This is a challenging but rewarding tramping route that links stunning Lake Hankinson, Lake Thomson and Lake Katherine with Lake Te Anau on the inland side, and George Sound on the coast.
The route traverses two major valley systems and crosses one mountain range (rising up to 900 metres). The area is rich in history and offers great kayaking and fishing opportunities.
The George Sound Route requires transport across Lake Te Anau and is only recommended for experienced, well equipped groups (see 'Know before you go' below).
Route times are given as a guide only and may vary depending on fitness and weather conditions.
The track from the Middle Fiord of Lake Te Anau to Lake Hankinson is signposted from the beach and takes 15 minutes.
It is not possible to walk around Lake Hankinson so boat travel (20 minutes) across the lake is required. Kayaks can be carried along the track to the lake or boat transport may be arranged with a local operator.
The lake is 4.5 km long and can be affected by strong winds. Take care as there are few beaches on which to land. Hankinson Hut (11 bunks) is a five minute walk from the head of the lake.
It is five minutes from the hut to the first three-wire crossing; then one hour to the second three-wire crossing. Watch for the sign pointing to the crossing.
From the second crossing the route follows around the north side of Lake Thomson to its head, taking about one hour. Tramping from the head of the lake to the
Wapiti River flats and to the Thomson Hut (8 bunks) takes half an hour.
Lake Hankinson and the Wapiti River provide opportunities for trout fishing.
Times will vary on this section of the route depending on fitness, weather conditions and route-finding abilities. We recommend you carry a tent – there are suitable tent sites on the east side of Henry Pass.
From Thomson Hut the route continues up the valley, past the markers showing the route to the mica mine, to Henry Pass (830 m), taking around 4 and a half hours.
The route around Deadwood Lagoon is very boggy and can be flooded after heavy rain. From Henry Pass the route drops steeply to the valley floor, then follows Katherine Creek to Lake Katherine, taking around four hours. Katherine Creek is un-bridged and can be impassable after rain.
It is necessary to wade into the lake in one place. Safety chains are provided in some areas around Lake Katherine.
The route from Lake Katherine to George Sound Hut (6 bunks) takes between 1 and 2 hours. There are a lot of creek crossings. George Sound offers good fishing from the rocks at various places. Mussels can be also gathered at low tide.
A boat operator takes groups to or from the track end on the Middle Fiord of Lake Te Anau and also provide boat transport on Lake Hankinson. George Sound is accessible by boat, float plane and helicopter.
Topo50 CC 07 Northwest Arm covers this area and is available for purchase from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre.
This track is certainly an adventure - note the following in your trip planning:
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.
|Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 3 249 7924|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
Fiordland National Park
Te Anau 9600
PO Box 29
Te Anau 9640
|Full office details|