View from Dickie Spur Hut

Image: Rachel Zurer | Creative Commons

Introduction

The Dickie Ridge/Tuke River Route provides a link to challenging alpine tramping opportunities and gives access to the Waitaha and Whitcombe catchments.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

2-3 days Advanced: Tramping track
Expert: Route

Dog access

Dogs with a DOC permit only. Contact the relevant DOC office to obtain a permit.

About this track

Description

Times shown are a general guide only. 

Road End to Mikonui Flat Hut 

Time: 1 hr - 1 hr 30 min

From the car park at the road end stay on river right and travel upstream to the start of a well defined benched track. This track sidles around the edge of a terrace and then drops gently back onto the river flats. From these flats follow marker poles with orange triangles past the old homestead to the Mikonui River bed.

Upstream of the Mikonui/Tuke confluence cross the river to the flats on the true left bank and follow the poles and orange triangles to the hut. Above the confluence the river is often split into two or three channels and this is generally the best place to cross. Mikonui Flats Hut has 6 bunks and a wood stove. Near the hut the Tuke River has some excellent but cold swimming holes. 

Mikonui Flats to Dickie Spur Hut  

Time: 5 - 6 hr

From the hut door follow markers up the valley through the grassy flats and scattered scrub, skirt the bush edge for about 200 m before finding the start of the Dickie Ridge track which leads off to the right.

This track climbs onto a low terrace before climbing steadily up to a high point, to avoid a short gorge in the lower Tuke River. After the high point he track immediately descends steeply back down to the river to cross the swing bridge at the top end of the gorge. Just after crossing this swing bridge the track drops onto the riverbed.

Travel up the riverbed on the true left until you see a large orange triangle. This marks the beginning of a track which climbs steeply to a terrace before sidling around to Truran Pass.

At the Pass follow the orange markers up the spur which heads in a south east direction. Bypass the turn-off to Polluck Creek. The climbing becomes steady and steep and eventually the spur narrows into Dickie Ridge. At about 1,200 m a marker pole indicates the turn off to Dickie Spur Hut. In misty conditions the markers leading to the hut can be difficult to see. The hut has no heating. 

Dickie Spur Hut to Top Tuke Hut 

Time: 4 - 5 hr

From the hut follow the route back up to Dickie Ridge. Climb past spot height 1,326 m to spot height 1,296 m and from this point drop steeply into the Tuke River Valley via the small creek below. Be careful especially if the tussock is wet or if there is snow. Travel down the creek until you reach a large orange triangle. This marks the beginning of the track from the true right of the creek to the Tuke River. (If travelling up the creek to spot height 1,296 m from the Tuke River you will need to take care to follow the correct stream branch, generally taking the left branch each time – a number of small rock cairns show the way).  

The track sidles quickly around to drop into the Tuke River immediately above the upper Tuke Gorge. From here the route mostly follows the riverbed on the true left – negotiating very large boulders on the way. Orange markers presently lead you across the river to a section of track on the true right, it is not essential to cross and most people prefer to remain on the true left until closer to the hut. About 20 minutes below the Top Tuke Hut there is a short section of necessary track on the true left where it sidles around a short gorge.  

Keep an eye out for a large orange triangle which marks the start of track from the riverbed up to the hut. The track begins at the mouth of a small stream entering the Tuke River. Cross the Tuke River at the most suitable place to reach this track. A swing bridge shown on some older topomaps no longer exists. From here it is a short steep climb to the Top Tuke Hut. 

Upstream of Top Tuke Hut

From the Top Tuke Hut follow the track back down to the Tuke River. Travelling upstream from here; some orange markers, some open riverbed travel and short sections of track lead to a major spur giving access to Mt Beaumont and beyond. There are a few marker poles on this spur which are placed to help define the way down more than to mark a route up.  

From this point the route is unmarked. Mount Beaumont can be used as a launching point for access to the Whitcombe via Steadman Brow, to Healey Spur via Galena Ridge or to Ivory Lake and the Waitaha. 

Getting there

Access into the upper Mikonui Valley is via the Totara Valley Road. Turn east off SH6 into Totara Valley road just north of Ross. This road winds its way to and over the low Totara Saddle and ends at the Mikonui River flats. 

Some of the route passes through private property on the flats. Permission to cross this private property should be obtained from Dea Minehan +64 3 755 4090.

Know before you go

This route is suitable for fit, well equipped and experienced backcountry trampers only. The best seasons to go are summer and autumn due to snow/ice on alpine sections during winter.

Call at the DOCn office for the latest track conditions and to purchase your hut tickets prior to starting the trip.

This information is an indicator of conditions only. Storm damage to routes and regrowth of vegetation will slow progress and allowances must be made for possible delays through bad weather, or track damage. 

Note: True left and true right refer to the side of the valley or river when looking downstream.

Topomap: NZTopo50 - BV18 Kokatahi and BW18 Whitcombe Pass.

Hazards: Flooded rivers and side streams; ice and snow during winter. Winter travel beyond Dickie Spur Hut while best avoided, requires the use of ice axes and crampons.

Huts: Huts generally contain no cooking equipment trampers are advised to travel 'self contained'.  A tent or fly should also be carried.

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.

Contacts

Hokitika Office
Phone:   +64 3 756 9100
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   hokitika@doc.govt.nz
Address:   10 Sewell Street
Hokitika 7810
Postal Address:   Private Bag 701
Hokitika 7842
Back to top