Upper Manuherikia LoopIntermediate
Submitted by Kieran Philip
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Back country - remote
RiversideOpen farmlandsOpen tussock/grasslands
Starting at the Homestead Campsite head north on to the track which is marked by orange poles. Follow this for the 1.5km along until it reaches the main 4WD track. Once on this track you basically follow it for the next 40km! Take a left and head along the road, after another approx 2km, you'll reach a sign which signposts the West and East branches of the Manuherikia. The way this guide is mapped is to take the left and head up the West Branch of the Manuherikia River. So take a left, and floow this road up. It crosses the river many times (I lost count) so give up any notion of keeping dry feet.
About 7km up the track you reach Boundary Creek Hut which is a nice place for a breather. Continue on your way up the valley and you'll eventually get to Top Hut, another quaint wee hut. The climbing starts here, round the corner you begin the climb up to Omarama Saddle where you'll be greeted with views North. From the Saddle, head right on to the Saddle Ridge track which takes you up and over the high point to Little Omarama Saddle. From here head downhill, alongside the East Branch of the Manuherikia River until you join back up at the junction you were at much earlier. From here retrace your steps back to the Homestead Campsite.
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Features of interest
River crossings, backcountry huts, views of Mt Cook/Mackenzie Country, classic Central Otago tussock scenery.
Make Up of Run
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 100%
The starting point is at the Homestead Campsite located on Hawkdun Runs Rd. This road can be access of St Bathans Loop Rd. Trail starts at the hut at the campsite.
Heaps of parking. Is a DOC campsite, so could be a variety of people around. Is pretty remote, lots of driving on gravel roads to get there, with a couple of fords to go across. A regular car should be OK though, unless there's been a lot of rain.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, 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, Map.
Lots of water, may want to treat it before drinking as still a bit of livestock around.
Very, very hot in summer, so have plenty of water. Winter, snow on the tops, you'd want microspikes. River crossings could be dodgy if there was a heap of rain.
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