Thieves breaking into vehicles
Thieves have been breaking into cars and motor-homes at various car-parks and some camp-sites along SH.73 on a regular basis (day & night). They have been stealing passports, credit cards, money, electronic devices and recreation equipment. Take your absolute valuables with you on the walks, and don't leave other valuable items in plain sight in your vehicle. Report any suspicious activity to Police '111', and note down registration plates of vehicles!

Mingha - Goat Pass - Deception

TIME : 2 days, Highway 73 - Goat Pass Hut 4-6 hours, Goat Pass Hut - Highway 73 5-7 hours

FEATURES : Beech forest, rainforest, alpine pass, Side trip to alpine lake (see below)

MAP : NZTopo50: Otira BV20 (NZMS260: Otira K33)

Mingha - Deception route (east - west) (1.7MB)
Deception - Mingha route (west - east) (1.7MB)


You must cross lots of rivers, which, after heavy rain, rise very quickly. You must be prepared to wait a day or two for the rivers to go down. It is harder to get down the Deception in bad weather than the Mingha.

The terrain is rough and can take some people a lot longer than the route times.

If it is raining heavily do not depart for this trip, or do not leave your Hut or Campsite!

Note : New section of track in the Mingha River. This avoids travelling along part of the river which is a home to whio (blue duck). Please use the new track to avoid disturbing the ducks.


The trailheads are 5km east of Arthur's Pass and 20km west of Arthur's Pass.

Walk to Mingha Corner (5km), Pvt Car (not recommended to park cars at either track-head because of vandalism problems) or Hitch.


Mingha Biv - (2 persons)
Goat Pass Hut - (20 bunks & NO FIREPLACE)
Upper Deception Hut - (6 bunks)

Goat Pass Hut
Deception River

Lake Mavis Route

TIME : 1.5 - 2 hours (1.6km one way, 520m climb)

FEATURES : Alpine lake, stunning alpine views, NZ Falcon, Kea, Rock Wren

MAP : NZTopo50: Otira BV20 (NZMS260: Otira K33)

TOPO: Click Here to download A3 PDF of image below (1.64MB)

Route Description


  • Only attempt this route in good visibility! It is unmarked.
  • Avoid this route in Winter/Spring. It passes through an area where large avalanches are known to occur. In snow-bound conditions carry ice-axe & crampons, avalanche beacons and avalanche rescue gear.
  • Never follow Lake Mavis outlet stream, it has waterfalls, cliffs, and leads you into very boggy ground.
  • Never walk on the lake surface if it is frozen! Also very large avalanches pour off the west face of Mt Oates, they can travel right across the lake in some seasons.
Lake Mavis (iced over)

From the summit of Goat Pass (1070m) head south on the track about 150m. There is a small cairn of rocks beside the track, and towards the east you will be looking at a scree slope that narrows through a gut in the cliff. Walk through the low alpine scrub to the toe of the scree. It is generally easier to keep to the right side of the scree while climbing, you should find "pigeon hole" footsteps on this side. Climb upslope for about 170m; the scree narrows and gets steeper. The normal route is to leave the scree on the right (south) side, climbing through tussock and scrub on a natural bench that slowly rises for about 50m. You should intersect a easy upwards slope that climbs onto the back of the ridge after another 100m.

Wander through easy ground to the east, climbing up through some rocky outcropping. You should find a line of rock cairns in this area. Turn around and memorise where you came from! The cairns will lead you over a couple of hummocks, and along a scree covered ridge to the head of a ravine draining towards Lake Mavis Stream. Sidle around the ravine, heading towards the massive cliff under Mt Oates. Shortly you will find yourself on the rim of the cirque enclosing Lake Mavis. Return the exact same way!

COMMON NAVIGATION ERRORS: The most common error trampers make is on their return, they will choose a spur that leads them into the head of the Deception River, that in turn can be difficult to get out of. Do not blindly descend any scree that you cannot clearly see its bottom!


  • Lake Mavis can be a very exposed campsite, make sure your tent is well secured.
  • The water in the lake is drinkable without treatment.
  • Toilet waste MUST BE buried at least 50m away from the catchment of the lake. Take toilet paper out with you in a plastic / cornstarch bag; DO NOT burn toilet paper!

AdventureSmart - Tell someone where you are going!So you have an enjoyable and safe time for your visit to Arthur's Pass National Park, follow the Land Safety Code:

  • Choose the right trip
    • Learn about the route and make sure you have the skills for it.
  • Understand the weather
    • It can change fast. Check the forecast and change your plans if needed.
  • Pack warm clothes and extra food
    • Prepare for bad weather and an unexpected night out.
  • Share your plans and take ways to get help
    • Telling a trusted person your trip details and taking a distress beacon can save your life.
  • Take care of yourself and each other
    • Eat, drink and rest, stick with your group and make decisions together.

For more information, visit or use the Plan My Walk system

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