The Jollie Brook Circuit starts and finishes off Lake Sumner Road, with the option of starting from either of the two swingbridges over the Hurunui River (approximately 3 km apart on the Lake Sumner Road).
All river crossings between Gabriel and Jollie Brook huts are bridged. There are numerous river crossings from Jollie Brook Hut to the swingbridges.
Time: 1 hr
On the river flats of the Hurunui River, a signpost marks the track that follows the true left of the Hurunui River to the Sisters car park. The Jollie Brook needs to be crossed – this may not be possible in high river flows.
Time: 2 hr
From the swingbridge the track is marked with poles up the true left of the valley. Traverse a series of large ancient river terraces close to the hillside until you reach Gabriel Hut.
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Track leads up Gabriel Stream through beech forest to a low saddle then follows a side-stream to the Jollie Brook. Cross Jollie Brook to reach the hut.
Time: 4 hr
The track downstream from the hut is well marked but there are a few crossings back and forth across the river. When the valley opens out, traverse across grass and gravel flats until you reach the junction with Cold Stream.
After crossing Cold Stream, gravel flats lead to a short gorge. The valley starts to close in, with sections of track appearing intermittently between frequent stream crossings. Eventually the track breaks out onto narrow grassy flats leading to the Hurunui River. Cross the river via the swingbridge just below the Jollie Brook / Hurunui confluence.
Time: 1 hr
This route turns off the Jollie Brook Track, about halfway between Jollie Brook Hut and the Jollie Brook swingbridge.
Cross Cold Stream and follow it, crossing several times to reach the hut.
Time: 5 hr
From Gabriel Hut follow the track to Lake Sumner (about 15 minutes), and then along the north shore of Lake Sumner.The track follows the shoreline but passes through bush in places where access along the shore is not possible.
Cross Evangeline Stream to reach Marion Stream. Follow the track past Lake Marion – a very picturesque spot – and up a hill to meet the Hope Kiwi Track.
From here it is another 1 hour 30 minutes to Hope Kiwi Lodge.
Time: 3 hr
The track descends easily through the forest and emerges onto the Hurunui River flats; pick up the 4WD track back to the swingbridge here. For more information, see Hurunui swingbridge tracks and routes.
Lake Sumner Forest Park lies 100 km northwest of Christchurch between the Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass National Park.
From Christchurch, take SH1 north then turn onto SH7 at Waipara. At Waikari, turn left and follow the Hawarden–Waikari Road through Hawarden, to Lake Sumner Road.
If coming from Hanmer Springs, Lake Sumner Road is signposted off SH7 just after the historic Hurunui Hotel.
Lake Sumner Road is suitable for 2WD vehicles as far as Lake Taylor. Lake Sumner Road passes through two privately operated stations on leasehold and freehold land. Keep to the road and do not disturb stock.
Beyond Lake Taylor, the road to Loch Katrine is suitable for 4WD vehicles only.
There are several other 4WD roads in the lakes area which are privately owned by the neighbouring stations: Lakes Station, Lake Taylor Station and Eskhead Station. These private roads are not to be used unless you have permission before your visit.
Safety is your responsibility: