Looking up the Henry River by Anne Hut
Located in the Canterbury region
The government purchased St James Station as public conservation land in 2008, funded by the Nature Heritage Fund.
It was purchased to protect its natural, physical and cultural values and to open it up to outdoor recreation and tourism.
Vegetation within the area includes red, mountain and silver beech/tawhairauriki/ tawhairaunui forests, mānuka/kānuka and matagouri scrublands, numerous alpine species, at least five species of tussock, and a vast expanse of valley-floor native grasslands. Some 430 indigenous species of flora and 30 native bird species have been identified.
You can access the St James Conservation Area either from the west side on SH 7 or on the eastern boundary along Tophouse Road.
The western side provides access to the St James Walkway which starts and finishes on SH 7. Entry points are either at the top of the Lewis Pass just off the car park and picnic area, or at the Boyle Village from SH 7, Lewis Pass Road. There is no further vehicle access from SH 7, and please note that mountain bikes and horses are not permitted on the St James Walkway.
Do not trespass onto Glenhope Station.
Glenhope Station’s boundary surrounds Boyle River on the section of St James Walkway from Boyle Village to Magdalen Hut. Stay on the track and note that hunting is not permitted on Glenhope Station – offenders can be prosecuted for trespassing and poaching.
The east side of the St James Conservation Area can be reached via Hanmer Springs.
From Hanmer Springs township, take Clarence Valley Road over Jacks Pass to connect with Tophouse Road (approximately 13 km from Hanmer Springs). This road follows the eastern boundary of the conservation area as far as Lake Tennyson. This road follows the eastern boundary of St James Conservation Area to Lake Tennyson. All tracks along this road are open to cyclists, horse riders and walkers.
Off-road parking is available at St James Homestead and at the entrances to Maling Pass and Fowlers Pass tracks. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
There is no regular public transport along this route although there are numerous options for chartering transport from Hanmer. The latest information is available at the Hanmer Springs i-SITE (+64 3 3150020), 10 am - 5 pm, 7 days a week, except for Christmas Day.
St James is an alpine environment, subject to weather extremes, flooded rivers and avalanches. Visitors must be prepared for the worst at all times:
The St James Conservation Area has a large amount of avalanche terrain in it. Read more about the avalanche season.
You can take dogs onto St James east of the Waiau River (ie: access from Tophouse Road).
To protect its high conservation values and vulnerable native birds, particularly kiwi, dogs are not permitted west of the Waiau River.
Dogs must be kept under control at all times. Clean up after your dog and remove any faeces. Dogs are not permitted in any of the huts.
Fire is always a conservation concern in the high country. There will be no open fires in the St James Conservation Area.