m) and descends to Rotomaninitua/Lake Angelus. There is no water along the track/route. Snow and ice can create hazards requiring suitable experience and equipment to safely negotiate this route.

Mt Cedric Track/Route profile

Mt Cedric Track/Route profile.

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Fees and bookings

Peak season fees

In the peak season, 30 November – 30 April, on Labour Weekend and Queen's Birthday weekend. bookings are required and can be made online or by phone, email or in person at some DOC visitor centres. Backcountry Hut Pass or tickets cannot be used at Angelus Hut during the peak season.


Adults (18+ years) - $30.00
Youth (5-17 years) - $15.00
Child/Infant (0-4 years) - Free

Maximum stay period of 2 nights at the hut apply.


Adults (18+ years) - $15.00
Youth (5-17 years) - $7.50
Child/Infant (0-4 years) - Free

Off-peak season fees

In the off-peak season, 1 May to mid November (excluding Labour Weekend and Queen's Birthday weeekend), bookings are not required and trampers must pay by Backcountry Hut Pass or Backcountry Hut Tickets.


Adults (18+ years) - $15 (3 blue standard tickets or 1 green serviced ticket)
Youth (11-17 years) - $7.50 (3 yellow standard tickets or 1 orange serviced ticket)
Child/Infant (0-10 years) - Free

Maximum stay period of 2 nights at the hut apply.


Adults (18+ years) - $5 (1 blue standard ticket)
Youth (11-17 years) - $2.50 (1 yellow standard ticket)
Child/Infant (0-10 years) - Free

Booking Angelus Hut and Angelus Hut Campsite

An Angelus Hut and Angelus Hut Campsite Ticket ensures you a place in the hut or campsite you have booked. If you fail to obtain a ticket the hut and campsite will not be available to you. Bookings can be made online, phone, email or in person at some DOC visitor centres.

Before booking

Make sure you read the information provided in this section and the terms and conditions below before making your booking. 

Booking online

1. To start your online booking or to check availability, check Angelus Hut and Campsite online bookings (see yellow button at top of screen).

2. Once you have completed your booking your Angelus Hut or Angelus Hut Campsite ticket will be emailed to you directly in the form of a confirmation letter as well as being displayed on screen.

3. Print your ticket and take it with you to the hut or campsite as proof of payment. Failure to do so will result in a penalty fee of up to 100%.

Booking via e-mail, phone or in person

Alternatively bookings can be made via e-mail, phone or in person at DOC visitor centres.

You will receive your confirmation letter at the time of booking. You must have this letter with you at the hut or campsite as proof of your booking. Failure to do so will result in a penalty fee of up to 100%.

Note: Bookings cannot be processed without full payment of fees. A booking fee will apply.

Commercial groups

Commercial and/or guided groups are not permitted to use Department of Conservation facilities/services unless authorised by the Department of Conservation via a concession or other agreement.

Concessions are required for, but not restricted to: guiding or accompanying groups (including tramping, walking, fishing, hunting, climbing/ski tours, kayaking/canoeing); transport services; commercial education or instruction activities. Management plans for each national park set out what concession activity is permitted.

Find out about Concessions.

Booking on behalf of others

  • Commercial Agents wishing to make multiple bookings for facilities/services on behalf of customers must hold an Agent agreement with or obtain permission from the Department of Conservation. 
  • A booking is required for each adult, youth, child and infant intending to use a facility or service and the given name, family name, age, gender and nationality of each party member must be entered at the time of booking.
  • Bookings are not transferable from one person/entity to another.
  • Names listed on the booking as using facility/ies and/or service/s may not be substituted unless approved via a Department of Conservation office. Substitution of all or the majority of names listed on a booking will not be approved. Those persons named on the booking may be required as proof of identity when collecting tickets or accessing facilities/services booked. Accepted forms of ID are a passport, driver’s licence, credit card or student ID.

Booking terms and conditions

Read the Booking terms and conditions for general information, age ranges, prices, discounts, penalty rates and the alterations and cancellations policy.

Bookings not meeting the terms and conditions are treated as invalid, and will be reversed (cancelled) by the Department of Conservation.

Know before you go

Prepare for your trip

It’s important to plan, prepare and equip yourself well. Make sure your party has a capable leader and that you have plenty of food, warm and waterproof clothing, the right skills and fitness level required for the trip. Always check the latest information about facilities, tracks and local weather conditions.

Trampers on Robert Ridge route.
Trampers on Robert Ridge route

Essential gear:

  • waterproof raincoat and over-trousers
  • several layers warm clothing
  • spare dry socks
  • strong tramping boots
  • food (enough for the duration plus extra for emergencies)
  • first aid kit
  • sunscreen and sunglasses
  • hat & gloves
  • sleeping bag
  • portable fuel stove & cooking utensils
  • hut tickets or annual hut pass
  • map and compass (and know how to use them!)

