Kelly Range - Hunts Saddle Circuit

Arthur's Pass National Park

  • 2 – 3 days return by the same track
  • Medium/hard

A challenging circuit route traversing the Kelly Range and returning along Kelly's Creek. The direction described is the easiest option.

Carroll Memorial Hut • By ledge.
Key information
Walking time
2 – 3 days
14 hr – 14 hr 30 min
Distance
19.0km
Type
Return by the same track
Return by the same track
Grade
Medium/hard
Bookings
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Find it
Starts
Kelly's Creek Shelter, SH73, north of Otira
()
Maps
NZTopo50-BV20
Altitude
350m – 1,411m
Altitude change 1,061m
More information

The open spaces and easy walking of the Kelly Range contrast with the rough travel on the creek below, providing an interesting weekend circuit. 

Kellys Range & beyond from Kellys Hill July 2011 • By glennj. Licence: C.

From the car park and camping area at Kelly's Creek, follow the trail to Carroll Hut. The track climbs steeply through forest for about an hour before easing and then entering scrub after 2 hours. The hut is located on a handsome tussock plateau.

From here, follow the track up to the tarns at Kelly Saddle (1165m) and head left (to the southwest) along the range. The walking is a gentle ascent, and easy going.

From the end of the range, follow a rocky gut down toward the northern of two tarns marked on the map (BV20 772 585). Cross a small ridge to the second tarn (BV20 773 583), then continue southeast to the swampy area (BV20 777 581). If you miss this route, then you will need to struggle through thick and unpleasant muttonbird scrub and mountain neinei for an hour or two: make your way toward the swampy area.

From the swamp, follow the creek eastward and down. A track picks up on the true right and offers slightly easier travel. After 20 minutes, you will reach the Kelly's Creek Track.

If you are heading to Hunts Hut, turn right and follow the trail over Hunts Saddle. The saddle is hard to navigate, being muddy and covered with head-high tussocks. Look for marker poles and watch out for deep holes. A very rough track continues in forest, climbing and falling regularly. The forest here is dominated by handsome (and in some cases very large) mountain nei nei. The track crosses the first of two large screes 20 minutes before the hut. The hut is located at the edge of a tussock clearing.

From Hunts Hut, return to Hunts Saddle. From here, an easy track heads through light forest for a while before the track crosses a slip and becomes very vague. From here on, travel is in the rough riverbed with brief marked sections that are often best regarded as high water tracks. The route remains on the true left all the way to the car park. A lower, remarkably steep section of track climbs well above the river to avoid a gorge section and crosses two swift creeks. 

Mt Pfeifer etc from Kellys Hill July 2011 • By glennj. Licence: C.

Walking times:

  • Kelly's Creek - Carroll Hut: 3 hours
  • Carroll Hut to end of the Kelly Range: 3 hours
  • Kelly Range to Hunt Saddle: 1.5-2 hours
  • Hunt Saddle to Hunts Creek Hut: 1.5 hours
  • Hunts Creek Hut to SH73 via Kelly's Creek: 5 hours
Map
ID 1272

About this track

Added 29 January 2006 by MatthewMatthew. 6 revisions, most recently 3 August 2013 by MatthewMatthew.
275 views in the past year (23 per month).