Mt Isobel track in winter

Image: Ruth McKie | Creative Commons


Tramping tracks in Hanmer Forest range in length from half-day to full-day trips, featuring forest and waterfalls and climbs to the alpine zone.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

Various from 3 - 6 hr return Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

Dogs allowed. Keep dog under control at all times.

About this track


Half day tramps

Chatterton River Track 

Time: 2 hr 30 min return

Chatterton Rd leads from the AA Camp to the car park at the start of the walking track. The track follows Chatterton River to an old stock route, then cuts across to the original Jacks Pass bridle track. Views of Hanmer Basin can be enjoyed. An alternative is to follow the old stock route all the way to Jacks Pass. Return either by retracing the trail or walking down Clarence Valley Road Rd to the township.

Waterfall Track

Time: 2 hr 30 min return

A steady climb from the car park at the end of Mullans Rd climbs through mountain beech forest to the attractive 41 metre-high Dog Stream waterfall. Mosses, ferns, lichens and native orchids are interesting features on the track. A suggested round trip is to return via Spur Track and Fir Trail to the waterfall car park. 

Spur Track 

Time: 3 hr return 

This provides an alternative return route from Dog Stream waterfall. Begin 15 minutes from the waterfall and climb to the bushline, then descend toward Nature Trail. Panoramic views, subalpine plants and plantation forest are features of this walk.

Note: The lower section of this track where it passes through production forestry has been reopened following harvesting. Parts of this track are steep and muddy in places.

Full day tramps

Mt Isobel

There are four options to reach the summit of Mt Isobel (1,324 m), giving you a choice of locations to start and finish if you can organise transport.

Mt Isobel Track

Time: 5 hr 30 min – 6 hr 30 min return  

This is the most popular track to the summit. Begin at Clarence Valley Road car park and wander through European and Japanese larches before entering subalpine scrub and open grassland. Continue to the summit of Mt Isobel for panoramic views of Hanmer Basin and beyond.

Jacks Pass to Mt Isobel Track

Time: 3–4 hr return

Route begins further up Clarence Valley Road at Jacks Pass. This steep, rocky and exposed route is marked by poles until it meets up with the Mt Isobel Track. For fit experienced trampers.

Jollies Pass Road to Mt Isobel Track

Time: 4–5 hr return

The route starts 800 m north of Jollies Pass, climbing through mountain beech and sub-alpine scrub before joining the eastern ridge to the summit. This is the least used route to Mt Isobel. The upper part of Jollies Road is steep and not suitable for caravans and vehicles with low ground clearance.

Waterfall (Dog Stream) Track

Time: 6 hr return

This track starts at the McIntyre Road car park. The steep track zig-zags to meet Mt Isobel Track just below the ridge. This track is prone to slips and good footwear is required.

Dog Stream Waterfall

Time: 5–6 hr return  

A full day’s walk from Hanmer Springs can be made by using Timberlands–Jolliffe Saddle Tracks to connect with Waterfall Track. Return by Spur Track and Dog Stream Track to make a round trip.  

Getting there

Hanmer Springs, at an altitude of 385 metres, is 135 kilometres north of Christchurch, off Lewis Pass Highway.

Know before you go

Entry to Hanmer Forest on foot is unrestricted except in times of fire danger or for public safety. Some tracks may be closed for harvesting operations – please respect the signs.

A red flag flying outside the the information centre and community hall indicates all tracks are closed because of extreme fire danger.

Please report all suspicious fires immediately - dial 111.

Wasp populations reach high numbers from January to March – wear light coloured clothing and carry antihistamine cream/tablets as a precaution.


Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Postal Address:   PO Box 349
Rangiora 7440
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