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Xmas Trip Dec 2024 - Jan 2025 - Mt Aspiring National Park

  • 27 Dec 2024
  • 11:00 AM
  • 4 Jan 2025
  • 2:00 PM
  • Queenstown Airport
  • 0


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NSTC Christmas Tramp 2024

Mt Aspiring National Park


The Christmas tramp this year will follow the same format as previous years. The dates are 27 December 2024 to 4 January 2025, and we will assemble at or before 11 am on the 27th at Queenstown Airport.  

The general area for our tramping is the Mt Aspiring National Park in the area around Wanaka which has some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Our base camp is the Wonderland Makarora Lodge.  ( 

There is one Out Party of 8  completing the Gillespie Pass Track (also known as the Wilkin-Young track)and  a short tramp in the Matukituki Valley.

The Out Party will be walking for between five to nine hours each day in rugged country, some of it above the bushline. Members of this party should be physically fit and well-equipped. Heavy rain would make the rivers impassible and would definitely affect our plans, in this situation a degree of flexibility would be required.

This link provides helpful information for those considering Out Party registration. 

Gillespie Pass Circuit - Plan My Walk

The Home Party has a good choice of day walks ranging from Haast in the north to Wanaka and Lake Hawea in the south.

The Out Party 1 will conclude their tramp with a jet-boat ride along the Wilkin River from Keran Forks to Makarora. Although this adds substantially to the cost ($140) it saves several hours of mundane footslogging and is itself a thrilling experience. We will conclude with a feast at the Lake Hawea Hotel (own cost) and return to Queenstown Airport on the morning of 4 January.


Each person should make their own arrangements for travel between Auckland and Queenstown. Air New Zealand flights depart Auckland at 6 am, 6:45, 7:55 and 9:20 am; other flights that day will arrive too late. When booking return flights for 4 January, bear in mind that the drive from Makarora will take at least two and a half hours, flights departing before noon not recommended.

Detailed Itineraries

Whilst we will adhere to these itineraries as far as possible, they are all subject to change depending on weather, logistics and other circumstances.

OUT PARTY 1: Medium Fit (M/F)

Leader; Chris Bilham

27th.  This group will take one of the 12-seater minivans and drive via Wanaka to the Raspberry Creek carpark in the Matukituki Valley, a drive of about three hours. The group will then walk on a track across the river flats to the historic Aspiring Hut (about 2.5 hrs).

28th.  Walk to French Ridge Hut – this will begin with a walk through beech forest, crossing several bridges, then a steep climb up to the hut at 1480m, just below the snow line (about 4 - 5 hrs).

29th.  The group will walk back to the carpark (6 hrs), followed by a three-hours’ drive to Makarora. Spend the night in the lodge.

30th  From the lodge a short drive north, ford the Makarora River and walk along north bank of the Young River to the Young Hut (Green ticket, 6 – 7 hrs). This hut is “first come, first served”; if it is full, we cannot camp nearby, we shall have to walk on for another hour before finding a suitable camping site.

31st   From Young Hut cross Gillespie Pass (1600m), followed by a steep descent across snow-grass and through forest to Siberia Stream. We will camp at the junction of this stream and the Lake Crucible Track (6  hrs)

1st      Walk up to Lake Crucible – the first part of the walk is very steep but becomes less so as we gain altitude. From the lake we retrace our steps down to our camp-site, then continue for another hour to the Siberia Hut. We don’t stay in this hut but camp nearby and use facilities (Blue ticket, 6 – 8 hrs)

2nd      From Siberia Hut we walk to Kerin Forks Hut (2-3hrs), ford the Wilkin River and walk up the river to Jumboland Flat (3 hrs) and camp.

3rd    We retrace our steps back to Kerin Forks (2-3 hrs), arrive around 2 pm, then by jetboat along Wilkin River to Makarora (30 minutes). Dinner at Lake Hawea, sleep in the lodge.

HOME PARTY: Easy Medium (E/M)

Leaders: Peter Wortman and Roger Parsons

No detailed itinerary has been drawn up at this stage. With one van and two on most days, the group will be able to cross Haast Pass and travel to South Westland and Jacksons Bay to the north, or Wanaka and Lake Hawea in the south. There are several tracks along State Highway 6 suitable for a day-long tramp, e.g. Wills Valley, Mt Brewster, Makarora Valley, Cameron Valley, Blue Valley Tracks. See DOC pamphlets “Wanaka-Outdoor Pursuits” and “Tramping in the Makarora region” (available online).


The usual equipment as listed on the club website. Two of our members who tramped in the area recently warn us that the midges are particularly fierce and advise trampers to bring a face net, and don’t skimp on the insect repellent.

More Information

Maps: New Topo Wilkin Valley.

NZTopo 50-BZ12 Makarora (Gillespie Pass track)

NZTopo50-BZ13 Haast Pass (Home Party)

NZTopo50-CA11 Aspiring Flats (Matukituki Valley)

NZTopo50-CB11 Arrowtown, CB-12 Cardrona (Motatapu Track)

DOC brochures (available on line):

Gillespie Pass/Wilkin Valley,

Tramping in the Makarora Region,

The Motatapu Track,

Wanaka Outdoor Pursuits.


Out Party 1 $635

Home Party: $598

Included: hire of minivans and fuel, accommodation at Makarora Lodge, Aspiring Hut (OP 1), jet-boat (OP 1), gas canister for camping stove (OP 1).

Not included: air tickets, food, hut fees (apart from Aspiring Hut).

NB: For participants of OP 1:

  • Members are expected to have completed a River Crossing Course.
  • You will need to buy hut tickets in advance:

Blue ($10): standard – Rose Hut, Highland Creek

Green ($25): serviced huts – Young Hut

Siberia Hut: Blue ($10) to camp nearby and use facilities.

French Ridge Hut: $40

Aspiring Hut: included in price.

non-refundable deposit of $100 must be paid by 31 July and the balance by 31 October. For cancellations after 31 October, trip cost will be refunded only if a replacement takes up the place.


Booking will be available with effect from 9 am on Saturday 15 June – online only on our website, no texts or emails. Only paid-up members of the club are eligible to participate, and applications will be approved in order of receipt but only if the applicant is considered to have an appropriate level of physical fitness and experience. In the event of over-booking, unsuccessful applicants will be waitlisted and allocated to a trip if there are any cancellations.

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