Mt Campbell (1330 m) is a peak at the northern end of the Arthur Range, west of Motueka. It is recognisable for having a transmission tower at its summit, a return trip to which offers a solid half-day walk with spectacular views. The mountain has hosted national mountain running championships on several occasions as the summit road offers a suitably challenging climb. Note that permission should be gained from the land owner to access the summit.
|Length: 9.2 km return||Time Required: 3-4 hr return|
|Trail Type: 4WD road||Physical Difficulty: Moderate-Hard|
|Uses: Walking, running and MTB||Primary Direction: Return (out and back)|
|Start Elevation: 780 m||Max Elevation: 1330 m|
|Dog Access: Consult with the land owner. Dogs are prohibited within Kahurangi National Park boundary|
Begin your trip at the locked gate on Rocky River Road, which is accessed off Motueka River West Bank Road, 10 km from Motueka and 57 km from Nelson. Rocky River Road is unsealed and crosses several small fords, but most 2WD vehicles should be able to handle it. The locked access gate is approximately 9.7 km up Rocky River Road. You can leave your car on the roadside near the gate. Note that the land beyond the gate, including the northern half of Mt Campbell, is private property. The gate has a phone number on it that you can call to let the land owner know your intentions. To obtain a key for vehicle access to the summit you will need to consult Mt Campbell Communications, whose office is on the corner of Quarantine Rd and Nayland Rd, Nelson.
The 4WD access road was built to service the transmission tower at the summit. It is uphill the whole way, with varying levels of steepness.
For most of the distance to the summit the road climbs steadily up the hillside through scrub and patches of beech forest. At 1150 m elevation the sub-alpine scrub opens up to tussock. The summit is quite rounded, so the final 1.5 km of road to the summit can feel like a bit of a slog. At the top there is a picnic table next to the transmission tower. The prominence of Mt Campbell allows amazing views east across Tasman Bay, north into Golden Bay and west toward the Tasman Mountains.
Return the way you came.
For experienced parties Mt Campbell is the starting point for traverses along Arthur Range to Hoary Head, Crusader and Flora car park.
Mt Campbell is an alpine route and is highly-exposed, so proper preparation and care is essential ensure a safe trip. Be sure to check the alpine weather forecast before you go. Do not rely on weather forecasts for the nearest town Motueka, as the alpine weather may be drastically different. Snow may be present above the treeline for weeks in winter and spring. There are no water sources along the way so bring plenty of water with you.