WALKS – NELSON LAKES

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.

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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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