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Milltown to Lower Arahura Hut , West Coast

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Milltown to Lower Arahura Hut Intermediate

Submitted by Kirstine Collins

Info Info
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Trail Information





West Coast


Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands


5:00 (Slow)
4:00 (Moderate)
3:00 (Fast)



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From the information boards follow the gravel road east along the West Coast Wilderness Trail (WCWT). After 1 km is a junction where the WCWT turns left. Continue straight ahead.

Follow the 4WD track which alternates between open farmland and bush. After a km the track drops steeply and you cross a big stream. Follow the faint vehicle tracks up the valley a few hundred meters and look for the big orange triangle at the base of a steep vehicle track to the left. From there continue following the 4WD tracks through a swampy area.

After another 1 km you leave the 4WD track turning left onto single track. A few hundred metres later you cross the Cesspool Swingbridge. The next 6.6 km is a constant change between technical singletrack, rock hopping beside the river, flat flood plains and wide grassy ex roads.

When you reach the hut turn around and head back to the carpark enjoying the stunning views from a different direction. There are no sustained climbs, just a few short steep climbs.

A video of the trail in winter conditions is on YouTube here 

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Features of interest

The track follows the route of the former road between Hokatika to Christchurch used to resupply the gold and Ponamu rush on the 1850s to 1860s. The route was classed when the Arthurs Pass road opened in 1866.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 5%

Technical Single Track: 15%

Moderate Single Track: 40%

Easy Single Track: 5%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 35%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    From Hokatika head east following the signs to Lake Kaniere. When you reach the lake continue on the main road for another 1 km then turn left onto Milltown Road. This is a gravel road in good condition. Follow the road for 9.7 km where you will cross the Arahura River. Straight after the bridge is the turnoff to the West Coast Wilderness Trail, a shelter and information boards. The carpark is 100m past this.

    Gravel carpark with room for 15 cars

    29 km

    61 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Care is needed to follow the markers which are far apart, especially on the river flats.


    Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Water is plentiful with numerous small streams and the main river.

    Do not do this trail immediately after or during heavy rain as there are two side streams that will be inpassable.
    There is a lot of areas where the trail is in the water but not many muddy patches.

    There is one main stream crossing that care is needed after rain.

    The trail is washed away in several places and care is needed on the steep gravelly alternate temporary tracks.

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