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Hakatere Shoe Washer , Canterbury

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Hakatere Shoe Washer Intermediate

Submitted by Kevin Holland

Info Info
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Trail Information







Back country - remote


Undulating, some big hills

Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands


Not Suitable (Slow)
10:00 (Moderate)
7:30 (Fast)



The trail is 90% on Doc land or the road, plus a small section of private land with a 10m wide public access easement. No permission required, all year access

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Easy track to follow from the Redcliff reserve start. Initially the track climbs 600m up to the floor of the Redcliff - Cookies valley. You can keep try feet until just before Tribulations Hut, a basic shelter. Stay in the valley floor, heading down Swift River. From Cookies Hut, it is wet foot time. Don't go up the track behind Cookies hut, return to the river bed and continue to Cookies Point - easily found by looking for the Rock Pillar at the junction with the North Branch Ashburton River. Lots of seagulls here for some reason.

Head up the Ashburton River, 14km of very slow going up a river gorge. The only time it opens out is to grow more matagouri. In Spring the crossing were up to 0.75m deep. Much of the time the only route is walking up the river, against the flow. No running here, not even for an Elite. At Comyns Hut you join the Te Araroa Trail and it is all runnable again. There is a poled 4 wheel drive track that deviates from the river but is easy going. You gain altitude up past A Frame hut and over the 1194m high point. At Turtons Saddle the track drops sharply down hill into the Glenrock station. At a fence junction with a no access private, you leave the 4 wheel drive track and pass through a poles single track public access route to the road. From the road it is undulating back to the start. Feel free to accept a ride back to the start, the 2nd car passing picked me up.

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Features of interest

Lots of mountain goats. Remote. Very basic historical tin huts, except for A Frame hut, which has been done up on the inside. More matagouri than you will ever want to see in a lifetime. Basically no trees after the first 3km

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 27%

Moderate Single Track: 13%

Easy Single Track: 14%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 27%

Gravel Road: 19%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

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I did it!
  • Access

    Double Hill Road, beside the Rakia river, at the Redcliff Reserve. Signpost on the side of the road, just before the bridge.

    Grass verge space for 4-8 cars. More if you walk a few minutes. No public transport although there will be private providers servicing the Te Araroa trail. Quite a few cars that could give you a ride if you don't want to finish the road section of the loop - the 2nd picked me up.

    57 km

    75 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Easy to Tribulations hut, follow the track. Keep to the river bed until you get to the Te Araroa Trail. Make sure you leave Swift River and switch to the North Ashburton River at the very distinctive Rock Pillar. Forget the banks unless you can see a clear path or you will end up in matagouri hell. The trail from Comyns is very distinct, I ran it in the dark.

    The North Ashburton river had more water than the Swift River. If it is very easy to cross the Swift River, you may have trouble later.


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

    More than you want. Much more - I spent a few hours in one river or another

    In spring the rivers may just be safely passable, but very cold water. Probably very dry late summer but I can't see the rivers drying up. Cold at altitude - I had 3 long sleeve merino layers, gloves, hat & jacket and struggled for warmth. If you run faster you should be fine.

    30+ river crossings - do NOT go if rivers are high.
    Cold water
    Cold at altitude
    No marked (or mapped) route for 15km

  • Post run indulgence

    Hororata Pie Shop
    Hororata Village
    Not that kind of place to have a website
    Good coffee, great pies.

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