Harper Pass - Lewis Pass
20/01/2017 Landslides near Harper Bivouac (Harper Pass) & High River Levels: Following exceptional rainfalls multiple landslides have destroyed parts of the Harper Pass trail in the vicinity of Harper Bivouac. While the river is low it is relatively safe to traverse these obstacles, however if the river is high there is risk of falling into the torrent - absolute care and good decision making is essential!
Also, the "Otira flood track" from the Taramakau to the Deception River (Morrison foot-bridge) is completely unmaintained, it has landslides, fallen trees, poor marking, and is overgrown, if the Otira River is high it is also dangerous to traverse - again absolute care and good decision making is essential!
TIME : 5 days
FEATURES : Historic route over Harper Pass, rainforest, excellent hot springs, river valleys
MAP : NZTopo50: Moana BU20, Haupiri BU21, Lake Sumner BU22, Boyle BU23 (NZMS260: Otira K33, Dampier L33, Lake Sumner L32)
Note: There is no longer an emergency radio at Locke Stream Hut!
HOW HARD IS IT?
Take a map and route guide!
If travelling north to south this trip has enough river crossings that if it rains heavily it may be impossible to move (stuck at Locke Stream or Kiwi Hut). Take enough food for a few extra days sitting in a hut waiting for the river levels to drop.
WHERE DO I START?
Begins at Aickens 10km north of Otira on Highway 73. Ends on the Lewis Pass Highway at Windy Point.
It is fairly common to have a problem with transport for this tramp, especially about the Lewis Pass end. At the Arthur's Pass end, either West Coast Shuttle (Ph. 03 768 0028) or Atomic Shuttle (Ph. 03 349 0697) may be able to assist if they are not fully booked enroute to Greymouth/Christchurch, alternates are Pvt Car or Hitch-hike.
At the Lewis Pass end try East-West Coachlines (Ph. 03 789 6251) provides transport between Christchurch and the Westport via the Lewis Pass Road (State Highway 7); unfortunately it arrives at Windy Point at 10.30am enroute to Christchurch that is very early if you are tramping from Hope-Kiwi Hut that day (4.5 - 5.5hrs). Hanmer Connection (Ph. 0800 242 663) can provide transport between Hanmer Springs and Christchurch. Timetables are available from these Bus companies, or the Hurunui Visitor Information Centre, Hanmer Springs. When catching the bus from a tramp it is advisable to aim to arrive at the shelters at least a half hour before the scheduled times which are approximate. It will be up to you to flag down the bus as well. The alternate is to hitch-hike to Hanmer Springs or Westport/Reefton/Greymouth.
Thieves and vandals are common visitors to the Taramakau Valley carpark at the Arthur's Pass end of this tramp. Please have a chat to the Visitor Centre in Arthur's Pass about safer, alternative parking spots.
So you have an enjoyable and safe time during your visit to Arthur's Pass National Park follow these 5 simple rules...
1. PLAN YOUR TRIP
Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.
2. TELL SOMEONE
Tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. Visit the AdventureSmart Website to file an intentions form with someone you trust!
3. BE AWARE OF THE WEATHER
New Zealand's weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Check out the Arthur's Pass Weather Forecast here.
4. KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.
5. TAKE SUFFICIENT SUPPLIES
Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication.
For more information, visit www.adventuresmart.org.nz/land-adventures