Consider carrying:

  • putties (gaiters)
  • personal locator beacon/or mountain radio
  • tent and bed roll in the summer monthsDuring winter and snow conditions you will need an ice axe and crampons, snow gaiters and goggles. You might want to consider carrying an avalanche transceiver, probe and snow shovel.

Freezing conditions and/or heavy rain can occur at any time of year. If you doubt your abilities or the weather, particularly near Travers Saddle or at un-bridged stream crossings after heavy rain, turn back. Fill in the visitor book if you are staying in a hut or at a campsite.

In winter, navigation and alpine skills are essential for your survival. For more information about these visit

It is strongly recommended that you take a personal locator beacon with you. A mountain radio is an optional extra that can be taken for communication.

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.

Your safety and the decisions you make while on the track are your responsibility. Know the outdoor safety code. Check out 

Snow and avalanches

The Nelson Lakes National park contains a large amount of avalanche terrain. There are numerous avalanche paths, which may bring avalanche debris to the valley floor– their start zones cannot be seen from the track. There are a number of relatively easily accessible areas that contain challenging avalanche terrain while seasonal snow is present. There are some significant areas of complex terrain.

All visitors should consider carefully the class of avalanche terrain they are getting into and check the avalanche danger advisory prior to undertaking any trip.

If you are going into places avalanches could occur, be sure you:

  • Have checked the New Zealand Avalanche Advisory (NZAA) and the Avalanche Terrain Exposure scale system (ATES) for the area where you want to go.
  • Have the skills for the ATES class you are going into.
  • Have checked what avalanche advisory and alert information is available from the DOC visitor centre nearest the area where you want to go.
  • Take an avalanche transceiver, a snow shovel and a probe. Know how to use these tools!

German wasp found at Nelson Lakes.
German wasp found at Nelson Lakes


There are high numbers of wasps particularly between January and April. Consider carrying an antihistamine product and if you are allergic to their stings ensure you take your medication.


Sandflies are tiny black insects which cause itchy bites. Cover up and use insect repellent.

Water quality

Water supplies are generally of a high quality but cannot be guaranteed. You may choose to boil, filter or treat drinking water. Use toilet facilities and help keep water supplies clean.

Nelson Lakes - thefts from vehicles

Isolated carparks are prone to theft. Don't leave any valuables in your vehicle. A bag storage facility is available at the Rotoiti/Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre. 

Other activities

Find out about other activities you can do at Rotomaninitua / Lake Angelus in Nelson Lakes National Park.


In summer the best side trip from the hut is the climb of Maniniaro / Angelus Peak (2,075 m). If the mountain is clear of snow no special equipment or experience is required. The less energetic could climb to Sunset Saddle and then traverse west for ten minutes to the Travers Range. This provides spectacular views of the D’Urville and Sabine rivers twisting lazily to the head of Lake Rotoroa.


The alpine basins in the area offer good botanising with habitats ranging from screes and bluffs to stream beds, small bogs and open tussock slopes.


Speargrass Valley is a popular hunting area. A hunting permit is required. Permits also cover the Travers Valley, but the front faces of Mt Robert are closed to hunting.  

You can get permits from the Department of Conservation 

No dogs are allowed in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

Hunting in Nelson Lakes

North and Western South Island pesticides summary

Ski touring/Snowshoeing

The Robert Ridge in winter is good for both of these activities with skiing possible through to Angelus Hut in ideal conditions.

Naure and history

Perched high on the ranges between Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa in Nelson Lakes National Park is Rotomaninitua / Lake Angelus. It is really a large alpine pond or tarn, a legacy of recent ice advances and typical of the many tarns in the park.

During successive major ice advances, which ended about 10,000 years ago, glaciers and permanent snowfields covered much of the Southern Alps. Erosion by ice has left its characteristic mark: steep valley walls, bluff-ringed side creeks, sharp ridges and peaks, and round, lake-filled basins.

The trip along Robert Ridge to the lake is one way to enjoy the alpine environment in the park. The first recorded person to scramble along Robert Ridge was Julius von Haast in 1860 but it is unlikely he was the first.

The lake was previously known as Rangimarie (a Maori name given by a European meaning peaceful). Later a group climbing the obvious peak to the south named the peak and by association the lake ‘Angelus’ after a devotional prayer. They also named nearby Hinapouri Tarn (dark waters), and Hukere Stream (cascading waters).


Rotoiti / Nelson Lakes Office
Phone:   +64 3 521 1806
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   View Road
St Arnaud
Postal Address:   PO Box 55
St Arnaud 7053
Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
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