Warning: This track involves multiple river crossings. Rivers here may flood at any time of year due to rain or snowmelt and should not be crossed in flood. How to cross a river safely.
This track starts at the Whakaari Conservation Area carpark and finishes on the Queenstown/Glenorchy Road beside the Buckler Burn.
Car park to McIntyre Hut
Time: 3 to 4 hr
Walk up the well formed Mt Judah Track to the junction turnoff, this takes around 1 hour 30 minutes. Follow the marked track steeply down to the Buckler Burn.
High water levels at Buckler Burn: If high water levels at Buckler Burn make it impassable, you should turn back and return the way you have come.
After Buckler Burn you go up a steep zig-zag up an old mining road leads to McIntyre Hut.
McIntyre Hut to McIntosh Hut
Time: 2 hr
Follow the marked track traversing above Long Gully Stream to the Long Gully Saddle. From here it’s about another 30 minutes to McIntosh Hut at 1464 m elevation.
McIntosh Hut to Glenorchy Road
Time: 3 to 4 hr
To continue on the loop track, return back to the saddle and climb another old mining track to the ridge. Follow this ridge for another hour, with superb views of Lake Wakatipu, Mt Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi, and the Dart Valley. You then drop down a very steep unformed track along a fence line to a water race above the Buckler Burn.
High water levels at Buckler Burn: If high water levels at Buckler Burn make it impassable, you should turn back and return the way you have come – be prepared for a long walk back if you have come down the true right of the McIntosh Loop.
The race is followed before dropping back to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, five minutes north of the carpark.
Turn to the right off the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, 2 km before Glenorchy, to reach the Whakaari Conservation Area car park.
- The Whakaari tracks are alpine and exposed: changeable weather, extreme temperatures, strong winds, snow and ice are possible at any time of year. Not recommended during winter months or unfavourable conditions.
- River crossing experience is essential. Streams may flood at any time of year due to rain or snow melt and should not be crossed in flood.
- If high water levels at the Buckler Burn make it impassable, trampers may have to turn back and return the way they have come - be prepared for a long walk back if you have come down the true right of the McIntosh Loop.
- Dangerous mine tunnels are present and may be hidden by vegetation. Do not enter tunnels.
Use NZTopo50 map sheet CB10.