Last Updated: 24th Jan 2024


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Mt Sunday - Mt Riley Loop

Blenheim, Marlborough

Submitted by Ian Buunk

Last Updated: 24th Jan 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 45 ?

Gnarl Factor: 74 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +22.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -22.9%


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Estimated Times to Run







Follow the track from the carpark. At the large sign turn left to climb Mt Sunday (there is no real reason not to do it in the other direction). Follow the triangles through the forest as you climb, this section is more of a hike than a run. As you near the summit of Mt Sunday you will encounter several false summits which involve rock scrambling.

Descend to Sunday Bivouac (a good place to fill your water or have a snack). Easier travel along the ridge to Mt Riley. Descend through some rocks and then onto the track in the forest. Follow orange triangles until you get to the stream. Cross the stream and follow the track to your car.

This trail includes the peaks Mount Sunday and Mount Riley.

On the ridge shortly after Mt Sunday is a 2 person Bivvy/Hut.

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Gravel Road, Plenty of Parking, No Public Transport

29 km

29 minutes




There are a lot of animal tracks in the area, make sure you follow the orange triangles. SAR have rescued several people from this area


Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Compass, Map

There is very little water on the route. There is a water barrel about 5km in which may have water of questionable quality. The water at the hut is from the roof and seems good. Near the end you cross a nice stream.

The tops are exposed to the wind and get snow in winter, expect it to be hot in summer. These are mountains.

Roadhouse Cafe
Its close and has good food

Trail Legend

Claire Whittle

Claire Whittle

has completed Mt Sunday - Mt Riley Loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Glad access to a favourite slog has finally been restored, and DOC have helpfully refreshed the track marking:) Glorious views and forest, but it's a mint weather route only, as foot placement is critical on parts of the Mt Sunday ascent, and safety trumps speed for the entirety of this technical track. Note for the low kms, DOC estimate 8-10hrs if walking- which reflects the gnarl factor!

Rach Vell

January 8

Not much running to be done. I would recommend a clockwise approach otherwise the descent from Mt. Sunday would be dreadful on the knees. Quick mind you, if you could stay on your feet.

Steve Barker

January 3, 2021

Awesome trail with fun open forest to climb/descend though. View at the top are definitely worth the effort of getting up there. Even managed to spook a handful of goats

Callum Knox

December 5, 2020

Good solid loop. Easily accessible. Nice bush. A good half days out.

Andy Petrie

October 19, 2020

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