Red Hills Hut to St Arnaud

20 Jan. Up again at 06:00. Off at 07:10. An easy walk down a 7km four-wheel drive track to State Highway 63 and 10km along the road into St Arnaud. NZ roads can be quiet, but the first car to pass me with my thumb out was after 40 mins and 2.5km of walking, all uphill! It didn’t stop immediately but then pulled over way ahead. It was an NZ couple heading down to Franz Joseph and they had already picked up Oceane who was behind me, and she had put in a request to pick me up as they passed. Thanks Oceane😊

We were dropped off in St Arnaud which has one general store/fuel station/cafe. The initial order was a steak pie and flat white, followed by a big breakfast and another flat white. I checked in at the Alpine Lodge which was full of familiar TA walkers. My laundry was done before I got my room at about 13:00. Showered, shaved and gear out to air, late lunch of salmon pizza with nice greens. Afternoon checking with the DOC visitor centre on track conditions and food shopping for the next week.

Katrina organised a walkers table for dinner. Anise, Katrina, Oceane, Jordan, Troy and Demelza were on the table. Demelza is waiting for a friend to join her on the trail. She has been an osteopath in Auckland and is trying to find something closer to home in Alexandra, Central Otaki. Steak for me with fresh veg followed by sundae. Should keep me going tomorrow.

Talking with the hotel manager, he reckoned that about 3000 walkers are coming through on the trail this season. The trail brings important tourist $ for small communities like St Arnaud.

That’s 249km of the 1300km covered in 11 days and I am currently running to my planned schedule. The next break point will be after a 7 day tramp to Boyle River where I plan to take a 3 day break in Hanmer Springs. The route is about 115km and follows valleys with a couple of passes (Travers Saddle 1787m and Waiau Pass 1870m). Mobile signal is extremely unlikely due to remoteness, but you will be able to follow my progress via the map page.

Track down from Red Hills.
Bees in the paddock farming manuka on the hills.
Also slow when dry!
Alpine Lodge Hotel and Backpackers.
St Arnaud General Store.
Tonight’s hut after my pack exploded. Grant won’t be impressed😊
Hut dinner.

6 thoughts on “Red Hills Hut to St Arnaud

  1. Jessica Syms

    Sounds like you enjoyed a break from the chilli con carne!


  2. Well that’s the warm up taken care of.

    Sounds like you have a nice little gang of compatriots.

    Salmon pizza!

    I’m with Grant on the mess in the room.

    Best of luck with the next leg.


  3. Ros Couldwell

    Feel I am with you in St Arnaud after our lovely trip in October. All looks so familiar. Bet you’re enjoying the comfort and delicious food! Enjoy! Xx


  4. Di Graham

    St Arnaud! I love Lake Rotoiti – one of my favourite lakes in NZ. The eels are amazing – the mozzies too…


  5. Katy

    Ahh such a familiar spot to stay before setting off on another WTMC adventure! So good to hear you’ve met some nice tramping buddies on the trail. Great to fill up on some good kai before the next section!


  6. Lois Hart

    I bet you’re looking forward to completing your last long section (Boyle to Arthur’s Pass 6-8 days). After that, travelling between the rivers will break up the next part of the journey. I totally agree with your reluctance to rely on the poles. I think they’re bloody dangerous. Just remember no hands through the straps and if you fall push them away. Sound advice from a Swiss hiker (after the ankle break). I think SOBO will be the way to go – safety in numbers and all that.


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