Pelorus River Track

  • Walking
  • Dog Friendly

From Pelorus Bridge, there is a 14km road walk along Maungatapu Road and then Mt Richmond Road to the Pelorus River Track trailhead. Initially the road is sealed and passes through farm land. Later it is unsealed and has exotic and indigenous forest sections.

  • Note: There are no budget accommodation options along this road - the Pelorus Bridge campground should be used unless you intend using Maungatapu Road B&B accommodation.

Pelorus River Track

Starting from the end of Maungatapu Road, the Pelorus River Track is a long established DOC tramping track with a good hut system. The track joins directly with Te Araroa’s next section, the Richmond Range Alpine Track, at Hacket Junction. Both these tracks are within the 165946 hectare Mt Richmond Forest Park and for logistical reasons many trampers will prefer to walk them consecutively as a single 9 (or more) day tramp. This is a major undertaking for which fit trampers should come well prepared. The larger rivers are bridged but the tramp involves many stream crossings that may be impassable after rain. Mt Richmond Forest Park contains a mixed variety of beech and podocarp forest, including the finest rimu along Te Araroa.

Road End to Captain Creek Hut - 8.5km / 4hr

The track follows the Pelorus River for about an 1 hour to the Emerald Pool picnic area. From here the track climbs upwards. It leaves the river, sidles, and then returns to the river. The 6 bunk Captain Creek Hut is still about 30 minutes further upstream from here.

Captain Creek Hut to Middy Hut - 5km / 2hr

This undulating section crosses Captain Creek by swingbridge after leaving the hut near its confluence with the Pelorus River. Beyond Captain Creek swingbridges take trampers across the Pelorus River, and later Fishtail Stream.

Beyond Fishtail Stream the track leaves the Pelorus River then returns to it for the final stretch to Middy Hut (6 bunks).

Middy Hut to Rocks Hut - 5km / 3hr

From Middy Creek Hut (6 bunks) cross a swingbridge and then climb for 20 minutes to a junction where the Pelorus Track branches to the left. The Rocks Track (to the right) climbs steadily from the junction for about 600m up a broad ridge. It then enters an area with many hummocks and rock outcrops, turning northwards and meeting the Bryant Range near the 16-bunk Rocks Hut.

Rocks Hut to Browning Hut - 11km / 4½hr

From Rocks Hut, this track wanders through a landscape of rock outcrop and hillocks. It then climbs over several high points before beginning its descent towards Tōtara Saddle. 

It emerges onto an open patch of tussock land associated with the mineral belt, which it crosses for 15 minutes or so before re-entering the forest and descending - steeply in places - to Tōtara Saddle. From the saddle the track descends steeply to Browning Hut (8 bunks).

Browning Hut to Hacket Junction - 3.4km / 1hr

(Plus another 5.7 km or 2 hours out to the Hacket Picnic Area for those finishing this section there).

This is a straightforward section with all intersections well signposted. There is a high/low water track option at one point but this is a bit meaningless as you'll get wet boots in subsequent stream crossings whichever route you take.

At Hacket Junction trampers have the option of continuing on the next Te Araroa section to Hacket Hut and beyond or finishing their tramp at the Hacket Picnic Area. Private transport arrangements are best made in advance if you wish to end your tramp here. Failing which it is a 12km road walk down Aniseed Valley Road to Hope village where a bus can be caught into Nelson. 


Potential Hazards:

  • Vehicles on road or track on Maungatapu Road
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers

How to get here

Northern Start: Junction of Maungatapu Road and SH6, Pelorus Bridge
Southern End: Hacket Hut Junction

Track Elevation and Map

More information

Te Araroa Marlborough trail notes, including information about accommodation, transport and resupplying

Mountain Safety Council Plan My Trip
Page last updated: Jan 6, 2021, 9:01 AM