Boyle Village to Tekapo | Te Araroa

Getting into the swing of Te Araroa.

Forest and good tracks to start, moving into the tussock country with fewer huts. There is Arthurs Pass National Park to traverse; the gnarly river crossings, the Taramakau, Rakaia, and Rangatata, many hitch around the last two; and the highest point on Te Araroa, 1925 m at Stag Saddle in the Two Thumbs Range. Add in the remarkable turquoise colour of Lake Tekapo from on high and the extraordinary view of Mt Cook/Aoraki and Mt Tasman and it’s quite the experience.

This chunk of Te Araroa is, however, the most awkward logistically. You can send yourself a food parcel to Boyle River Outdoor Centre, $10 to store, or hitch to Hamner for a food resupply. Similarly at the Arthurs Pass post office, Greymouth is the closest supermarket option. Some pop out to Methven, on their way hitching around the dangerous Rakaia River crossing. At least there is a decent supermarket once you get to Tekapo.

The tussock country has a totally different feel from the forested areas further north, and the huts are generally older and more sporadic.

Many rate the Two Thumbs Range as the highlight of their adventure. It’s sure up there.

where | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa


click to view larger, more interactive topographic map from, err, topomap.co.nz

distance | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

329 km Boyle Village to Tekapo, around 7000 m ascent

time | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

possible in 16 days for energetic hut jumpers, many take about 21

when | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

November to April inclusive.

Try to avoid the Mingha-Deception Rivers on the Coast to Coast weekend, ie, 12-13 February 2016, a large contingent run that part and spend the night of 12 February at Klondyke corner.

maps and GPS | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

It’s essential to have a paper map in case GPS batteries die.

Most people get by with the generally useful maps supplied free for download from the Te Araroa Trust website. These have sufficient detail to find your way. Download and print out your own on a colour laser printer, bubble jet maps don’t survive getting wet at all well. There is a habit of maps being annotated as the track is walked and being passed to those heading in the opposite direction, showing camping site recommendations, etc.

There are also .kmz or .gpx files for free download for your GPS device at the Te Araroa Trust website.

There are Land Information New Zealand, LINZ, Topo50 maps, both digital and paper, but at $7 each they get expensive and some parts of the track cross only small sections of map.

Download free digital versions from LINZ Mapchooser, or buy the real thing, ie, on old fashioned paper, at DOC offices, outdoor shops and bookshops where maps sold. There’s a nationwide list at LINZ Map Retailers.

route description | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

From Boyle Village there are some easy days as you make your way up the wide Hope and Hurunui Rivers. Harper Pass is not so tough, although the Taramakau River might be if there had been any recent rain. Similarly the bash up the Deception River may prove difficult in the rain, there are many river crossings to be made.

Lagoon Saddle has a well worn track over to the spacious Hamilton Hut, there’s a few unbridged rivers to cross along the way. Just south from there the nature of the route changes: from forested areas with a high level of amenity, to farming and tussock country that predominates all the way to the start of the Mavora Walkway.

It’s suggested by the Te Araroa Trust that the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers are avoided, the Rakaia is certainly gnarly but the Rangitata is easier to ford if there has been no rain in previous days, later in the summer.

A major effort is required for the Two Thumb Range although with that effort comes reward. If the weather is clear there is a remarkable view of the eastern slopes of Mount Cook/Aoraki and a great view south across Lake Tekapo as far as Ben Ohau several days further on.

Overall it’s very scenic with some great views if the weather is fine. And despite the effort required in the Two Thumbs Range it’s nowhere near the level of the Pelorus to Boyle section further north.

Boyle Village to Tekapo topographical section, Te Araroa

huts | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

There are plenty of huts in Arthurs Pass National Park but after that there are a few major gaps. These are the huts you are likely to encounter along the way.

A Frame Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park
Bealey Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park
Cameron Hut | Harper Pass
Camp Stream Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
Comyns Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park
Crooked Spur Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
Double Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park
Goat Pass Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park
Hamilton Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park
Harper Pass Bivvy | Harper Pass
Hope Halfway Hut | Harper Pass/ Lake Sumner Forest Park
Hope Kiwi Lodge | Lake Sumner Forest Park
Hurunui Hut | Lake Sumner Forest Park
Hurunui Hut No 3 | Lake Sumner Forest Park
Kiwi Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park
Klondyke Corner campsite | Arthurs Pass National Park
Lagoon Saddle A-frame Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park
Lagoon Saddle Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park
Locke Stream Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park
Manuka Hut | Hakatere Conservation Park
Mingha Bivvy | Arthurs Pass National Park
Royal Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
Stone Hut | Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
Upper Deception Hut | Arthurs Pass National Park
West Harper Hut | Craigieburn Forest Park

Tramping times | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

Here’s the DoC stated tramping times between huts, as shown on their website, usually actual walking times, ie, not taking into account any long breaks. DoC bases its estimation on times for an “average” tramper which means that it’s possible to slash times for more popular sections. With more remote sections the stated time is close to the actual time required.

Some of the times have been taken from the Te Araroa Trust website.

Boyle Village to Hope-Kiwi Lodge
Time: 6.5 -8 hours

Hope-Kiwi Lodge to Hurunui Hut
Time: 5 – 6 hours
Distance: 19 km

Hurunui Hut to Hurunui No. 3 Hut
Time: 4-5 hours
Distance: 10 km

Hurunui No.3 Hut to Locke Stream Hut
Time: 7 hours
Distance: 15 km

Locke Stream Hut to Morrison Footbridge via Aitkens
Time: 6 — 8 hours
Distance: 23km

Morrison Footbridge to Goat Pass Hut
Time: 8 — 9 hours
Distance: 14 km

Goat Pass Hut to Greyney Shelter campsite
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 11 km

Greyney Shelter campsite to Bealey Hut
Time: 2 — 3 hours
Distance: 9 km

Bealey Hut to Hamilton Hut
Time: 7 — 8 hours
Distance: 15 km

Hamilton Hut to Harper Road
Time: 5 — 6 hours
Distance: 18 km

Harper Road to Homestead Road
Time: 5 — 6 hours
Distance: 21.7 km

Homestead Road to Lake Coleridge Village
Time: 2 hour 15 minutes
Distance: 7.4 km

The Te Araroa Trust recommends avoiding crossing the hazardous Rakaia River and instead hitching around. Not a bad idea, even when low the river can be relatively gnarly and people have drowned in this river attempting to cross.

Glenrock Stream to Comyns Hut
Time: 4 — 5 hours
Distance: 15.7 km

Comyns Hut to Double Hut
Time: 6 — 8 hours
Distance: 16 km

Double Hut to Hakatere Heron Road
Time: 3 — 4 hours
Distance: 14 km

Hakatere Heron Road to Potts River Bridge carpark
Time: 5 — 7 hours
Distance: 25.5 km

The Te Araroa Trust recommends avoiding crossing the hazardous Rangitata River and instead hitching around. This is, however, often an easier river crossing to make than the Rakaia at low flow times in the late summer months.

Bush Stream car park to Crooked Spur Hut
Time: 4 hours
Distance: 9 km

Crooked Spur Hut to Stone Hut
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 9 km

Stone Hut to Royal Hut
Time: 2 hours
Distance: 6 km

Royal Hut to Camp Stream Hut
Time: 6 hours
Distance: 14 km

Camp Stream Hut to Boundary Stream carpark
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 19 km

Boundary Stream carpark to Tekapo
Time: 3 — 4 hours
Distance: 15 km

getting there | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

The only public transport to Boyle Village is jumping on the East West Coaches bus departing Westport at 8 15 am, arriving Boyle Village at 10 20 am, or, departing Christchurch at 2 15 pm and arriving at 4 35 pm. Phone 03 789 6251, or 0800 142 622 for further information and pricing.

Tekapo is more accessible being on the run to Queenstown and Mt Cook/Aoraki. There are a number of buses each day but the cheaper two are: Intercity leaving Christchurch at 8 30am and arriving at 12 00 noon, and departing Tekapo at 12 40 pm arriving in Christchurch at 4 30 pm for around $35 if you can book ahead.

Atomic does the same run at different times: departing Christchurch at 7 30 am arriving Tekapo at 10 40 am. And departing Tekapo at 6 05 pm arriving in Christchurch around 9 45 pm, all for $30.

Getting around by hitching is also possible but, of course, entirely unreliable. There’s an OK hitching spot at the highway at the end of the St James Walkway.

supplies | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

Christchurch has the works of course. Hamner Springs has two supermarkets, The Hamner Four Square in Conical Hill Road, open 7 days, most 8:30 to 6pm, and the Hamner Springs Foodway in Amuri Avenue open 7 days, 9 to 5.

There’s a reasonable 4 Square in Tekapo in the main street open 7 days: 7 00 am – 8 00 pm.

The shop at Arthurs Pass is aimed at the passing tourist trade and while it has good takeaway style fare it also a limited range of expensive grocery items. It’s not the sort of place to stock up on a week or more supply of tramping food.

There’s a reasonable 4 Square Supermarket in Tekapo in the main street open 7 days: 7 00 am – 8 00 pm. You can get most common groceries needed for food resupply there.

warnings | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

The river crossings are probably the major concern on this section, and there are plenty of them. The Rakaia is the single biggest issue, it can be dangerous even when there hasn’t been rain for weeks, but once it has been raining the large rivers that are not bridged, the Taramakau and Rangitata can quickly become uncrossable. There was a story in the Kiwi Hut book of someone trapped there for six nights waiting for the Taramakau to go down, that was in January, then 2 months later the river had completely dried in places. Even the small rivers such Otehake, Otira, Deception and the Harper can become torrents and while they come up quickly they can go down just as fast.

Round Hill creek and the North Branch of the Ashburton River/Haketere in the Clent Hills requires many river crossings, someone mentioned 71 but my guess is around 40. Towards Comyns Hut you need to charge up the middle of the river due to the steep bluffs on either side.

Due to the newness of the track some new sections are still relatively poorly marked in the tussock: the section between Comyns Hut and Double Hut; and Royal Hut and Stag Saddle come immediately to mind.

Note that while these tracks are relatively low in altitude, due to New Zealand’s island climate it is possible to get snow to low levels even in mid-summer. In the summer of 2014 — 15 it snowed below 1000 m three times during January/February. It can get cold and combined with strong winds the wind chill factor can be much more extreme than you might think.

New Zealand does not have a stable continental style climate as is found in Europe or North America, one thing you can rely on is that it is quite unpredictable. A day can start without a cloud, have horizontal rain in 20 minutes and the temperature drop 10º C very quickly. Good wet weather gear and warm clothes are essential.

Carrying an EPIRB, ie, an emergency locator beacon, is a sensible idea here, there may not be so many people out here on any particular day.

other websites | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

The official Te Araroa website has a welter of information and maps and trail notes, suggestions for commercial accommodation, and hints, etc.

a big image slideshow | Boyle Village to Tekapo — Te Araroa

Here’s a 49 image slideshow from Boyle Village to Tekapo giving an indication of the general track conditions and sights along the way, if you need any further convincing.

Click on the thumbnail image below to get the slideshow started, then you can click on the left or right sides of the bigger images to go forward or back.

Boyle Village to Tekapo | Te Araroa

Images of this section of Te Araroa huts and campsites can be found in the Te Araroa huts and campsites section.

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