Rotorua and Blue lake

This is the first of two tramping articles since our return to New Zealand.

They are not within the Kapiti region,  however they are both within a day trip of Kapiti so hope they might inspire you to take a look at them.

Nelson Lakes:  Rotoroa and Blue Lake

This is a truly wonderful area that is often only considered in connection with the alpine route over the Travers Pass or the rugged Lake Angelus trail.  Both are spectacular but as a group of eight older trampers (59 – 74) we decided to take a relatively easier option.

Day One:  Kapiti to St Arnaud.

Leaving Kapiti in two vehicles we took the 1pm ferry to Picton and drove straight  to St. Arnaud.  We stayed overnight in a lovely lodge – 4 to a unit gave reasonable rates and the local café opened specially for our evening meal.

Day Two:  St. Arnaud to head of Lake Rotoroa: ½ hr drive, 20mins water taxi.

It`s a 15km walk to West Sabine Hut. Elevation gain 200m (not to mention all the extra ups and down in between). 6 ½ hrs (signed as 5 ½)

The walk  is long but relatively gentle, some interesting river flats, huge rocky caverns, the greenest moss imaginable, waterfalls and a pristine mountain river.  The route up to Blue Lake is slightly more rugged with a steep patch and several avalanche paths to cross – most fairly settled rock falls but a recent one of snow and ice.

Blue Lake itself is quite small but beautiful: blue, green, clear cold water reflecting the mountains north, west and east.  Early in the morning we discovered one lonely blue duck just resting on a rock.

Day Three: 7km walk to Blue Lake Hut 700 m elevation gain.  5 ½ hrs (signed as 4 ½).  Afternoon trip to Lake Constance – 2hrs return.


Lake Constance is worth the visit – the contrast so marked: a deep dark lake,  rocks shrewn at one end, little vegetation and sheer walls on two sides.

Day Four, and Five: Basically returning the way we came- one night at West Sabine Hut then out to Lake Rotoroa and home via water taxi, 150km drive and a late Ferry.


We all loved the trip and would recommend it to any reasonably fit tramper; good tracks, beautiful bush, warm huts and exceptional views of lakes and mountains.

Try it.

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