Muzzle Station – West Coast Itinerary
23rd – 30th Jan 2023
Day 1 Kekerengu Coastal Lodge
Meet at Kekerengu on the Kaikoura Coast approx. 45 minutes South of Blenheim where we stay at “The Coastal Lodge” with hosts Ian and Lyn. Our dinner this evening is at “ The Lodge” with our hosts Ian and Lynne and promises to be a fun start to the trip.
This evening’s dinner and a great continental breakfast the following morning are included in your trip fee. Before dinner there will be an hour’s briefing on the itinerary, convoy procedures, use of handheld radios and safety guidelines.
Day 2 Kekerengu – Bluff Station – Muzzle Station
Assemble outside on the grass verge for the day’s track briefing. Head down the Clarence River Valley through Bluff and Remuera Stations to Muzzle Station in the Kaikoura Mountains. We travel South along the Clarence Valley amongst the spectacular peaks of the Kaikoura Mountains, dominated by the mighty Mt Tapuaenuku, Edmund Hilary’s first conquest. Brilliant views of the aquamarine waters of the snow fed Clarence River accompany us as we make our way to Muzzle Station. Here we meet our hosts, Guy and Fiona Redfern, who will regale us with lots of stories about this unique High Country Station.
Accommodation this evening is in the original old “Cobb” homestead and the newly constructed shearer’s quarters, all very rustic with a BBQ evening meal cooked as you’ve never seen before.
Day 3 Muzzle Station Exploration
Today we explore Muzzle Station, which remains one of the most remote Station locations in the South Island. Nestled in the Clarence River Valley between the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Ranges. Our track today is across 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 and shearer’s quarters, which is always good as it saves packing up that morning and evening meal is provided.
Day 4 Muzzle Station – Clarence Reserve – Kaikoura
Depending on the level of the river, we take either the Clarence Reserve Track or Bluff Station Track, 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 Rd heading North out of Kaikoura. Dinner is at the Pier Hotel right out on the point looking back North towards Kaikoura township. This is a great location overlooking the coastline and a great chance to relax and enjoy South Island hospitality. The New World supermarket is also on Beach Road just North of the Motel near the Motel so don’t forget to restock for breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
Day 5 Kaikoura – Lake Taylor Station – Culverden
Head for the beautiful Lake Sumner in the Hurunui region to spend the day trekking through a private station around Lakes Sumner and Taylor.
After a very scenic drive through the Inland Kaikoura Road past the villages of Waiau and Rotherham and 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 Lake Taylor Station. Our track initially takes us through the valley before bearing East to head up onto the Oronoko Range with magic views of Lake Taylor, Lake Sheppard and Lake Sumner.
Tonight we will stay at Culverden Motels with really friendly hosts Peter and Sue Jones. This is a great spot to stay, well presented rooms and immaculate grounds with a hearty meal of classic country fare at the local pub .
Day 6 Culverden – Glenhope Station – Reefton
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 head to the West Coast town of Reefton, known as “the town of lights” with discovery of very rich gold bearing quartz reefs in the 1860’s the town itself became established about 1870 and immediately became an entrepreneurial and prosperous place.
With mining came technology and innovation and in August 1888 Reefton became the first place in the Southern Hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity, even before the fashionable suburbs of London and New York. Our stay this evening is at the Reefton Auto Lodge where we will also have our evening meal.
Day 7 Reefton – Napoleon’s Hill – St Arnaud
A chance to explore the wild West Coast. Napoleon’s Hill is considered one of New Zealand’s iconic 4WD tracks, winding through pristine beech forest down into Nobles Creek with 50 ft cliffs either side where we actually drive through two caves before exiting to the Waipuna River. In the afternoon we make our way to the Alpine Village of St Arnaud which nestles beside the beautiful Lake Rotoiti where a swim off the jetty is a great way to clean out the dust from the days trekking.
Accommodation for this evening is the Nelson Lakes Motels at the Northern end of St Arnaud 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.
Day 8 St Arnaud – Porika Track – Beeby’s Knob – St Arnaud
We retrace our steps from yesterday travelling down the Main road following the mighty Buller River to Longburn, just North of Murchison, to explore the delightful forest glades on the Braeburn .
The Howard Valley South of St Arnaud will be our entry to more iconic beech forests that make the West Coast and Buller Gorge Region so special. Our destination is the challenging Porika Track which starts at Lake Rotoroa and switchbacks up to some magnificent views of this lovely lake for a well earned morning tea break. We continue through beech forest glades on the Porika Track to the Howard Valley 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.
Accommodation this evening is back at Nelson Lakes Motels and dinner is at the Alpine Lodge with Hosts Leighton and Alexandra 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.