Hurunui Swingbridge Tracks and Routes
Image: Ronnie Penny | Creative Commons
Several tracks can be started from Hurunui swingbridge at the end of Lake Sumner Road, including the very popular Harper Pass trip, which crosses the Southern Alps into Arthur's Pass National Park.
This track goes from the Hurunui swingbridge to Windy Point.
Time: 4 hr 30 min
From the swingbridge, follow the 4WD track to the forest edge where it climbs easily to Three Mile Stream. Cross the stream, then climb steadily to Kiwi Saddle through red beech forest.
Just before the saddle there is a two-minute side track to a lookout across the lake. From the saddle descend to the swampy grasslands of Kiwi valley. Pick up a 4WD track on the true right of Kiwi River across open grasslands to Hope Kiwi Lodge.
Time: 3 hr
Follow the poled route from Hope Kiwi Lodge along the forest edge to the Hope River swingbridge about 30 minutes from the hut. The track follows down broad grassy flats before returning to the forest. The track leaves the river and climbs the bank to Hope Halfway Hut.
Time: 4 hr
The track keeps to the beech forest on terraces high above the riverbed. At the forest edge a vehicle track descends through mānuka and tussock to the swingbridge over the Boyle River gorge. Five minutes down a shingle road is the shelter and car park at Windy Point, beside SH 7.
The route is described here from Hurunui swingbridge to Harper Pass. The full 4-5 day route over Harper Pass, from Aitken to Lewis Pass, should be walked from the West side, ie in the opposite direction to that described below. For more information, see Harpers Pass Route
Time: 30 min
An easy walk along a graded track through beech forest to Hurunui Hut.
Time: 4 hr
The track passes through sections of beech forest and crosses river flats, with some sections climbing up the side of the hill to get around the river. A hot spring is approximately 2 hours from Hurunui Hut. From the hot spring the track sidles through the forest and descends to matagouri flats where it is an easy walk to No. 3 Hut.
Time: 1 hr
The track follows the river through red beech forest to Camerons Stream, which is crossed via a three-wire bridge. The track continues through the forest to Camerons Hut.
Time: 2 hr
The track crosses grass sections and beech forest, climbing around gorges to avoid crossing the river. The summit of Harper Pass is approximately 45 minutes further on from the Harper Pass bivvy.
Time: 4 hr 30 min
From the swingbridge travel up McMillan Stream on gravel flats and forest terraces, criss-crossing the streambed as needed. The track then leaves the stream to climb to a low saddle and then descends to the top flats of Three Mile Stream. Three Mile Stream Hut is further down the flats.
Time: 3 hr
The start of the track is well signposted down the flats. It climbs steadily to a low bush saddle and passes swampy clearings to reach Parakeet Stream. The track makes a gradual descent to Hope Kiwi Lodge.
Time: 3 hr 30 min
From Three Mile Stream Hut follow the poled route downstream. Then pick up the track through bush (marked with orange triangles) where it climbs above the gorge and then descends to join the Hope Kiwi Track.
Time: 5 hr
The Mackenzie Stream Route leaves the Harper Pass Track about 1 hour from Hurunui Hut.
The turn-off is signposted approximately opposite the junction with Mackenzie Stream and Hurunui River. You will need to make your own crossing over the Hurunui River so this may not be possible when the river is high.
Cross the river flats to Mackenzie Stream and follow it up on the true right. This section is not marked until you enter the forest. Along the route there is a hot spring where a pool big enough for two has been constructed.
Lake Sumner Forest Park lies 100 km northwest of Christchurch between Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass National Park.
To reach the park via Lake Sumner Road: take State Highway 7 at Waikari to Hawarden, then follow Lake Sumner Road to Lake Taylor. The road beyond Lake Taylor is suitable for 4WD vehicles only to Loch Katrine (camping area).
The 4WD track from Loch Katrine to the Hurunui swingbridge at the boundary of Lake Sumner Forest Park crosses Lakes Station land. There is a locked gate on road by Loch Katrine. There is no restriction for foot or mountain-bike access through this gate, but vehicle access must be gained from Lakes Station.
It is approximately 9 km (2-3 hours walk) from Loch Katrine to the Hurunui swingbridge.
Safety is your responsibility: