Otago

Otago

Motatapu Alpine Track - OPEN

Northern Start
Junction of Wanaka-Mount Aspiring and Motatapu Rds, Glendhu Bay
Southern End
Junction of Villiers St and Buckingham St, Arrowtown
Distance
48km
Time
3-4 days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Potential Hazards
  • Vehicles on road or track take care on Motatapu Rd and look out for 4WD adjacent to Arrow River
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers You will have to cross the Arrow River at the south end
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources
Description
(North to South)

Walk 2.5km up Motatapu Rd from the Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road junction to the Fern Burn Carpark. There is a toilet here, at the start of  Motatapu Alpine Track.

Foreign owners paid for the construction of this track and the huts en route in accordance with Overseas Investment Office conditions of approval of the sale of the Motatapu and Mt Soho Station pastoral leases. The track was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark in 2008.

The track is well marked but exposed and follows a demanding line. DOC’s published information on the track warns:
  • Due to the exposed nature of the Motatapu Alpine Track and its physically challenging terrain, it is only suitable for experienced trampers.
  • Several steep sidles require care, and tramping times should be adjusted for those not confident in this type of country.
  • The climate is typically Central Otago. Very hot, dry conditions are common in summer.
  • Carry plenty of water, as water sources are limited, and ensure adequate protection against the sun.
  • Wintry conditions can occur at any time of the year, with the higher country subject to snow, especially during winter.
  • Be prepared by having warm, windproof clothing and appropriate footwear.

Fern Burn carpark to Fern Burn Hut - 6.5km / 3hr 

The first section, on formed track and through to the Fern Burn Hut, is the easiest part of the Motatapu Alpine Track.  
From the carpark the track begins through deer paddocks on the Fern Burn’s true right and enters remnant beech forest at the Stack Conservation Area boundary. The track then traverses the length of the burn-side beech forest strip.
When the track breaks out of the forest section it enters tussock country. The gradient steepens but the track remains benched through to the Fern Burn Hut (12 bunks).
 

Fern Burn Hut to Highland Creek Hut - 6km / 4hr

From the hut the track follows marker poles further up the Fern Burn and on to Jack Halls Saddle (1275m). On clear days there are return views to Lake Wanaka.
Beyond the saddle the track descends a ridge  to a creek crossing. The remainder of the section involves sidles and ridge  walking towards the Highland Creek catchment and Highland Creek Hut, located within an impressive high country basin.
 
 
Highland Creek Hut to Roses Hut - 10km / 5-6hr

This is the most demanding section of the track. It involves 2 major climbs and descents. The first involves a memorable climb up a steep spur then sidles to vantage points that provide good views of the Motatapu Valley. A long descent takes trampers down to a creek within a strip of remnant beech forest. A long climb immediately follows up towards a major ridge off Knuckle Peak. From here travel is down the ridgeline to the Motatapu River. Ford the river then cross valley floor to Roses Hut (12 bunks).
 

Roses Hut to Macetown  - 10km / 4-5hr

The track from the hut continues to follow marker poles. It crosses a small creek and climbs 470m up the ridge to a point at 1270m, above and east of Roses Saddle. From this high point the track descends to the Arrow River.
If the Arrow River is at normal to low flows then travel is quicker within the river bed all the way down to Macetown. An alternatively route to Macetown follows the directional sign and markers on a high water track, which sidles above the river’s true left bank. Note: trampers on the high water track still need to ford the Arrow River to reach Macetown so come prepared to wait out a flooded river as need be.
 
Macetown has a population of zero. This historic gold mining town is now a small collection of buildings and ruins. There are toilets here and camping is permitted. Vehicle access to Macetown is by a 15km 4WD track, which fords the river upwards of 20 times on its way to Arrowtown. 

 
Big Hill Track - 13km / 4-5hr

The Big Hill Track is an historic route that was once the main road from Arrowtown to Macetown.

From Macetown follow the 4WD Arrow Gorge Rd downstream to the Eight Mile/Coronet Creek confluence. Head up this creek for about 500m then follow polesand a light ground trail leading off on the true right up to Big Hill Saddle (1060m). The formed track down from the saddle affords good views across to Lake Hayes and the Wakatipu Basin. It passes through open tussock country and beech forest to the Sawpit Gully Trail junction. Continue down on the right hand track and exit to Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown on the Bush Creek Trail.

Alternative route: In poor weather trampers can continue down the Arrow Gorge Road to Arrowtown, river levels permitting.
Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info

Accommodation en route
Fern Burn Hut - 12 bunks 
Highland Creek Hut - 12 bunks 
Roses Hut - 12 bunks 

Transport to trailhead
Alpine ConneXions - 460 Aubrey Rd, Wanaka - P: 03 443 9120 - E: info@alpineconnexions.co.nz - Daily trampers' shuttle service from Wanaka to Glendhu Bay and to the northern start of the Motatapu Alpine Track - P: 03 443 7966 
 

Arrowtown 

Background information
Arrowtown is a one of New Zealand's most famous gold mining towns. A town rich in history and spectacular holiday destination.

General information

For information on Arrowtown log onto - Arrowtown Visitor Information 
Arrowtown Museum and Information Centre - 49 Buckingham St, Arrowtown - PH: 03 442 1824 - E: info@museumqueenstown.com

Getting there/away
Transport to/from Frankton/Queenstown
Connectabus - departs regularly from Ramshaw Lane - P: 03 441 4471 
Accommodtion
Arrowtown Holiday Park - 12 Centennial Ave, Arrowtown - P: 03 442 1876 - E: info@arrowtownholidaypark.co.nz - units, lodge and camping
There is also many other options for accommodation in Arrowtown
 
Resupply
Arrowtown Night n Day Food Store - 39 Buckingham St, Arrowtown - P: 03 442 1886 -  - Basic resupply 
Arrowtown Bakery & Café - 1 Buckingham St - P: 03 442 1587 - E: info@museumqueenstown.com
Requirements
  • Keep to the track
  • Respect private land
  • No litter
  • No dogs
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Use toilets provided at huts
  • Bury toilet waste well away from water
Amenities
(Start)
  • Roadside parking only
  • Car park at Fern Burn carpark up Motatapu Rd
  • Toilets in Glendhu Bay Camp Ground (open seasonally)
  • Shop in Glendhu Bay Camp Ground (open seasonally)
  • Accommodation in Glendhu Bay Camp Ground (open seasonally)
Amenities
(On Route)
  • No amenities
  • Accommodation huts
Amenities
(End)
  • Full range of amenities in Arrowtown
  • Carpark
  • Picnic area
  • Toilets
  • Shop
  • Accommodation
Closest Town(s)
Wanaka
Managed by
DOC, Wanaka Area Office
Thanks to
Eileen and Robert Lange
Northern Start
Junction of Wanaka-Mount Aspiring and Motatapu Rds, Glendhu Bay
Southern End
Junction of Villiers St and Buckingham St, Arrowtown
Distance
48km
Time
3-4 days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Description
(North to South)

Walk 2.5km up Motatapu Rd from the Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road junction to the Fern Burn Carpark. There is a toilet here, at the start of  Motatapu Alpine Track.

Foreign owners paid for the construction of this track and the huts en route in accordance with Overseas Investment Office conditions of approval of the sale of the Motatapu and Mt Soho Station pastoral leases. The track was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark in 2008.

The track is well marked but exposed and follows a demanding line. DOC’s published information on the track warns:
  • Due to the exposed nature of the Motatapu Alpine Track and its physically challenging terrain, it is only suitable for experienced trampers.
  • Several steep sidles require care, and tramping times should be adjusted for those not confident in this type of country.
  • The climate is typically Central Otago. Very hot, dry conditions are common in summer.
  • Carry plenty of water, as water sources are limited, and ensure adequate protection against the sun.
  • Wintry conditions can occur at any time of the year, with the higher country subject to snow, especially during winter.
  • Be prepared by having warm, windproof clothing and appropriate footwear.

Fern Burn carpark to Fern Burn Hut - 6.5km / 3hr 

The first section, on formed track and through to the Fern Burn Hut, is the easiest part of the Motatapu Alpine Track.  
From the carpark the track begins through deer paddocks on the Fern Burn’s true right and enters remnant beech forest at the Stack Conservation Area boundary. The track then traverses the length of the burn-side beech forest strip.
When the track breaks out of the forest section it enters tussock country. The gradient steepens but the track remains benched through to the Fern Burn Hut (12 bunks).
 

Fern Burn Hut to Highland Creek Hut - 6km / 4hr

From the hut the track follows marker poles further up the Fern Burn and on to Jack Halls Saddle (1275m). On clear days there are return views to Lake Wanaka.
Beyond the saddle the track descends a ridge  to a creek crossing. The remainder of the section involves sidles and ridge  walking towards the Highland Creek catchment and Highland Creek Hut, located within an impressive high country basin.
 
 
Highland Creek Hut to Roses Hut - 10km / 5-6hr

This is the most demanding section of the track. It involves 2 major climbs and descents. The first involves a memorable climb up a steep spur then sidles to vantage points that provide good views of the Motatapu Valley. A long descent takes trampers down to a creek within a strip of remnant beech forest. A long climb immediately follows up towards a major ridge off Knuckle Peak. From here travel is down the ridgeline to the Motatapu River. Ford the river then cross valley floor to Roses Hut (12 bunks).
 

Roses Hut to Macetown  - 10km / 4-5hr

The track from the hut continues to follow marker poles. It crosses a small creek and climbs 470m up the ridge to a point at 1270m, above and east of Roses Saddle. From this high point the track descends to the Arrow River.
If the Arrow River is at normal to low flows then travel is quicker within the river bed all the way down to Macetown. An alternatively route to Macetown follows the directional sign and markers on a high water track, which sidles above the river’s true left bank. Note: trampers on the high water track still need to ford the Arrow River to reach Macetown so come prepared to wait out a flooded river as need be.
 
Macetown has a population of zero. This historic gold mining town is now a small collection of buildings and ruins. There are toilets here and camping is permitted. Vehicle access to Macetown is by a 15km 4WD track, which fords the river upwards of 20 times on its way to Arrowtown. 

 
Big Hill Track - 13km / 4-5hr

The Big Hill Track is an historic route that was once the main road from Arrowtown to Macetown.

From Macetown follow the 4WD Arrow Gorge Rd downstream to the Eight Mile/Coronet Creek confluence. Head up this creek for about 500m then follow polesand a light ground trail leading off on the true right up to Big Hill Saddle (1060m). The formed track down from the saddle affords good views across to Lake Hayes and the Wakatipu Basin. It passes through open tussock country and beech forest to the Sawpit Gully Trail junction. Continue down on the right hand track and exit to Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown on the Bush Creek Trail.

Alternative route: In poor weather trampers can continue down the Arrow Gorge Road to Arrowtown, river levels permitting.
Potential Hazards
  • Vehicles on road or track take care on Motatapu Rd and look out for 4WD adjacent to Arrow River
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers You will have to cross the Arrow River at the south end
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources
Description
(North to South)

Walk 2.5km up Motatapu Rd from the Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road junction to the Fern Burn Carpark. There is a toilet here, at the start of  Motatapu Alpine Track.

Foreign owners paid for the construction of this track and the huts en route in accordance with Overseas Investment Office conditions of approval of the sale of the Motatapu and Mt Soho Station pastoral leases. The track was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark in 2008.

The track is well marked but exposed and follows a demanding line. DOC’s published information on the track warns:
  • Due to the exposed nature of the Motatapu Alpine Track and its physically challenging terrain, it is only suitable for experienced trampers.
  • Several steep sidles require care, and tramping times should be adjusted for those not confident in this type of country.
  • The climate is typically Central Otago. Very hot, dry conditions are common in summer.
  • Carry plenty of water, as water sources are limited, and ensure adequate protection against the sun.
  • Wintry conditions can occur at any time of the year, with the higher country subject to snow, especially during winter.
  • Be prepared by having warm, windproof clothing and appropriate footwear.

Fern Burn carpark to Fern Burn Hut - 6.5km / 3hr 

The first section, on formed track and through to the Fern Burn Hut, is the easiest part of the Motatapu Alpine Track.  
From the carpark the track begins through deer paddocks on the Fern Burn’s true right and enters remnant beech forest at the Stack Conservation Area boundary. The track then traverses the length of the burn-side beech forest strip.
When the track breaks out of the forest section it enters tussock country. The gradient steepens but the track remains benched through to the Fern Burn Hut (12 bunks).
 

Fern Burn Hut to Highland Creek Hut - 6km / 4hr

From the hut the track follows marker poles further up the Fern Burn and on to Jack Halls Saddle (1275m). On clear days there are return views to Lake Wanaka.
Beyond the saddle the track descends a ridge  to a creek crossing. The remainder of the section involves sidles and ridge  walking towards the Highland Creek catchment and Highland Creek Hut, located within an impressive high country basin.
 
 
Highland Creek Hut to Roses Hut - 10km / 5-6hr

This is the most demanding section of the track. It involves 2 major climbs and descents. The first involves a memorable climb up a steep spur then sidles to vantage points that provide good views of the Motatapu Valley. A long descent takes trampers down to a creek within a strip of remnant beech forest. A long climb immediately follows up towards a major ridge off Knuckle Peak. From here travel is down the ridgeline to the Motatapu River. Ford the river then cross valley floor to Roses Hut (12 bunks).
 

Roses Hut to Macetown  - 10km / 4-5hr

The track from the hut continues to follow marker poles. It crosses a small creek and climbs 470m up the ridge to a point at 1270m, above and east of Roses Saddle. From this high point the track descends to the Arrow River.
If the Arrow River is at normal to low flows then travel is quicker within the river bed all the way down to Macetown. An alternatively route to Macetown follows the directional sign and markers on a high water track, which sidles above the river’s true left bank. Note: trampers on the high water track still need to ford the Arrow River to reach Macetown so come prepared to wait out a flooded river as need be.
 
Macetown has a population of zero. This historic gold mining town is now a small collection of buildings and ruins. There are toilets here and camping is permitted. Vehicle access to Macetown is by a 15km 4WD track, which fords the river upwards of 20 times on its way to Arrowtown. 

 
Big Hill Track - 13km / 4-5hr

The Big Hill Track is an historic route that was once the main road from Arrowtown to Macetown.

From Macetown follow the 4WD Arrow Gorge Rd downstream to the Eight Mile/Coronet Creek confluence. Head up this creek for about 500m then follow polesand a light ground trail leading off on the true right up to Big Hill Saddle (1060m). The formed track down from the saddle affords good views across to Lake Hayes and the Wakatipu Basin. It passes through open tussock country and beech forest to the Sawpit Gully Trail junction. Continue down on the right hand track and exit to Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown on the Bush Creek Trail.

Alternative route: In poor weather trampers can continue down the Arrow Gorge Road to Arrowtown, river levels permitting.
Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info

Accommodation en route
Fern Burn Hut - 12 bunks 
Highland Creek Hut - 12 bunks 
Roses Hut - 12 bunks 

Transport to trailhead
Alpine ConneXions - 460 Aubrey Rd, Wanaka - P: 03 443 9120 - E: info@alpineconnexions.co.nz - Daily trampers' shuttle service from Wanaka to Glendhu Bay and to the northern start of the Motatapu Alpine Track - P: 03 443 7966 
 

Arrowtown 

Background information
Arrowtown is a one of New Zealand's most famous gold mining towns. A town rich in history and spectacular holiday destination.

General information

For information on Arrowtown log onto - Arrowtown Visitor Information 
Arrowtown Museum and Information Centre - 49 Buckingham St, Arrowtown - PH: 03 442 1824 - E: info@museumqueenstown.com

Getting there/away
Transport to/from Frankton/Queenstown
Connectabus - departs regularly from Ramshaw Lane - P: 03 441 4471 
Accommodtion
Arrowtown Holiday Park - 12 Centennial Ave, Arrowtown - P: 03 442 1876 - E: info@arrowtownholidaypark.co.nz - units, lodge and camping
There is also many other options for accommodation in Arrowtown
 
Resupply
Arrowtown Night n Day Food Store - 39 Buckingham St, Arrowtown - P: 03 442 1886 -  - Basic resupply 
Arrowtown Bakery & Café - 1 Buckingham St - P: 03 442 1587 - E: info@museumqueenstown.com
Requirements
  • Keep to the track
  • Respect private land
  • No litter
  • No dogs
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Use toilets provided at huts
  • Bury toilet waste well away from water
Amenities
(Start)
  • Roadside parking only
  • Car park at Fern Burn carpark up Motatapu Rd
  • Toilets in Glendhu Bay Camp Ground (open seasonally)
  • Shop in Glendhu Bay Camp Ground (open seasonally)
  • Accommodation in Glendhu Bay Camp Ground (open seasonally)
Amenities
(On Route)
  • No amenities
  • Accommodation huts
Amenities
(End)
  • Full range of amenities in Arrowtown
  • Carpark
  • Picnic area
  • Toilets
  • Shop
  • Accommodation
Closest Town(s)
Wanaka
Managed by
DOC, Wanaka Area Office
Thanks to
Eileen and Robert Lange