View from Mount Royal
9.5 km return
Forestry operations in the area can close roads into Mount Richmond Forest Park. Check the status of roads into Mount Richmond Forest Park.
The route follows Quartz Creek and passes the Sutherland Mine battery site. It follows a 4WD track to the forest where it begins climbing, steeply in places, to the bushline just below Mount Royal summit (1366 m).
There are no markers above the bushline. From the bushline on the northern side another marked route descends to Devils Creek Hut (4.6 km).
Note: there is no water on the way up to Mt Royal.
5 km north of Renwick, just over the Wairau River bridge, turn off SH6 onto North Bank Road. Follow this for 20km then turn into Fabians Valley Road, then into Bartletts Road. Follow Barletts Road for 5 km to Quartz Creek Flat where the track starts.
Extensive damage from flooding in 2009 means the first 3.7km of the route is a mixture of old 4WD road or in the creek bed. Orange markers mark the crossing points. You will get your feet wet in this section and may want to use sneakers until you reach the "Mt Royal Summit-3 hrs" sign. Here is a good point to put on dry socks and boots.
From this point the track climbs steeply through beech forest to about 1100m. The track then turns towards Mt Royal and continues along the saddle through mature beech. As you near the bushline at about 1260m there is a clearing suitable for camping.
From this point on, it is a final short scramble up through alpine scree and onto the top.
Turn back the way you came, or continue on to the Wakamarina Road end.
Safety: Bad weather can occur at any time, so be prepared with warm and waterproof clothing and extra food. Snow, wind and fog are hazards of the open tops. Make sure you have enough experience for your trip. Always fill in hut books and ensure someone knows your intentions.
Flooding: In normal flows unbridged streams and rivers can be crossed, however in flood they can become impassable and you will need to be prepared to wait until flood waters recede.
Wasps are a known hazard and are particularly common from December until April. Carry antihistamine if you are allergic to their stings.
Drinking water: Water should be carried in dry conditions – there is a river/creek at the bottom but this water becomes scarce further up, especially in summer. The purity of drinking water in Mount Richmond Forest Park can't be guaranteed – if you doubt the quality of any water source you should boil, filter or chemically treat it.