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October 10, 2022

A wonderful weekender mostly on gravel, skimming the shores of five high country lakes

Area: Canterbury
Time: 2-3 days 
Distance: 303 km loop
Difficulty: Easy

Unpaved: 65%
Paved: 35%

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Crossing 3 passes with great views of the region

It’s a loop! And mostly off-road.

Cooling off in a fine swimming hole on the Ahuriri River

Earning the long and wild descent off Mt Melina

This loop starts and finishes at Albert Town opposite a great DOC
campground, but you could start/finish at various access points on the
route: Tarras, Alexandra, Omarama.

The route crosses several passes which can be prone to high winds
and nasty weather and extremes of temperature – so come prepared for

There are great camping opportunities on all the off-road sections (some of the best and logical spots to camp to break the trip into 3 days are shown on the map above).

There is a great if tiny rustic hut on the east side of the Thomson
Saddle (marked on map). It has a straw floor and is weather tight – good in a storm or cold night.

Good huts exist in the Manuherikia East Branch, including a large shelter at the old homestead at the end of Hawkdun Road.