The Pelorus Track offers a semi-remote forest experience, passing through bush, crossing saddles, and boasting interesting features like a waterfall and old chromite mine.
All three ends of the track are ideal for day walks and picnicking.
Roadend to Captains Creek Hut
Time: 4 hr
From the car park at the end of Mt Richmond Road, the track follows the Te Hoiere/Pelorus River for an hour to Emerald Pool, an ideal fishing, swimming and picnicking spot. Beyond the pool, the track leaves the river and climbs a ridge, before zigzagging back down to the the river and Captains Creek Hut.
Captains Creek Hut
Captains Creek Hut to Middy Hut
Time: 2 hr
This section of track climps up, sometimes steeply, and down from the Te Hoiere/Pelorus River and its tributary creeks, crossing Captain Creek first, then the Pelorus and Fishtail Stream via swingbridges. From Fishtail Stream the track cuts across a broad loop in the river on a wide terrace. It rejoins the river and follows it to Middy Creek Hut.
Middy Creek Hut
Middy Creek Hut to Roebuck Hut
Time: 4 hr
Just upstream of Middy Creek Hut a swingbridge crosses the Pelorus again. The track climbs steeply to the junction with Rocks Track. The Pelorus Track branches to the left. The next section is very demanding; the track is rough in places and crosses steep, densely-forested faces and several streams. Eventually the track crosses Roebuck Creek on a swingbridge.
Roebuck Hut is just across the Te Hoiere/Pelorus River. To reach it, ford the Pelorus on foot or cross it using a swingbridge 200 m upstream.
Roebuck Hut to Browning Hut
Time: 4 hr 30 min
The track leaves the Pelorus after Roebuck Hut., climbing steeply up a ridge between Roebuck and Mates creeks. The track runs high above Roebuck Creek, dropping slighly before Tōtara Saddle to negotiate two gullies before the final, short climb to the saddle. From Tōtara Saddle (690 m) descend steeply for 30 min to Browning Hut beside Browning Stream.
Note: Sections of the track between Roebuck Hut and Totara Saddle have been washed out. The ground is unstable and caution is required at all times. Do not attempt this section in or after periods of heavy rain.
Browning Hut to Hacket Picnic Area
Time: 2 hr
Just below Browning Hut cross Browning Stream and walk through a lovely section of forest. Cross the stream again just before the junction of Browning and Hacket Creeks. From here it is about an hour to the Hacket roadend and picnic area, through a mixture of plantation and native forests.
Towards the end of the track you’ll pass through part of the Nelson mineral belt. Look out for the tell-tale red-brown rocks and shrubby vegetation dominated by manuka. Side tracks here lead to two interesting features:
- the delicate Whispering Falls (30 min) – note the bridge over Hacket Stream has been destroyed due to flooding and caution is required when crossing
- an old chromite mine and the bullock track (30 min)
Just downstream of this area a suspension bridge crosses the Hacket River from where it's a short walk to the car park.
Note: Multiple sections of the Hacket Track below the Whispering Falls junction have been washed out. The ground is unstable and caution is required at all times.
Exit to Nelson City
An alternative exit is to walk over the Bryant Range from Middy Creek Hut to Nelson City.
Middy Creek Hut to Rocks Hut
Time: 3 hr
From Middy Creek Hut cross a swingbridge and then climb for 20 min to a junction where the Pelorus Track branches left. The Rocks Track climbs steadily from the junction for about 600 m up a ridge. Passing through an area with many hummocks and rock outcrops, the track turns northwards and meets the Bryant Range near Rocks Hut.
Rocks Hut to The Brook
Time: 5 hr 30 min
The route leads from Rocks Hut to a junction at Dun Saddle. The main track branches left, joining the Dun Mountain Trail at Coppermine Saddle. The Coppermine Saddle descends gently on the line of the old Dun Mountain Railway, which served the chromite and copper mines nearby until 1866.
From Coppermine Saddle the track rounds Windy Point just before the mineral belt ends and native forest takes over. The track continues to Third House Shelter. The forest ends suddenly where the track meets a fire break and the Dun Mountain Trail. To the left the track leads steeply down to Brook Street in Nelson City. The Dun Mountain Trail continues straight ahead along the old railway line ending up further along Brook Street, close to Nelson City.
Rocks Hut to Tōtara Saddle
Time: 4 hr
From Rocks Hut, this track wanders through a landscape of rock outcrops and hillocks. It then climbs over several high points before beginning its descent towards Tōtara Saddle. It emerges on to an open patch of tussock land associated with the mineral belt, which it crosses for 15 min before re-entering the forest and descending, steeply in places, to the saddle.
Time: 4 hr
This track, actually a 4WD pylon maintenance road, climbs over Maungatapu Saddle between the Pelorus and Maitai Valleys. The track is also a popular mountain bike ride. The track is closed to 4WD access on the Nelson side of the Maungatapu Saddle, so a through trip is not possible. For more information on this track, contact Nelson City Council on +64 3 546 0200.
From the Nelson-Blenheim Road (SH6), turn onto Maungatapu Road at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve and drive 13 km to the road end (the road becomes Mt Richmond Road).
For the Hacket car park end, head for Aniseed Valley, 29 km south of Nelson via Richmond and Hope.
From Nelson, access the track via the Dun Mountain Walkway, a Waimea Basin walking track. This begins in Brook Valley, 4 km from the city centre.
There is no scheduled public transport to either end of this track but a shuttle bus can be arranged.
Mt Richmond Forest Park access
- Undertake the Pelorus Track only if you are an experienced tramper and carry warm, waterproof clothing and extra food.
- Rivers can rise quickly; do not cross when they are swollen.
- Boil, filter, or treat water for drinking. In dry conditions, carry water on the ridges.
- Always leave your intentions with someone responsible and fill in the hut books.
Stay safe when crossing rivers
If you plan to cross unbridged rivers, know how to cross safely and be prepared for if you cannot cross.
Do not cross if the river is flooded, you cannot find safe entry and exit points or are unsure it’s safe. Turn back or wait for the river to drop. If in doubt, stay out.
Expect multiple slips and riverbank erosion on the Hacket Track network
Multiple slips have occurred along the Hacket Track network and there is potential for further rockfall and riverbank erosion.
The tracks are open and slip sections are marked with danger signs. Extreme caution is required when traversing these hazardous locations. Move quickly and do not stop.
If heavy rain is forescast, avoid the area entirely.