A steep overnight tramp with magnificent views through open tussock land.

Track overview

18 km loop

Walking and tramping

8-10 hr return Advanced: Tramping track

Mountain biking

Expert: Grade 5

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Warning: River crossing experience is essential.

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 - 4 hr

Walk up the well formed Mt Judah Track to the junction turnoff (1 hour 30 minutes). Follow the marked track steeply down to the Buckler Burn, which is then crossed. 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 where it is about another 30 minutes to McIntosh Hut at 1464m elevation.

McIntosh Hut to Glenorchy Road

Time: 3 - 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, before dropping down a very steep unformed track along a fence line to a water race above the Buckler Burn. The race is followed before dropping back to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, five minutes north of the carpark.

Getting there

Turn to the right off the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, 2 km before Glenorchy, to reach the Whakaari Conservation Area car park.

Know before you go

  • 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.

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.


Whakatipu-wai-Māori / Queenstown Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 442 7935
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   50 Stanley Street
Postal Address:   PO Box 811
Queenstown 9348
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