Last Updated: 26th Apr 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Doubtful Lake Man with Hope

Hanmer Springs, Canterbury

Submitted by Brad Spiers

Last Updated: 26th Apr 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 89 ?

Gnarl Factor: 55 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote



Native bush



Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +8.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.2%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






Start at Windy Point and cross the swing-bridge continuing to the Tui Track junction. Follow the Tui Track for 5km to the Doubtful River. Continue up the Doubtful River past Doubtful Hut to the Kedron River and Lake Man Biv Route.

Climb up to the Biv on a technical rooty track. Lake Man: to get to Lake Man, leave the Biv heading up valley, from the tussock clearing just above the Biv tend toward the River and follow the occasional cairn. Aim to reach the Bowl at the head of the valley keeping slightly true right of the main stream. This is all just bush bashing. Once in the Bowl, you will see a small ramp on the true left that leads to just below the waterfall draining Lake Man. Follow this and cross below the waterfall and scramble up to the Lake.

Once returned to the Biv, take the track to the tops, following snow poles over the tussock. The poles veer SW along and down the ridge until you reach the descent track with a larger orange triangle. This is a very steep and rugged descent into Pussy Stream. Once at the stream stay in the river bed following the occasional cairn, and crossing every 100 - 200m. Ignore any hint of a faint track through the bush, these are traps. Once you reach the Hope River flats cross the Hope River, and join the Hope Pass Track heading past St Jacob's Hut to a junction. Take the track over the swing-bridge and down the Hope Valley via Hope Hallway Hut back to Windy Point.

Lake Man, The upper Hope Valley.

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East West Coach Services run daily between Christchurch and Westport – 0800 142 622. Atomic Shuttles run Christchurch to Nelson and Nelson to Christchurch daily. Ph +64 3 3 349 0697; freephone 0508 108 359 - see the timetable here

45 km

35 minutes




The route up to Lake Man from the Biv could be tricky, the tops are poled, and Pussy Stream follows occasional cairns.


Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Gaiters

Plenty of water. In the lower Hope drink only from the side streams as there are cows in the valley.

This is very exposed to winds any time of the year. The tops would be covered in snow in winter. Mid- summer for the longer daylight and better (warmer) weather is the ideal time. You would need good visibility over the tops and up to Lake Man.

Not a lot of this is runnable between the Kedron River and the Hope River flats - so adjust accordingly (i.e start earlier).

You and Doubtful Lake Man with Hope

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Trail Reviews

Lovely route. A huge variety of terrain - just as you're about to be sick of something it switches up and changes. Farm, steep beech forest, tussock/ scrub bashing, rock scrambling, stream boulder hopping, grassland, flowy beech forest. The journey up to Lake Man is easy to navigate and very much worth it, but it is slow going. It's the jewel of the route and had it not been blowing a gale and verging on sleet we would have stuck around for longer. I should have read the note about the trap lines - got sucked into a couple before we committed to wading and hopping down the river.

Brion Matthews

February 21, 2022

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