In good conditions, the track to Nina Hut is suitable for families with children who have some tramping experience and new trampers - it is relatively flat but can be rough and muddy in places and has several stream crossings.
Time: 1 hr
Cross the Lewis River via the swingbridge and follow the true right bank for a short section before climbing briefly onto a terrace. The track then heads northwest away from the river and sidles through beech forest above the Nina River. The river is reached after about an hour of walking. The track continues up the true left of the river to where the Nina swingbridge crosses it.
Time: 2 hr
After crossing the bridge, the track heads up the true right of the river, gradually climbing to reach the Nina Hut.
Time: 2 hr
From Nina Hut follow the track down to Nina River and cross at a suitable place (note, it may not be crossable in high flow). Follow the track up the true left of the river to Upper Nina Biv.
Time: 3 hr
From the Nina swingbridge (do not cross) continue up true left of the Nina River until you reach Lucretia Stream. Climb over a small gorge before descending to cross the stream. Continue up the true right to reach the hut situated on a tussock flat.
This route links the Nina and Doubtful valleys via Devilskin Saddle. It can be walked in either direction, but it is recommended you walk it from the Nina valley. This trip is suitable for experienced trampers and combines mountain-beech forest, river flats and an alpine saddle crossing.
Time: 2 hr
The track from the hut sidles through beech forest high above the Nina River. This section is a little harder to follow, but is reasonably well marked. Gradually gain altitude to reach Blind Stream after about an hour. The track climbs above the true right of the stream and very steeply up a spur. Use tree roots for hand and foot holds to avoid a hidden waterfall. Then track then levels out and reaches the old hut site at the tree line. This area is suitable for camping in summer but is avalanche prone in winter and spring.
From here the route continues up the true right of the stream through waist-high red tussock. This section has risk of avalanches in winter and spring. Follow marker poles as the route sidles away from the stream and climbs for about 30 minutes to reach Devilskin Saddle where there are good views down both valleys. The new Devils Den Biv is a further 100 m along the saddle. Note: This area is not suitable for camping. Trampers will need to return to the old hut site if they need to camp.
Time: 3 hr 30 min
From the hut, follow marker poles down to Devilskin Stream where a track is picked up at the bushline. This track sidles along high on the true left above the stream, through silver beech forest. It eventually descends steeply to the confluence of Devilskin Stream and Doubtful River.
Doubtful River must be crossed here. This crossing could be dangerous during or after heavy rain. Doubtful Hut is situated just downstream on a river terrace. From Doubtful Hut it is a 2 hour walk to cross the Boyle River to reach SH7.
Access is off SH7, approximately 50 km after the turnoff to Hanmer Springs and 10 km from Lewis Pass. There is a car park just opposite Palmer Lodge (private lodge owned by New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association). Leave vehicles at your own risk. A swingbridge over the Lewis River gives access to the Nina Valley.
Buses run along SH7 but must be booked in advance.
NZTopo50 map sheets: BT23, BU23
Wasp populations reach high numbers from January to April – cover food and keep lids on sweet drinks, wear light-coloured clothing and carry antihistamine cream/tablets as a precaution.
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.