Tarn near Fenella Hut

Image: Fay Zhong, Andrew Murdoch and Terry Chubb | ©


The Cobb valley provides options for day and overnight walks with a river and an historic hut to keep kids entertained.

Track overview


Walking and tramping

4 - 5 hr one way Advanced: Tramping track

Seasonal restrictions

4WD is recommended on the access road into the Cobb valley (Cobb Dam Road) in winter, due to ice and/or snow.

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


A well defined tramping track leads from the road end at Trilobite Hut up the valley, alongside the Cobb River. Walk as far as you like  – opportunities for picnicking, swimming and fishing abound.

Trilobite Hut to Fenella Hut

Time: 4 - 5 hr
Distance: 13 km

Follow the walking track from Trilobite Hut up the Cobb valley for 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the restored historic Chaffey Hut. This is a good option for kids. 

From there a tramping track continues up the valley floor, passing the restored Tent Camp. It takes about 2 hours 30 minutes to get to Cobb Hut where a 30-minute walk will take you to Lake Cobb, with Round Lake a further hour on.

Beyond Cobb Hut the track climbs for about 30 minutes to a series of glacier-worn rocky steps to Fenella Hut, Fenella Hut was built as a memorial to Fenella Druce who was killed in 1977 when the Three Johns Hut was blown over a bluff in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Beyond Fenella

Marked and unmarked routes branch off in all directions from here. To the north lies the Douglas Range and a day trip to Kakapo Peak (1783 m) or a 4-day journey to Boulder Lake; to the west is the Tasman Wilderness Area and eastward the Lockett Range, an adventurous return route to the Cobb Dam via Lake Sylvester.

Getting there

The track starts at the head of the Cobb Reservoir. Turn off SH 60 at Upper Takaka. Follow Cobb Valley Road, then Cobb Dam Road to the end (28 km).

The road is unsealed from the Cobb Power House - care is required and 4WD is recommended in winter due to ice and or snow.

On-demand transport services are available to or from the Cobb. Please contact the DOC office for details.

Know before you go

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.


Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
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