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Ultra Tour du Nelson Lakes, Tasman

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Ultra Tour du Nelson LakesVery Experienced

Submitted by Malcolm Law

Info Info
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Trail Information





Tasman and Nelson

St. Arnaud

Back country - remote



Native bush
Open ridges/tops

Very Experienced

Not Suitable (Slow)
20:00 (Moderate)
14:00 (Fast)



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If you need a detailed description of this route you should NOT be attempting it. This is a serious undertaking in what can be extreme mountain environments. Definitely for very experienced, well equipped runners and NEVER to be attempted in winter or in bad weather.
CHECK THE FORECAST FIRST - if you have anything but a clear weather window for the time you expect to be out there + a 12-hour buffer do NOT attempt this run.
Definitely recommend doing this anti-clockwise as you don't want to be tackling Robert Ridge late on the run in tired legs. A pre-dawn start means you get some easy terrain covered while it's still dark and are rewarded with daybreak on the Robert Ridge. This should also give you plenty of time to make it over Travers Saddle in daylight. Here's how it goes:
Start - Kerr Bay
Peninsula Track to West Bay
Follow road to Mt Robert Car Park
Climb up & along Robert Ridge (gets more technical the further along you go) to Angelus Hut
Followed Mt Cedric poled route & drop down the other side (very steep) to Sabine Hut
Sabine Track to West Sabine Hut
Travers Saddle Track to Travers Saddle (brutal climb out of bush to reach the tops)
Drop to Upper Travers Hut and follow trail all the way down Travers Valley
Cross river on swing bridge to get on Lakehead Track - follow this to Lakehead Hut and down the east side of Lake Rotoiti to return to Kerr Bay.

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Features of interest

A classic extreme route with stunning views from the high points and lots of awesome bush trail.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 15%

Technical Single Track: 64%

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 6%

Gravel Road: 4%

Sealed Road: 1%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Kerr Bay, on the shores of Lake Rotoiti

    The lake is signposted from St Arnaud village - not hard to find!

    1 km

    2 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Take care on the poled route sections, particularly if the weather has closed in.

    Very patchy.

    Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, 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, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.

    Until Angelus Hut there's no readily available drinking water. Top up here to get you to Sabine Hut. After that you'll have plenty available from the myriad streams and the other huts. Just be sure you have plenty on board before you get too high up towards Travers Saddle as there may be a dry stretch through to Upper Travers Hut at some times of the year.

    This is very much a SUMMER ONLY route. Even in autumn and spring there can be deep snow on the high terrain. Snow is possible any time of the year. Check conditions with DoC before committing.

    This is an extreme challenge in extreme mountain conditions. Only attempt it if you are a genuinely experienced mountain goat & the weather forecast is good. Best done in company rather than solo - carry a PLB either way. Make sure you leave intentions, either at the DoC office in St Arnaud or with a friend/family.
    There is real avalanche danger May - November.

  • Post run indulgence

    St Arnaud Lodge
    Main Rd, St Arnaud village
    Great food, beer & coffee and warm hospitality. The open fire is particularly welcoming on cold days.

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