The Styx River route remains difficult and slow, use the Arahura route instead!
The Styx River route is now very difficult in its mid/lower reaches due to massive landslides forcing river crossings in very poor locations. Less experienced trampers should use the Arahura River route, Mudflats Hut / Lower Arahura Hut, to the Milltown Road.
Very experienced trampers could go via Mid Styx Hut and the roughly marked Tyndall Creek route back into the Styx River; further river crossings of the Styx should be chosen well, and the river must be low! This route can be slow-going, so pre-arranging public transport pickups probably should be avoided.
Note: the old route guide PDF is incorrect and should not be used.
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!
NZ Mountain Radio Service discontinued
The NZ Mountain Radio Service was discontinued on 30th June 2023. This will affect the radios in CMC huts Barker & Park Morpeth in Arthur's Pass National Park. Consider carrying an alternative method of emergency contact if using these huts eg. Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), and get current long-term weather forecasts before heading into the back-country.
Flood bypass track not usable
The Waimakariri River has changed course upstream of the Anti Crow River junction. This has effectively cut-off the upstream entrance to a section of marked track here in flood or high water conditions. To bash past this section requires the crossing of two slippery waterfall faces just metres above the swift river. In low water conditions follow the riverbed crossing the river as required.
Clough cableway CLOSED!
The Clough cableway, near Carrington hut, is CLOSED. It has sustained damage to it's draw cable. It cannot be used! The White River can only be crossed whilst in normal or low flows.
Three Pass Trip
1) Major landslides in the lower Styx River force trampers to cross the river in very poor locations; it is advised to use the Arahura River route until further notice.
2) There is a fresh slip about 20min west of Park Morpeth Hut (400m upstream of Bauckes Creek), if Wilberforce River is too high to cross here it will require a substantial bush-bash to bypass.
3) The Whitehorn ice-field collapsed completely in January 2019. This was the first time this has happened in 10's of thousands of years, it exposed considerable unstable rock. With climate change events like this may become more frequent, absolute care is required if the ice is breaking up, or completely gone!
TIME : 4-5 DAYS
FEATURES : Three passes and four river valleys and an alpine lake gives lots of variety on this classic tramp.
MAPS : NZTopo50: Otira BV20, Kaniere BV19 (NZMS260: Otira K33, Wilberforce K34, Kaniere J33)
HOW HARD IS IT?
You'll need an ice-axe all year round just in case the snow-fields (Whitehorn Pass) are actually ice, crampons are advisable in winter through to early summer.
You need good river-reading and map-reading skills.
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS
Hokitika Taxis: 03-755 5075
Carrington Hut: 36 bunks (DOC Serviced)
Park Morpeth Hut: 6 bunks (CMC $10/night)
Harman hut: 6 bunks (DOC Standard)
Grassy Flats Hut: 6 bunks((DOC Standard)
Mudflats Hut: 6 bunks((DOC Standard)
Lower Arahura Hut: : 6 bunks((DOC Standard)
Please note that in winter to early summer a large ice/snow cornice may appear at the head of the "scree" route onto/off Browning Pass. A very steep rock rib on the true-left is an alternative route however it may be icy or have loose snow, climbing skills may be required!
1. Ascend Taipo River, Mary Creek to Harman Pass, then continue to Whitehorn Pass.
2. From Lake Browning, ascend ridge towards Mt Harman, drop down into head of Julia Creek, Julia Hut, then out via Mary Creek - Harman Pass - Waimakariri River, or descend the Taipo River to SH.73.
3. From the Arahura River, cross the swing-bridge to Newton Creek Hut. Return via Newton Saddle, Dunns Creek Hut to the Taipo River. Note that this route is overgrown, and can be difficult navigation in poor weather conditions.
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 www.adventuresmart.nz/land/activities/ or use the Plan My Walk system planmywalk.nz/home