Breast Hill BlastIntermediate
Submitted by Andre Chalmers
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Native bushLakesideOpen farmlandsOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
This track is easy to start with as it follows a narrow path, you have to look for the orange poles the higher up you get. Sometimes the track is clear and other times find your own route but generally it is clear where you are heading, use a mobile device if not sure as you don't want to go too far off track, there are some seriously steep sections in the middle section. It is a very steep climb initially with lots of rock and sheep trails.
Once you get to the saddle it flattens off and you can go and chill out at the spectacular Pakituhi Hut at around the 4km mark. You then continue up towards the summit, the trail here can be tricky in cold, wet or muddy conditions and is not recommended in winter. The path offers massive panoramas over Lake Hāwea and is usually pretty safe as long as you stay away from the steep edge. The summit is wonderful but exposed, on a good day hang out for a while, if bad head back to the hut. The trail length is based on going to the hut which adds slightly more distance than if you simply go to the summit and back. Head back the way you came. Some sections are runnable but slow down and walk if you're uncomfortable as it can be easy to slip.
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Features of interest
I describe this as one of the best ways to enjoy New Zealand sheep country, you should see them at some point way more interesting then on the flat!
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 50%
Technical Single Track: 30%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Gravel Road: 5%
Drive to Lake Hawea township then head along the lake toward Timaru Creek Road, this is a nice little dirt road right next to the lake and the mountains. As you drive north look for the DOC sign on your right for the Breast Hill trail but then drive along another 500 metres and park on the left. Return to the sign ideally you start and finish at the carpark.
You will have to self drive, note that there is no parking at the trailhead you will have to find the nearby park as mentioned above.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
Navigation is easy if you are used to this terrain but a bit more difficult for a newbie. There are a few points where the track leads off the spur and around a knob or two. When you get to the ridgeline make sure you turn left to go up the hill or head straight to the hut.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).
Main water sources are at the start and at the hut, really not much else to be fair.
Winter is said to be bad, snow makes this very hard especially near the top, mud can make it hard on the main trail too even in warmer conditions meaning you have to go slightly off the main trail.
There are many seriously steep sections in this route, usually safe if you take it slow, I don't recommend running most of it unless you are like a goat, when uncomfortable simply slow down. Snow and ice and rain can make this route treacherous so be careful ideally go in spring/summer good weather conditions.
Post run indulgence
Lake Hawea Hotel
1 Capell Ave, Lake Hawea, 9382 Wanaka, New Zealand
Head to the Stags Head for a well earned pint after this shindig
Sailz Lake Hawea Restaurant
33 Capell Avenue, Lake Hawea
Usually the main place anyone from out of town will go to there is a general store here too, great for stocking up on supplies.
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