Posted by: Talie Morrison | March 26, 2009

Harper Pass Hike

One of the hikes I really wanted to do this season in New Zealand was to walk from Arthur’s Pass to Lewis Pass (since my last trip down here I had hiked from St. Arnard to Lewis Pass).   And the Harper’s Pass hike was pretty much that hike.   

I left Yanqui at the end of the trail just off the Lewis Pass road at Windy Point.   Waited on the road for a bus which brought me back into Christchurch and then took another bus out to Myles and Margaret’s house.   The next day (which just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day), Myles and Margaret drove me to the start of the track.   We had a early lunch at the trailhead, and I took off up the Taramakau River.  


The description states:  “If the Otira is not easy to ford, postpone your tramp for another day”!   But it wasn’t hard to get across – I lost count of the river crossings of the Otira and the Taramakau after about 15 of them!   The deepest the water was was about up to my shorts so I didn’t have any problems with any of the crossings.    That first day was a bit long as it took me 7 hours to get to the Locke Stream Hut


As soon as I got there (about 6:30 pm), I went out to gather firewood.   I knew a storm was coming in, and I thought I might have to wait it out at this hut.   But there was a radio at the hut and I called the Arthur’s Pass DoC Office the next morning and they suggested that “if it isn’t raining yet, you should go ahead and go over the pass”.   So I took off, but even though in a couple of hours it was raining, it was just a misty drissley rain and I was up on the pass by noon. 



And then 10 minutes after I got to the next hut (about 4 pm), the skies opened up and it started pouring!   Thank you, Mother Nature for waiting!   And this was the hut (Hurunui #3) that I waited out the rest of the storm that next day.    I still haven’t seen a soul since I left Myles and Margaret – and have had all these huts to myself!   

img_31601      The next morning the sun was shining and I was glad I had waited out the storm (I did a sun dance outside the hut since I could “Dance like no one is watching”!) 

And  along the way on this day’s hike, there was a natural hot springs right next to the trail.   What a beautiful thing to have a soak in the middle of a day’s hiking!   Yea!  





This was a short day (which left me lots of time to soak), and I still didn’t see anyone on the trail or in the hut that night.

The fifth day of the hike, I went part way around Lake Sumner and then over Kiwi Saddle.    It was another long day, but not hard – and I saw my first other hikers.   And, again, 10 minutes after I reached the Hope/Kiwi hut, the skies opened up and it started pouring again!   Whew!    I also had a wonderful hut companion, Cliff, who shared some of his fresh food with me and I had a delicious lamb, bean, and potato stir fry!   Such a treat after 5 days of dehydrated noodles and tuna packets!   


    So Day 6, my last day, was a beautiful day of hiking down the Hope River.   It was in and out of little bits of forest and I enjoyed the sounds of lots of Bell Birds and Tuis.   And finally  I got to where  Yanqui Girl was waiting patiently for me.    What an awesome trip!  


      I figured I had earned more hot springs soaking and off I went to Hanmer Spring for a couple of days of soaking in more hot pools!   What an awesome place New Zealand is!



  1. I think this sounds like my favorite hike so far! Great timing on all the rain too 🙂 looking forward to your next entry! We had snow this week finally in boulder. 2 1/2 feet fell on Thursday. Fingers crossed for more snow this week.


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