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Xmas Trip Dec 2023 - Jan 2024 - Nelson Lakes National Park

  • 27 Dec 2023
  • 12:00 PM
  • 4 Jan 2024
  • 12:00 PM
  • Nelson Lakes National Park
  • 3


Registration is closed

Dates: 27 December 2023 – 4 January 2024

Area: Nelson Lakes National Park

General Outline

There will be three Out Parties of 6 to 8 members each and a Home Party of 11, to give a maximum of 30. Participants will assemble at Nelson Airport before noon; those travelling from Auckland have the choice of flights departing at: 6.40am, 8.40am and 10.35am. Two minibuses (12-seaters) and an airport shuttle are being hired to carry trampers to the beginning of their track or to St Arnaud Base Camp. All parties will return to St Arnaud’s Alpine Lodge by Day 8. We will have a farewell banquet at the Alpine Lodge.

Home Base/ Base Camp  

Base camp is Alpine Lodge, 75 Main Rd, St. Arnaud, 83 km from Nelson Airport. (The lodge has a variety of accommodation at different prices; of most interest to us are the Alpine Backpacker rooms). Guests have the use of a fully equipped self-catering kitchen and, of course, are welcome to patronize the bar and restaurant. There are also dining/drinking options in the area.

Out Party 1: FIT (F):   Leader- Garry Brooks

Cost: $420

Day 1 – 27th Dec Wed – Shuttle to Mt Robert Rd, St Arnaud and walk in to Bushline Hut and Camp* (2.5hrs)

Day 2 – 28th Dec Thurs – Across the scenic Robert Ridge to magnificent Lake Angelus then carry on and camp at Hinapouri Tarn (5.5hrs). Option to climb Mt Angelus Peak once the tents are set up (3hrs Return).

Day 3 – 29th Dec Fri - Navigate over Sunset Saddle and down to Hopeless Hut (5hrs). Depending on time either stop there or carry on down Hopeless Track and camp down by the river.

Day 4 – 30th Dec Sat – From Hopeless Creek Track follow Upper Travers Valley track and then to Cupola Track to picturesque Cupola Hut. (6.5 hrs)

Day 5 – 31st Dec Sun - Navigate over Gunsight Pass and drop down the Travers Saddle track and onto West Sabine Hut (8-9hrs)

Day 6 – 1st Jan Mon – From West Sabine Hut follow the very scenic Sabine River valley along the Sabine Track to D'Urville Hut on the edge of Lake Rotoroa (6hrs)

Day 7 – 2nd Jan Tues: Climb to up to the Tiraumea Saddle and on to Tiraumea Hut carrying on towards Mole Saddle and Mole Hut. (6-7hrs) Option to camp at the hut or stop before or after.

Day 8 – 3rd Jan Wed : Mole Track out to Mataki Lodge for pick up by the Home Party

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St Arnaud

Group Celebration Dinner

Day 9- 4th Jan Thurs- Depart Alpine Lodge by shuttle to Nelson Airport

Out Party 2: Medium(M):  Leader- Eric Skilling

Cost: $480 

Day 1 - 27th Dec Wed: Minivan to Roberts Rd Car Park, St Arnaud. Meander through beech forest and alongside the creek to the relatively new Speargrass Hut, nestled amongst the tussock in a steep river valley (3hrs).

Day 2 - 28th Dec Thurs: Eat well and then continue through the forest to D’Urville Hut on the Lake Rotoroa edge. Almost guaranteed to enjoy lunch in the company of local robins (8 hrs).

Day 3 - 29th Dec Fri: Leave packs at D’Urville Hut and climb about 1,000m to the summit of Mt Misery (1640m) for views into tomorrow (7 hrs).

Day 4 – 30th Dec Sat: Head along Tiraumea Track towards Mole Hut (4-bed), with a lunch stop at Tiraumea Hut for lunch before setting out on the final challenging leg to Mole Saddle (1340m) and Mole Hut (7hrs). Considering this a 4-bed hut, we may stop en-route if we can find an appropriate camping spot – and if weather allows.

Day 5 – 31st Dec Sun: Along the Jameson Ridge Track to Mataki Lodge for a pickup by the Home Party. Overnight Alpine Lodge (4hrs).

Day 6 – 1st Jan Mon R&R Alpine Lodge or join Home Party

Day 7 – 2nd Jan Tues: Roberts Rd End along Lakeside Track to Hopeless Creek Hut, maybe stopping at Coldwater Hut for lunch (6hrs).

Day 8 – 3rd Jan Wed : Return down Rotoiti Lakeside track to road-end, leaving plenty of time for a nap before the Group Celebration Dinner  (6hrs).

