High Country Wilderness North 1
2018 Kaikoura-Marlborough Itinerary
For Bookings, or information: 021 924 427
– Meet at Kekerengu on the Kaikoura Coast, head down the Clarence River Valley to Muzzle Station in the Kaikoura Mountains, 5 – 6 hours including morning tea stops! Initially we will take the main road down the Kaikoura Coast, one of the most scenic in the South Island , Mountains immediately on your left and a rugged surf carved coastline on your right famous for it’s Seals and Whale watching . We turn off the main road well North of Kaikoura township at Kekerengu, and travel South along the Clarence Valley amongst the spectacular peaks of the Kaikoura Mountains and dominated by the mighty Tapuaenuku, Edmund Hilary’s first conquest.Brilliant views of the aquamarine blue waters of the snow fed Clarence River accompany as we make our way to Muzzle Station and our guests tonight, the Nimmo family who will regale us with lots of stories about this unique High Country Station. Accommodation this evening is in the original old “Cobb” homestead, all very rustic with a BBQ evening meal cooked as you’ve never seen before.
– Meet at Mt Lynton Station on the Mt Lyford Road south of Kaikoura and enter the Clarence Reserve Track which will take us to the Clarence River crossing and on to Muzzle Station. This is about a 5 – 6 hour run and is dependant on river level. If the river level is low and rain is forecast we will take Option 2 and exit 2 days later through Bluff Station which is not affected by river crossings.
– Today we explore Muzzle Station, which remains one of the most remote Station locations in the South Island nestled down the Clarence River Valley between the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain and the Kaikoura Inland Mountain Ranges. Our track today is accross the river with plenty of advice from your guide on river crossing techniques. We then sidle around the lower mountain slopes with great views of the Station Homestead before embarking on an impressive climb to 4500ft and views that go forever. We stay a second night in the old “Cobb” homestead, which is always good as it saves packing up that morning and evening meal is provided.
– Muzzle Station through to Bluff Station or the Clarence Reserve dependant on river levels, to stay in the pretty seaside village of Kaikoura. The Clarence Reserve is approx. 30,000 acres and is grazed by Muzzle as part of their Lease Tenure agreement. After crossing the Clarence the track follows the river valley into a steep sided rocky gorge where we stop for lunch in an idyllic setting around a historic back country hut. The climb out of the gorge again takes us very high with great views back down the gorge and out to the Pacific Ocean. Accommodation this evening is at the Alpine-Pacific Motel on Beach Road and dinner is at the Green Dolphin restaurant on Avoca Street. The specialties of the Green Dolphin are fresh fish caught that day and Muzzle Station Merino.
– Head South from Kaikoura to the very scenic Greta Valley where we will be hosted by two private Stations for the day. Morning tea on the deck of the Station Homestead provides a refreshing break after our journey from Kaikoura with a chance to hear a little of the local history from our hosts Bryce and Janet. These tracks are near the coast giving a very different perspective of South Island scenery and an opportunity to experience first hand the more fertile farming methods of the Canterbury Region. This night we will stay in Hanmer, famous for it’s mineral hot pools. Accommodation is at Forest Peak Motel , 4 Torquay Terrace, and Dinner is at the Monteiths Hanmer Hotel on the main road in to Hanmer where our host Alan McNabb ( “ Nabby” ) always produces a great menu.
– Head for the beautiful Lake Sumner, Hurunui region to spend the day trekking through a private station around Lakes Sumner and Taylor in the Hurunui. After a very scenic drive through the inland Kaikoura Road past the villages of Waiau and Rotherham the Hurunui Pub , oldest continuing licensed pub in New Zealand, we take the Lakes road into the heart of the Hurunui River Valley and the very picturesque Lakes Station. Our track initially takes us past Lake Sheppard before bearing West to follow the trout filled waters of the Hurunui River to the River’s outlet at Lake Sumner. From the outlet we retrace our steps until we reach a branch which takes us out onto a ridge with an impressive view over a near vertical drop directly above Lake Sheppard. This night we will stay in Hanmer, famous for it’s mineral hot pools. Accommodation is at Forest Peak Motel , 4 Torquay Terrace, and Dinner is at the Monteiths Hanmer Hotel on the main road in to Hanmer where our host Alan McNabb ( “ Nabby” ) always produces a great menu.
– A very special day awaits us as we travel West towards the Lewis Pass and a private High Country Station with a contrast of terrains that will both impress and delight you. The track winds it’s way up a steep sided river valley with continuous views of the headwaters of one of the South Islands most formidable rivers. Signs of wild game are everywhere in this area giving a real sense of the isolation and challenging way of life that the High Country Station owners face on a daily basis.At the head of the valley we get a chance to rest for lunch at a back country hut before moving down one of the most scenic river valleys in the South Island.
This evening we are lucky enough to have a second night in Hanmer Springs Village and a chance to sample another dish from Nabby’s great menu.
– Jack’s Pass takes us up out of Hanmer Springs to the famous Molesworth Station before heading North West to meet up with our old friend the Clarence River which we follow to it’s origin at the pretty mountain encircled Lake Tennyson for a great morning tea stop. The track then enters the Rainbow Station climbing over Island Saddle to the headwaters of the Wairau River famous for the numerous Marlborough vineyards that now reside in the Wairau River Valley. After a bit of fun walking the Wairau River swing bridge we arrive at our Accommodation for this evening is the Nelson Lakes Motels with their very nicely appointed Units constructed from logs. Our meal will be at the Alpine Lodge, another very nicely appointed venue in the heart of St Arnaud village
– The Howard Valley South of St Arnaud will be our entry to the iconic Beech Forests that make the West Coast and Buller Gorge Region so special. Our destination is the challenging Porika Track which starts high above Lake Rotoroa and switchbacks down to the shores of this lovely lake for a well earned morning tea break. We continue through delightful forest glades on the Braeburn Track after smoko to Longburn just North of the West Coast town of Murchison before heading up the Buller Gorge past St Arnaud to start the afternoon track. Beeby’s Knob is in direct contrast to our morning programme with wide sweeping views over neighbouring mountain ranges including those that we came through on the previous day reaching a breathtaking 5,000ft in altitude. It can be icy cold on this windswept plateau so back at the bottom a visit to the historic Tophouse Pub is a mandatory stop to be entertained by the owner with the Pub’s gruesome history and savour a drink poured by your own hand at the quaint little self serve bar.
– We head out to the Leatham Valley Track, heading South from the South bank of the Wairau River following first the Branch and then the Leatham Rivers. The going is easy as far as Leatham Station homestead, then slows with numerous river crossings.
The Branch River Track follows the same route as the Leatham initially then heads Southwest up the Spur Track to give great views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Both the Leatham and Branch River Tracks are particularly weather dependant.
Our accommodation and meal this evening will be at the same venues in St. Arnaud and the team will get together for a final meal and prizegiving to relax and relive highlights of a memorable trip with old friends.
Please note all tracks are weather dependant and NZ 4×4 Treks reserves the right to change the itinerary at any time to accommodate adverse conditions which could affect access and compromise Station Owners, safety of vehicles and safety of clients.
Toyota Prado diesel 4WD with lo-ratio or similar can be supplied for additional $165.00 per day including upgraded insurance package which significantly reduces your excess.
Vehicle Hire Rates
Toyota Land cruiser Prado full time 4WD with high and low ratio, 3.0 litre turbo charged intercooled diesel, long wheel base vehicles are available for hire should you not have your own vehicle.
5-10 days (3 day minimum hire)
11-20 days including basic recovery and fire prevention kits
NZ 4×4 Treks Ltd
Mobile: 021 924 427