Packhorse hut to Mt Herbert summit track
Note: DOC no longer manages the track from Orton Bradley Park to Mt Herbert.
6.5 km one way
Closed for lambing 8 August – 15 October.
Head east through Sign of the Packhorse Scenic Reserve through many young, regenerating horoeka/lancewood trees. The track emerges from the reserve into open country and zig-zags steeply up the side of Mount Bradley, climbing 300 m. This is the toughest part of the track, so take a rest and admire the view of Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora). After the last zig-zag the track heads east, skirting below the mountain's rocky massif through gorse, bush and regenerating scrub – you will have to pick over some rocky patches.
The track emerges at a fence line on the pass between Mount Bradley and Mount Herbert. Cross at the stile and carry straight on near the fence. You will soon join a farm track; stay on the main track when a side track branches off to Orton Bradley Park. The Mount Herbert Shelter is a short distance along and has a toilet and water.
From the shelter, return to the farm track. Turn right after about 400 m, up a smaller track that leads through gorse to the Mount Herbert/Te Ahu Patiki summit. If you miss this turnoff, there is another opportunity to reach the summit when the track from Te Waipapa/DiamondHarbour joins.
There are stunning views from here on a good day. On a cloudy day it can be misty and confusing so watch closely for the track markers, which are closer together on this section.
Take SH75 to Kaituna Valley Road. Turn left into Parkinsons Road approximately 6 km up the valley. Park near the road end where the track starts
From the car park follow the Kaituna Valley Packhorse Hut track to the Packhorse Hut.
Mountain biking is not allowed on this section.
The track is suitable for people with moderate backcountry skills and experience. It's rough and steep in places.
The track is exposed to all weathers. It can be windy, cold and prone to low cloud in poor weather.
Water and toilets are only available at the huts and the Mt Herbert shelter.
The track crosses private farmland - respect this and keep to the track.
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.