NELSON TRAILS

Wakamarina Track

Mt Richmond Forest Park

Wakamarina Track crosses the Richmond Range between Onamalutu and Wakamarina Valley. It can be walked in a single day or made into an overnight trip, with Fosters Hut and Devils Creek Hut located along the way. It can also be ridden south to north as a half-day expert-grade MTB ride. The Wakamarina Valley is rich in gold mining history.

Details
Length 6.7 km Kiwi Rd to Fosters Clearing; 900 m Fosters Clearing to Fosters Hut (one way); 4 km Fosters Clearing to Mt Baldy (return); 7.4 km Fosters Clearing to Devils Creek Hut; 6.2 km Devils Creek Hut to Wakamarina Rd end
Time Required 2 hr Kiwi Rd to Fosters Clearing; 2 hr 30 min Fosters Clearing to Mt Baldy (return); 2 hr 30 min Fosters Clearing to Devils Creek Hut; 2 hr Devils Creek Hut to Wakamarina road end
Trail Type Tramping track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Expert   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Either for walkers; south to north for MTB
Dog Access Permit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park

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Access

  1 hr 20 min from Nelson (Wakamarina) | 2 hr from Nelson (Onamalutu)

 

Beginning at Onamalutu

The southern end of Wakamarina Track begins on Kiwi Rd, Onamalutu. To get to Onamalutu, turn onto Northbank Rd, which begins immediately north of the Wairau River Bridge on SH6 (5 km north of Renwick). Follow Northbank Rd west, veer right onto Onamalutu Rd and follow the latter until the seal ends at Onamalutu Reserve. A little beyond here the road enters private forestry land and climbs for 6 km to a skid site on a saddle between Onamalutu and Bartletts valleys. You will see a DOC sign indicating the car park and track start, which is positioned just up from the skid.

 

The southern end of Wakamarina Track can also be accessed via Barletts Creek Rd, which begins off Northbank Rd and connects with Kiwi Rd at the saddle skid, from the west.

 

Fire risk and forestry operations may close road access.

 

Beginning at Wakamarina Valley

The northern end of Wakamarina Track begins at Butchers Flat, which is located at the end of Wakamarina Rd. At Canvastown, turn off SH6 and onto Wakamarina Rd, and follow the latter for 15 km. Note there are two fords that need to be crossed. The track begins on the left just before the road drops down to the Butchers Flat camping area.

Description

Beginning at Kiwi Rd, Wakamarina Track heads along a spur on the eastern edge Bartletts Creek catchment through a mix of regenerating native bush. The track is initially smooth with a gentle uphill gradient. After about 4 km the track steepens slightly and becomes a little rougher, with stones and and ruts to negotiate. For riders, there are numerous parts here where you’ll have to walk your bike. The surrounding bush also transitions to mature beech and kamahi.

 

After 1 hr 30 min-2 hr you will reach Fosters Clearing, which is located on a saddle at the crest of the range. The ‘clearing’ is only a few metres across, with space for only a couple of tents. The turnoff to Fosters Hut is located here; the hut is located 900 m northeast along the range. The hut is positioned in a grassy clearing, with views south to the Wairau Valley. Beyond the hut an unmaintained route used by Outward Bound students continues along Richmond Range to Mt Sunday.

 

Fosters Hut
Hut Type Standard Hut
Capacity 4
Bookings Not required
Fee 1 Standard Hut ticket
Altitude 1040 m

 

A side trip can be made to Mt Baldy (1315 m), which is approx. 2.5 km southwest along the range from Fosters Clearing. There is no official track to the summit, though an unmaintained route is used by Outward Bound students. The route undulates along the range through silver beech forest and is reasonably straight-forward to follow so long as you’re paying attention to the lightly-worn path. The route will require greater care if visibility is poor or there’s snow on the ground. The relatively small summit of Mt Baldy provides unimpeded views to the west, south and east. Return the way you came. Expect a return trip to the summit from Fosters Clearing to take 2 hr 30 min.

 

Continuing north from Fosters Clearing, Wakamarina Track drops into the headwaters of Foster Creek, steadily descending for a few kilometres. The track crosses several side streams, the largest of which will require you to lift your bike across. After this crossing the track becomes noticeably rougher and un-rideable, as it zig-zags up to the top of the ridge, then climbs to a 1066 m high point. From here, it descends in a more-or-less straight line towards Devils Creek Hut at a reasonably gentle gradient. Through this section the forest floor is dominated by crown ferns, and there are an increasing number of podocarps as you descend into Wakamarina Valley.

 

Near the valley floor you’ll reach Devils Creek Hut, which is located in a grassy clearing on a terrace above the true right of Wakamarina River. The clearing is also the starting point for Mt Royal/Quartz Creek Route. There are remains of historic stone huts not too far beyond the hut. From the hut, continue back towards Fosters Hut for a short distance until you reach the signposted turnoff. The remains of the huts, which were built by gold prospectors, are 1.7 km up Devils Creek valley. Allow 1 hr return from Devils Creek Hut.

 

Devils Creek Hut
Hut Type Standard Hut
Capacity 6
Bookings Not required
Fee 1 Standard Hut ticket
Altitude 230 m

 

Continuing on from the Devils Creek Hut, Wakamarina Track sidles the hillside high above the true right of Wakamarina River, crossing unbridged side streams and passing through mature forest which gradually transitions to regenerating scrub as you head along. You’ll reach the turnoff to Doom Creek Track, which is a 4.3 km loop track that follows the narrow gorge of Doom Creek past historic gold workings (and is a good short walk in its own right). A bridge crosses the impressive gorge of Doom Creek and a little further on the track transitions to a 4WD road for the remainder of the distance to the Wakamarina road end.

