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Rotoiti Loop The Lake, Tasman

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Rotoiti Loop The LakeIntermediate

Submitted by Mal Law

Info Info
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Trail Information





Tasman and Nelson

St. Arnaud

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands


4:00 (Slow)
3:00 (Moderate)
2:15 (Fast)



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From the eastern side of Kerr Bay pick up the Lakehead Track and keep right at the three track junctions that you encounter over the first 2 kms. The trail undulates gently through beautiful beech forest, crossing a couple of rocky is streams where care should be taken to locate the marker pole on the far side before crossing.
After around 10k you'll reach Lakeside Hut and bear right across open ground following the orange marker poles to the Travers River (usually braided into 2 or 3 sections.) Cross with care and pick up the orange marker pole on the far side to join up with the Lower Travers Valley Track.
Turn right to reach Coldwater Hut after another km or so. The trail on this western side is a bit rougher than the eastern side, but still undulates gently through gorgeous bush. After another 2.5kms (or thereabouts) there is a very worthwhile side trip to Whisky Falls - a short, sharp uphill to these spectacular falls.
Continuing along the western side of the lake for another 3+ kms you will eventually start to climb gently away from the lake and after another couple of kms will hit the gravel road.
Turn right and follow downhill to cross the start of the Buller River and soon reach West Bay. Here the road veers away from the lake and you leave it to pick up the Peninsula Nature Walk. Keep right at the next junction and follow this well-made trail around the peninsula to emerge at the western edge of Kerr Bay. Cross the open area back to the road and your car.

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Features of interest

A stunning circuit around an iconic lake with beautiful views.
Whisky Falls is a very worthwhile short detour off the route.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 12.5%

Moderate Single Track: 35%

Easy Single Track: 45%

Gravel Road: 7.5%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Kerr Bay, St. Arnaud. Turn off in the township of St. Arnaud following the signs to Kerr Bay, Lake Rotoiti.

    Plenty of parking at the lakeside trailhead.

    1 km

    2 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    The only tricky bits are the crossings of the side streams and the Travers River. Be sure to locate the marker poles on the far side before you cross.

    Very patchy.

    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.

    Plenty. All the stream water is good to drink and there is also water at Lakeside Hut and Goldwater Hut.

    Despite being in the bush for most of the way this is a mountain environment and can get cold at any time of the year. Go prepared.

    After heavy rain the stream crossings could be very tricky or impossible. Check with the DoC visitor centre in St. Arnaud if in any doubt (also a good place to leave your intentions)

  • Post run indulgence

    Alpine Lodge
    St. Arnaud
    Wonderful hospitality from Leighton & Alex who love trail runners and all outdoorsy types. They do a great feed in their warm, welcoming bar/restaurant. Also a good selection of beers, wines and other drinks.

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