Day 9- 4th Jan Thurs - Depart by minivan for Nelson Airport

Out Party 3- Medium(M): Leader-Chris Bilham

Cost: $465

Day 1- 27th Dec Wed: Minivan from Nelson Airport to St Arnaud and walk up Lake Rotoiti (Lakehead track) and camp near Cascade track (3 hrs)

Day 2 - 28th Dec Thurs: Cascade Camp site to Upper Travers Hut(14): 6 hrs

Day 3 - 29th Dec Fri: Upper Travers Hut over Travers Saddle to Blue Lake Hut (16) with side trip to Lake Constance (7-8hrs)

Day 4- 30th Dec Sat: Blue Lake over Moss Pass to George Lyon Hut (16): 7 hrs

Day 5- 31st Dec Sun: George Lyon Hut down D’Urville Track to D’Urville Hut: 6 hrs

Day 6- 1st Jan Mon: D’Urville Hut to Mt Misery Hut (4): 5 hrs

Day 7 -- 2nd Jan Tues: Mt Misery back to D’Urville Hut (~4 hrs) and Lake Rotoroa Water taxi (1pm) to 55 Porika road, Rotoroa for pick up by the Home Party

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St Arnaud

Day 8 - 3rd Jan Wed- R & R with option to join Home Party for day trip

Group Celebration Dinner

Day 9 - 4th Jan Thurs- Depart by minivan for Nelson Airport

HOME PARTY- Easy (E): Leaders- Pete Wortman and Ralph Martin

Cost: $498

  • Includes 8 night's accommodation at St Arnaud’s Alpine Lodge

Trip Options (subject to review):

  1. Speargrass Hut Track (~6hrs):   Start at the carpark at the end of Mt Robert Road and walk to Speargrass Hut (11km return). Dependant on time we can then walk from the hut to part way along Speargrass Creek Route before retracing our walk back to the Mt Robert Road carpark.
  2. Red Hills Hut- Richmond Range: Maitland Track - Travel to Lowther Road along SH63. Take the Te Araroa trail and turn right at the second intersection with the Beebys Knob Route and on to the Redhills Hut and then back to Lowther Road – 15km
  3. Marlborough Vineyard day trip: Blenheim and Omaka Museum
  4. St Arnaud around Lake Rotoiti: Start from along Roberts Road and walk around Lake Rotoiti via Cold Water Hut, Lakeside Hut and back to accommodation in St Arnaud – 18km.
  5.  Beebys Knob: Travel to the start of the Beebys Knob Route on Korere Tophouse Road along SH63. Turn right at the junction where the track meets the Te Araroa trail and finish at Lowther Road – 8km. There is some climbing in this trail.
  6. Bull Paddock Creek track: Travel to Rainbow Road along SH63. The Bull Paddock Creek track is approximately 7-8 km along the road – 10km return.
  7. Roberts Road to Cold Water Hut along Lake Rotoiti: Start along Roberts Road and walk to Cold Water Hut and return – 14km.
  8. Lees Creek track: Travel to Rainbow Road along SH63. Travel down Rainbow Road which runs into Hydro Road. The Lees Creek track is approximately 20km from SH63. Walk to Lees Creek Hut and return – 17km.
  9. There are a number of short tracks close to the village of St Arnauds: Black Hill, Peninsula Nature Walk, Loop track, St Arnauds Range track to Parachute Rocks, Paddys track, Moraine walk and Anglers walk.         * Each evening there will be a meeting to discuss the preference for the following day bearing in mind the requirements to collect out-parties

Notes Applicable to All Groups

It goes without saying that all trips are subject to weather conditions. Trip leaders should have a plan B in case inclement weather makes the original plan impractical.

All members of the out parties should be equipped with tents.

For the minivans we have to provide our own drivers. An ordinary Class 1 driving license is sufficient, no need for passenger endorsement.

Please indicate to the Trip Organisers if you are willing to be a driver?

N.B: Before booking your air tickets please ensure your Registration has been approved by the Club’s Health & Safety Officer. You must arrive at Nelson Airport before noon on 27th December. With regard to the return flight, allow about two hours for the drive from St Arnaud Alpine Lodge to Nelson Airport – don’t book for an early flight.


Prices are as follows:

  • Home Party: $ 495: Limit 11
  • Out Party 1 (St Arnaud via Gunshot Pass to DÚrville): $420: Limit 6
  • Out Party 2 (Speargrass to D’Urville): $480 Limit 6 to 7
  • Out Party 3: (Travers Saddle to D’Urville): $465 Limit 6 to 7

N.B Prices are current but maybe subject to change depending on final trip and room allocations.

Final trip routes subject to change depending on weather, track conditions and logistics requirements.

Successful applicants will be required to pay a deposit of $100 on booking with the balance on or before 10 November  

Refunds for cancellations are subject to the usual Club rules.


 Only current members of the North Shore Tramping Club are eligible to take part. Trips must be booked through our website – not by email or texts.

Places on the trips will be allocated according to the order in which registrations are received, subject to approval from the Trip Organizers and the Club’s Health & Safety Officer that the person has a suitable standard of physical fitness and experience.

In the event of over-booking, unsuccessful applicants will be wait-listed and allocated to a trip if there are any cancellations.

Organisers:  Kevin Osten, ph 0274 577418

                          Chris Peard, ph 021 2770270


Out Party 1 (Fit) - Online/GPS/Printable

Out Party 2 (Medium) - Online/GPS/Printable

Out Party 3 (Medium) - Online/GPS/Printable

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