Views from Mount Somers Track
Image: Brian Dobbie | ©
26 km for full circuit
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 5.2 km
The track climbs steeply through mountain beech forest/tawhairauriki to Dukes Knob before following Bowyers Stream to Pinnacles Hut. Allow more time if your group is not use to tramping.
The hut is named after the rock formations on the northern face of Mt Somers, formed by the cooling of very hot sticky lava flows some 90 million years ago.
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 6.2 km
From the hut follow markers through tussock and subalpine scrub up to the Mt Somers saddle (1170 m). It's a steady climb to the saddle where views of the Taylor and Old Man ranges dominate the scenery.
On the descent towards Morgan Stream a sign indicates a short side-trip to view some interesting boulder features referred to as ‘caves’. Returning to the main track, follow the markers across Morgan Stream and Woolshed Creek to Woolshed Creek Hut.
From Woolshed Creek Hut, Woolshed Creek car park can be reached via Miners Track or Rhyolite Ridge Track.
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 5 km
From Woolshed Creek Hut the track rises to a high point (trig R, 934 m) with superb views of the upper Ashburton Gorge, before descending to the old Blackburn Mine. The track then runs alongside the hand-built jig that transported coal from the Blackburn Mine to the railway wagons waiting below. At the bottom of the jig the track follows the route of the tramway to Woolshed Creek car park.
Time: 45 min
Distance: 1 km
This steep hill track branches off the Miners Track. It begins with a short walk through a small pocket of silver beech that escaped the fires that swept through Ashburton Gorge. The track then climbs steeply up to and through the tailings of the old Blackburn Mine.
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 4.6 km
The route takes in dynamic scenery with regenerating mountain beech forest/tawhairauriki within a landscape of waterfalls, deep icy pools and rocky tors. From the hut the route climbs some 500 metres to a local feature known as the Bus Stop Overhang. From here the track crosses the face of Mt Somers to link with Rhyolite Ridge Track (1 hr, 1.8 km), which follows a rocky ridge to Woolshed Creek car park.
Time: 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 6 km
Passing around the southern face of Mt Somers through a mix of open grassland and forested catchments, this section of track eventually rises to its highest point (1080 m) at the junction of the Mt Somers Summit Track. Acland Shelter provides welcome shelter and rest after about 4 km (1 hour 30 minutes) from the junction.
Time: 2 hr 30 min
Distance: 2.7 km
The final steep downhill section is through regenerating forest areas but is open enough to continue to provide interesting views to the east.
Sharplin Falls carpark: It can be accessed from Sharplin Falls car park which is at the end of Flynns Road Staveley.
Woolshed Creek carpark: From Mount Somers township, follow Ashburton Gorge Road for approximately 10 km before turning right into Jig Road. Follow Jig Road to the end.
If you intend to walk only one way from Woolshed Creek car park and require vehicle transport, a local service is available - phone Marilyn Gray on +64 3 303 0809 before you start your trip.
Use NZTopo50 map sheets BX19 and BX20.
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.