Short Walks

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Day Walks

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Tramping

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Biking

Wakamarina Track
Mt Richmond Forest Park

Wakamarina Track crosses the Richmond Range between Onamalutu and Wakamarina Valley. It can be walked in a single day or made into an overnight trip, with Fosters Hut and Devils Creek Hut located along the way. It can also be ridden south to north as a half-day expert-grade MTB ride. The Wakamarina Valley is rich in gold mining history.

Details
Length 6.7 km Kiwi Rd to Fosters Clearing; 900 m Fosters Clearing to Fosters Hut (one way); 4 km Fosters Clearing to Mt Baldy (return); 7.4 km Fosters Clearing to Devils Creek Hut; 6.2 km Devils Creek Hut to Wakamarina road end
Time Required 2 hr Kiwi Rd to Fosters Clearing; 2 hr 30 min Fosters Clearing to Mt Baldy (return); 2 hr 30 min Fosters Clearing to Devils Creek Hut; 2 hr Devils Creek Hut to Wakamarina road end
Trail Type Tramping track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Expert   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Either for walkers; south to north for MTB
Dog Access Permit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park


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Access

  1 hr 20 min from Nelson (Wakamarina | 2 hr from Nelson (Onamalutu)

 

The southern end of Wakamarina Track begins on Kiwi Rd, Onamalutu. To get to Onamalutu, turn onto Northbank Rd, which begins immediately north of the Wairau River Bridge on SH6 (5 km north of Renwick). Follow Northbank Rd west, veer right onto Onamalutu Rd and follow the latter until the seal ends at Onamalutu Reserve. A little beyond here the road enters private forestry land and climbs for 6 km to a skid site on a saddle between Onamalutu and Bartletts valleys. You will see a DOC sign indicating the car park and track start, which is positioned just up from the skid.

 

The southern end of Wakamarina Track can also be accessed via Barletts Creek Rd, which begins off Northbank Rd and connects with Kiwi Rd at the saddle skid, from the west.

 

Fire risk and forestry operations may close road access.

 

The northern end of Wakamarina Track begins at Butchers Flat, which is located at the end of Wakamarina Rd. At Canvastown, turn off SH6 and onto Wakamarina Rd, and follow the latter for 15 km. Note there are two fords that need to be crossed. The track begins on the left just before the road drops down to the Butchers Flat camping area.

Description

Beginning at Kiwi Rd, Wakamarina Track heads along a spur on the eastern edge Bartletts Creek catchment through a mix of regenerating native bush. The track is initially smooth with a gentle uphill gradient. After about 4 km the track steepens slightly and becomes a little rougher, with stones and and ruts to negotiate. For riders, there are numerous parts here where you’ll have to walk your bike. The surrounding bush also transitions to mature beech and kamahi.

 

After 1 hr 30 min-2 hr you will reach Fosters Clearing, which is located on a saddle at the crest of the range. The ‘clearing’ is only a few metres across, with space for only a couple of tents. The turnoff to Fosters Hut is located here; the hut is located 900 m northeast along the range. The hut is positioned in a grassy clearing, with views south to the Wairau Valley. Beyond the hut an unmaintained route used by Outward Bound students continues along Richmond Range to Mt Sunday.

 

Fosters Hut
Hut Type Standard Hut
Capacity 4
Bookings Not required
Fee 1 Standard Hut ticket
Altitude 1040 m

 

A side trip can be made to Mt Baldy (1315 m), which is approx. 2.5 km southwest along the range from Fosters Clearing. There is no official track to the summit, though an unmaintained route is used by Outward Bound students. The route undulates along the range through silver beech forest and is reasonably straight-forward to follow so long as you’re paying attention to the lightly-worn path. The route will require greater care if visibility is poor or there’s snow on the ground. The relatively small summit of Mt Baldy provides unimpeded views to the west, south and east. Return the way you came. Expect a return trip to the summit from Fosters Clearing to take 2 hr 30 min.

 

Continuing north from Fosters Clearing, Wakamarina Track drops into the headwaters of Foster Creek, steadily descending for a few kilometres. The track crosses several side streams, the largest of which will require you to lift your bike across. After this crossing the track becomes noticeably rougher and un-rideable, as it zig-zags up to the top of the ridge, then climbs to a 1066 m high point. From here, it descends in a more-or-less straight line towards Devils Creek Hut at a reasonably gentle gradient. Through this section the forest floor is dominated by crown ferns, and there are an increasing number of podocarps as you descend into Wakamarina Valley.

 

Near the valley floor you’ll reach Devils Creek Hut, which is located in a grassy clearing on a terrace above the true right of Wakamarina River. The clearing is also the starting point for Mt Royal/Quartz Creek Route. There are remains of historic stone huts not too far beyond the hut. From the hut, continue back towards Fosters Hut for a short distance until you reach the signposted turnoff. The remains of the huts, which were built by gold prospectors, are 1.7 km up Devils Creek valley. Allow 1 hr return from Devils Creek Hut.

 

Devils Creek Hut
Hut Type Standard Hut
Capacity 6
Bookings Not required
Fee 1 Standard Hut ticket
Altitude 230 m

 

Continuing on from the Devils Creek Hut, Wakamarina Track sidles the hillside high above the true right of Wakamarina River, crossing unbridged side streams and passing through mature forest which gradually transitions to regenerating scrub as you head along. You’ll reach the turnoff to Doom Creek Track, which is a 4.3 km loop track that follows the narrow gorge of Doom Creek past historic gold workings (and is a good short walk in its own right). A bridge crosses the impressive gorge of Doom Creek and a little further on the track transitions to a 4WD road for the remainder of the distance to the Wakamarina road end.

Updated 26 November 2021