Mount Richmond Forest Park
Mt Duppa is a peak at the northern end of Bryant Range, reaching 1143 m in elevation. The peak is named after George Duppa (1819–88), one of Nelson’s earliest settlers and discoverer of chromite deposits on Wooded Peak. The track to the summit is short but steep.
The start of Mt Duppa Track is located up a forestry accessed off State Highway 6 in Whangamoa Valley, 5.4 km north of Whangamoa Saddle. If you’re heading from Nelson, look out for the DOC sign on the right hand side of the road indicating the start of Hippolite Road (see Access tab above). The track is located approximately six kilometres up Hippolite Road (it is signposted) and begins at the boundary between a Nelson Forests Ltd forestry block and beech forest (Mt Richmond Forest Park). As the forestry road gives vehicle access to 520 m elevation, the amount of climbing required to reach the summit is greatly reduced. The road should be suitable for most vehicles.
The track climbs north through beech forest for a few hundred metres to small saddle. From the saddle it turns east and heads directly uphill along a ridge that continues right to the summit. The track is steep, gaining over 600 m elevation in only 1.9 km, and is rough in places, with lots of tree roots to test your concentration.
The pyramidal summit curiously contains a treeless patch on its southern aspect, despite being below the typical tree line elevation of the area (nearby Saddle Hill is forested right up to 1217 m elevation). A rocky outcrop at the eastern end marks the true summit. Enjoy the great views west to Tasman Bay with Cable Bay in the foreground, south along Bryant Range to Dun Mountain and east into Rai Valley.
Return the way you came.
Plane Crash Site
Mt Duppa is the location of two plane crashes. The first was in November 1956, when Alan Hackston was flying an Auster topdressing aircraft between Nelson and Blenheim. Foggy conditions saw him crash into the top of Mt Duppa. He suffered serious injuries and spent a night alone in the bush, but was rescued and made a full recovery.
The other crash was in 2011, when former Olympic yachtsman Geoff Smale was killed after crashing his microlight plane. Mr Smale was en route to Ashburton when he hit Mt Duppa in cloudy and rainy conditions.