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Boulder Lake , Tasman

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Boulder Lake Experienced

Submitted by Stu Houston

Info Info

Trail Information





Tasman and Nelson


Back country - remote

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush
Open ridges/tops


12:00 (Slow)
9:00 (Moderate)
6:00 (Fast)



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This trip is a great overnighter staying in the fabulous hut or a big grunty day trip.

From the carpark the track follows a farm track over open paddocks till it reachs the National Park where you climb steadily till the road peters out, then undulates across a large area of caste limestone in bush and you cross many very deep revines cutting through the rock. The track then steadily climbs till Beatham Clearing where you will find the last drop of water - there is a DOC sign pointing you down off the track to it.

From here the track really climbs past the Black Cow then way up to Brown Cow Saddle where you pop out onto the open tops. Here the view is stunning with views down the Aorere Valley and the entire length of Farewell Spit and across at Mount Taranaki standing proud over the horizon. Climb up the snow poled route onto the Brown Cow and your first view into Kahurangi National Park and Boulder Lake with the peaks of the Drogons Teeth behind.

The track then sidles and descends down to the lake - good luck not stopping every second to take in the incredible views with the Quartz Range reflected in the lake. Once at the lake the track goes around the edge of the lake to the hut, which is worth the effort for a dip in the waterfall behind the hut. The lake is great swimming too. Stay the night or retrace your steps back to the carpark.

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Features of interest

Stunning views, mountain lake, real nice hut & few people.
This is not the easiest track to run - it is lots of rocks and roots and undulates. The climbs are a grunt but the views are worth it. The gold miners hauled concrete and timber in here and dammed the lake and built a water race - they were hardcore !!!!

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 8%

Moderate Single Track: 40%

Easy Single Track: 37%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    From Collingwood follow the Aorere Valley towards the Heaphy track and when you reach the old historic Bainham store turn off left (east) onto Mackay pass road (there is a yellow AA sign saying Boulder Lake track) then right onto James Road and across the Aorere River and follow James Road onto a farm road past the milking shed and up the farm road till you come to a DOC sign and small kiosk.
    Don't speed on the farm track past farmers house or sheds.

    You can park at the small kiosk or if you ask the farmer he may let you drive a further 3 km up his road onto a DOC road but you need 4X4 and don't go too far in as the road gets steep with no turn arounds. The Heaphy track bus companies may drop you at start or pick up - I've seen them there but best to contact them.The parking is safe but small.

    23 km

    24 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    The track is well marked all the way.

    Very patchy.

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

    Take plenty of water as the only water on the route is at a small pool up on Beathams Clearing at the midway point. In the summer you will burn heaps so take plenty.

    Fine weather trip only. Track is exposed for last 6 kms before the hut. Snow in winter. Bottom section is slick and slippery in rain.

    Watch out for deep cracks (crevassess) in caste rock that cross the track - the rock can be slippery when wet and you don't want to fall in these cracks! DON'T go in bad weather as it is very exposed on the tops with snow in winter.

  • Post run indulgence

    Bainham Store
    Historic old store with old odds and bobs inside.

    The Naked Possum
    Rockville Aorere Valley
    Just off the Aorere Valley Road at the start of the Kaituna track this is a great place in an awesome location with nice food a real Golden Bay classic spot.

    The Mussel Inn
    Golden Bay institution legendary Beer great setting a must for any visit to the Bay.

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