This is a list of the most popular locations visited by OUTC on the Fiordland weekend, in an order easy to hard. The list is by no means complete – the area offers an infinity of trips, and with a bit of imagination you’ll always be able to find something new. This list will hopefully be of some help for the youngest trip-leaders to get a feel for the range of trips that the area offers. Routes off the Milford Road only are considered; locations near Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau are not included.
Gertrude Saddle EASY+
Considered one of New Zealand’s best day walks this is a steep but popular trip. It heads up the Gertrude Valley to the saddle which involves some scrambling to get to the top, but rewards you with exceptional views all the way to Milford Sound on a clear day. Can be done as an overnight camping trip or extended to Barrier Knob and/or Peak (requiring ice axe and crampons). Otherwise there is the option to stay in the comfortable Homer Hut at the start of the track ($15-$35/night).
Mistake Creek EASY+
Off track, river-crossings, no huts. Lovely lake among impressive peaks at the head of the valley. Can be easily combined with the loop over U Pass.
U Pass MOD+
Off-track, rough track, navigation, river crossings, no huts, steep terrain, scree, limited water. Recommended route is up Mistake Creek, up the true left of the waterfall, camp at the top of the waterfall, walk over U Pass, then return via Hut Creek. Will take about two 7 hour days.
Consolation Peak HARD
Gorgeous route with a great alpine section, but requires good navigation skills. Tracks limited to lower valleys, river crossings, bush-bashing, navigation.
Lake Erskine HARD +
Alpine trip – requires ice-axe and crampons; rope and helmet recommended. Can be easily combined with the loop over U-Pass. Takes two 13-hour days.
Eglinton River East Branch to Cascade Creek HARD
Two very long days – has been done on a Fiordland weekend before, by a fit party. Partially off track, no huts. Not the most inspiring route.
Kiosk Creek MOD (?)
Read Antics 2003!
Glade Pass / Dore Pass HARD
Off track, river-crossings, no huts.
Key Summit / Livingstone Range / Lake McKellar MOD
Easy off-track on open tops, comfortable hut ($15, sleeps 24, or $5 to camp next to hut). There is a fairly good track from the saddle (top of Duck Creek) down the spur, not marked on map. (Updated 2013 - J.Vincent)
Key Summit / Livingstone Range / Cascade Creek MOD
Mostly off track, no huts
McKellar Hut EASY
Easy walk on track, 3 to 4 hrs each way. Comfortable hut ($10, sleeps 20)
McKellar Saddle / Upper Caples Hut MOD
Good track, comfortable hut ($10)
Lake Roberts MOD+
Mostly off track, no huts. Steep terrain with scree and rockfall, can only go over south pass, not up waterfall. 6 hours walk each way. (Updated 2013 - J.Vincent)
Routeburn Track / Lake Wilson / Deadmans Track MOD
Good track most of the way, a fairly long way to walk. Camping near the Routeburn Track is not allowed – need to go past Harris Saddle to camp in the Valley of the Trolls at least
Deadmans Track to Knob 1116 MOD-
Steep track up to the routeburn with a scrub sidle to the knob. Basin area beyond to explore as well.
Lake Marian EASY
Short walk to a nice lake with plenty of exploring to do beyond it. The car park is way bigger than it use to be thus, more tourist wearing town shoes! Track is sometimes steep but is not exposed. Rough large stones under foot. Lake is tranquil and camping spots can be found to the right around the corner past the big boulder area. Lake is nice to swim in. takes about 1 and a half hours to walk in. 2.4km one way.
Lake Alabaster EASY
Good track, relatively flat, 20km to McKerrow Hut = long way! Van required on Hollyford Rd. Good campsites along the lake shore 10-20min beyond Lk. Alabaster hut in 2011. (updated 2013 - J.Vincent)
Moraine Creek / Lake Adelaide HARD
Off track, great bivvy rocks. Takes about 9 hrs each way. Van required on Hollyford Rd.
Moraine Creek / Lake Adelaide / Giffords Crack HARD
Off track, great bivvy rocks. A scramble on steep terrain – requires a good head for heights, plus ice-axe and crampons if traversing over Barrier Knob. Barrier Peak can be climbed on the way. Descent to Homer Hut. Don’t go down Giffords Crack! Van required on Hollyford Rd.
Falls Creek MOD
Off track, no huts. Nice lake at the head of the valley. Horrendous walk through horrible scrub. Not really worth the walk, though the head of the valley is very impressive when it’s bucketing down with rain.
Barrier Knob MOD+
Is really not that hard, but requires good use of ice-axe and crampons. Steep snow/ice slope. Campsites near Gertrude Saddle, but can be done in a day from Homer Hut. Trip can be extended to Barrier Peak (requires alpine skills).
Climbs from Homer Hut HARD +
Mt. Crosscut, Barrier Peak, McPherson – Talbot Traverse, Bell – Moir Traverse, Mt. Christina. All these trips require alpine skills. Good scrambling on solid Darrans granite, often exposed, with snow-fields or small glaciers.
Esperance River / Mt. Isolation HARD
Very overgrown track from Milford road to bush “edge”, no huts. DoC time is 3hrs but that’s a lie. Time taken up in 2013 was 5.5hrs and 3.5hrs back. Track markers are indicative of old track only and bush bashing is required. Campsites can be found above De Lambert Falls. Head for heights required on final scramble to summit. Van required, check tunnel opening hours as it can be closed at night. If rain is forecast then it’s strongly recommended not to do this trip as the catchment is very responsive to rain. In 2013 a helicopter rescue was required for an injured member after a botched river crossing. In 2010 trouble was also encountered with the river above the bush line. (updated 2013 - J.Vincent)
Tutoko River to Leaders Creek junction EASY
Mostly on a track, no huts. Two major river-crossings, can be avoided if necessary. A stunning valley with great campsites. Van required if bus can’t go through the tunnel at night.
Tutoko River to bottom of Grave Couloir MOD+
Mostly off-track, rough valley floor, no huts, major river-crossings. Van required if bus can’t go through the tunnel at night.
Turners Bivvy HARD +
Some very steep terrain, awesome rock bivvy. Rope recommended. Van required if bus can’t go through the tunnel at night.
Mitre Peak HARD +
Aquanaut or other floating device required to cross the sound. Steep scramble – needs good head for heights; may need a rope. Van necessary – the bus leaves Milford Sound quite early.
Cascade Peak MOD+
Awesome views into Milford sound. Some near vertical bush bashing